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The Number One Way to Consolidate Enterprise Building Control Systems

Monday June 14, 2021
By: Phoenix Energy Technologies

legagcy building control systems

Commercial facility and energy managers are learning how AI and other smart-building control technologies could help save their companies energy and money and meet sustainability goals - but things are not always straightforward at the enterprise level. 

One challenge that energy managers face is a proliferation of aging building control systems across their portfolios. You may hear “you need to upgrade legacy systems” to move forward with new automation and intelligent technologies. Still, budget constraints often prohibit rip-and-replace across many stores or locations.

Limits of Legacy Building Control Systems

But some legacy control systems have limited capabilities that make it difficult to consolidate management of all your buildings in one place. It may result in your team needing to manage multiple groups of buildings by control systems, even (gasp) resorting to managing them one-by-one.

So, what’s an enterprise energy manager to do?

The good news is that you CAN manage all your building control systems in one place by using a web-based management platform.

A management platform is a web-based overlay that allows you to use the legacy systems you have in place while adding new AI services. For example, you can view and even control your HVAC, lighting, and other devices from one screen or even automatically. These applications can access many building control platforms using internet gateways and normalize the data and nomenclature to give you a clear view across your enterprise - just like you would see if you had only one control system.

Download the Guide - Enterprise Energy Management Best Practices

What are the benefits of a consolidated enterprise?

Facility and energy managers can use automation and artificial intelligence to create energy and money-saving strategies across the entire enterprise at once with a consolidated system. You can learn which systems and equipment require service or repair or build models to identify new opportunities. Some ideas include:

  • Digital Twins - Build digital twins to model equipment performance under certain conditions.
  • Asset Management - Asset management allows you to identify the best way to manage equipment periodic maintenance and equipment schedules to maintain long life and performance (Learn more in our post Be Strategic with your Building's Scheduled Maintenance).
  • Demand Management - Automated Demand management enables you to optimize systems for peak/off-peak rates or real-time bidding


Web layering will allow you to take advantage of automation and AI tools to save you time and money. For example, demand management AI tools can shed load based on demand response events in an arrangement that doesn’t affect your occupant comfort.

Consolidated Building Management Solution Considerations 

The success of consolidating your legacy systems into a modern solution does depend on both which data you can pull from your current systems and whether your chosen solution supports all or most of your equipment and building controls. 

If you think a management platform may work for your situation, you will need to consider what you will need. When selecting a vendor for a web-based management platform, consider the following:

  • Read & Write - Can the web overlay let you monitor AND command across multiple control systems?
  • Normalize Data - Be sure your platform can give you a correct comparison so you can make good decisions across your locations.
  • Additional Data Points - What additional data points such as POS and weather do you need? Can those be integrated into the solution and used for decisioning?
  • BI Tools - Are Building Intelligence (BI) tools available or will they integrate with your enterprise BI tools?

 

With the right connection, you can monitor and access multiple buildings from a single system. Consider the data you are currently capturing. Are you receiving pristine data, or does it need to be cleaned up before applying it to any helpful metrics? If you have trouble with data collection, look for a platform that supports data normalization. 

If you need additional data points and systems to capture all of the required data to fully use AI tools, search for an energy management platform with these capabilities. Also, make sure that the selected solution has the business intelligence tools you need or integrates with your current BI solution. 

Getting Back to Basics - 5 Assumptions Setting Back Your Setpoint Strategy

 

Modernizing Legacy Building Systems

When it comes to consolidated building controls, remember that it is essential to be as detailed as possible. Each modernized system will have a custom fit to produce data and results that will allow you to make smart decisions across your whole enterprise. A consolidated solution can cut energy and operations costs, increase efficiency, mitigate risks, and support corporate sustainability goals.

For more tips on building energy management, check out our Enterprise Energy Management Best Practices Guide outlining how to pull real-time building data and how to use building analytics to predict energy consumption and budgets.   

enterprise energy management tips

 

Additional Resources:

Precision Building Management Controls for a National Retailer
Enterprise Energy Management vs. Building Control Systems
4 Common Myths of Energy Conservation in Building Management

Posted in: Facilities Management, Energy Management, Energy Demand Management