4 Posts authored by: james.schwartz

It’s really not a question of whether your buildings are wasting money – it’s a question of how much money they’re wasting. Think about the lifecycle of building equipment – it starts with design and installation, continues through commissioning into day-to-day operation and finally ramps down with decommissioning. During the operation phase, facility managers who are diligent with on-going equipment management and maintenance can avoid waste without compromising – and often improving – occupant comfort.


Buildings today are designed to deliver energy efficiency; however, significant inefficiencies develop over time through the day-to-day operation of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and other equipment. This drift toward inefficiency can be caused by human intervention like manual equipment adjustments or through normal wear and tear and inadequate maintenance. According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory “Energy Information Handbook,” equipment that is not functioning optimally wastes between 10 to 30% of the energy used in commercial buildings!


Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) involves tools that can be used in conjunction with data collected by Building Automation Systems like Metasys® to reclaim wasted energy caused by the drift toward inefficiency in HVAC systems. FDD not only helps operators detect faults but can also point to the root cause so issues can be addressed and maintenance prioritized.


The Panoptix Continuous Diagnostics Advisor (CDA) is a FDD application that helps users detect abnormal energy consumption and identify (often hidden) equipment faults.  The application constantly monitors building systems to identify problems that waste energy and impact tenant comfort, helping to optimize operational performance, identify cost and energy saving opportunities and predict maintenance needs.


CDA is an incredibly powerful tool, and we are receiving great feedback from customers who are seeing results.  Let me give you an example: A Panoptix CDA customer received a series of “Flow Error alerts”. These were occurring on a particular piece of equipment called a Variable Air Volume (VAV) box. Upon investigation the operator found that a set screw on a damper shaft had actually broken loose, so the damper was not closing properly. A mechanic was dispatched to replace the set screw on the VAV. It had been delivering much more air than required, subsequently wasting energy and creating a drafty and uncomfortable environment.


The implications of this example point out the value of a tool like CDA: the customer identified a wasteful problem they didn’t know existed, saw the device and location where the problem was happening (prior to tearing out the ceiling) and had enough information for the mechanic to arrive with the right parts and tools to resolve the problem – the first time. Not only did the customer achieve reduced energy costs and improved comfort, they were able to do so in a very operationally-efficient way.


There has been a lot of buzz lately around FDD and other advanced analytics. What do you think of the future for applications like CDA?

In the UAE, approximately 60 percent of energy is consumed by buildings.  In urban areas, commercial buildings account for up to 75 percent of that energy.  So it’s no surprise that buildings account for around 20% of carbon emissions.


As the UAE pursues recognition as a leader in sustainable economic development and for ensuring a clean environment, an initiative was recently launched quoted as promoting “a green economy for sustainable development” often referred to as the “Green Economy Initiative”. 


The Green Economy Initiative includes six pillars of engagement spanning a range activities, policies and programs.  Because buildings account for so much energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions, the idea of building efficiency features prominently through all six pillars.  And that is where the Panoptix offering can help—building owners and operators are actively seeking ways to help achieve the goals set forth in the Green Economy Initiative and the Panoptix platform provides the tools to do just that.  The Panoptix solution puts the power to achieve Green Economy Initiative energy and carbon goals in the hands of building owners.


The Panoptix solution collects data from virtually any building management system to provide a common and consistent view of data to render actionable insight into building and equipment performance.  When customers have better insight into their building dynamics, they can make better decisions to optimize energy savings and building performance.


But improving efficiency should not come at the cost of building occupant comfort.  The old solution to reducing energy consumption relied on tactics like lowering air conditioning usage; however, the results were less comfortable environments for occupants.  An example of how Panoptix could help with this situation is in providing building operators better insight to identify and pinpoint inefficiencies to air handling systems so adjustments or repairs could be made to improve efficiency—without sacrificing comfort.


Johnson Controls is a global leader in energy efficiency and sustainability technology and has worked with a number of high profile building efficiency projects in the UAE—now, with the Panoptix solution Johnson Controls provides more advanced and better options to help the UAE achieve green building objectives.

Every day I see how the Panoptix offering is revolutionizing building efficiency; recently I had an opportunity to attend the Edison Awards in New York City.  It was exciting to get a look at products and services that will change other industries like the Panoptix offering is changing ours.


Named after Thomas Alva Edison, the Edison Awards have been honoring excellence in new product and service development since 1987. Award categories span a range of industries including Consumer Packaged Goods, Transportation and Medical Technology.   Johnson Controls was a finalist for 2 awards: the Panoptix solution for Best New Product in Energy and Sustainability Smart Systems and the company as a whole for the best Green Program based on our leading edge corporate campus renovation.  Award finalists are selected by based on 4 criteria:


  • Concept – opportunity, conception, method and development
  • Value –need, differentiation, advantage and cost
  • Delivery – message, engagement, availability and achievement
  • Impact – sustainability, social responsibility and potential


From the finalists in each category, Gold, Silver and Bronze award winners are selected by a panel of more than 3,000 business executives and academics from across the nation.  At the award ceremony I was proud as both the Panoptix solution and the Johnson Controls campus renovation program were announced as Bronze award winners—very impressive given the hundreds of innovations considered.


Past Edison Award winners include the Apple iPad, iPhone and the Amazon Kindle II; here are a few of my favorite innovations recognized at this year’s awards:


  • The Liquipel process applies a water-safe coating  inside and outside of electronic devices to protect components against contact with liquids.  You can literally immerse your phone in water and it will still work.  I’ve been waiting for this and didn’t even know it!
  • ZionEyez Eyez Glasses embed a 720p HD video camera in a pair of eyeglasses to record video and take pictures so users can wirelessly broadcast to their social networks. I’m getting on the pre-order list...
  • The Ekso bionic exoskeleton changes lives by allowing wheelchair users to stand and walk.  Finally bionics that don’t cost 6 million dollars.
  • The Fisker Karma hybrid performance and luxury coupe gets combined city/highway mileage of 52 mpg, has a top speed of 125 mph and can go from 0 to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds—you have to check this vehicle out!
  • The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft was the first commercial spacecraft to return from orbit and it will be the first to visit the International Space Station. Not quite as luxurious as the Karma, but it can go a lot faster.  And costs considerably more than 6 million dollars.


The full list of 2012 winners shows a remarkable range of innovation—congratulations to the Panoptix team for being initiated into the Edison Award club.  The Panoptix concept is clearly having an impact and delivering real value today…and we are just getting started!

The introduction of Panoptix™ by Johnson Controls changes the building efficiency landscape by providing users with advanced applications on an open platform complemented by Live Guide™ experts and a Connected Community.

The Panoptix solution is based on 4 market and technology trends that have been developing for a few years now—you know about these trends, but you may not have thought of them in the context of creating more efficient and sustainable buildings.


IT & Facility Management Convergence

Companies have traditionally supported an enterprise IT organization that is responsible for enterprise applications, datacenter and desktop hardware in addition to a facility management team that is responsible for operations technology (OT) including real-time building monitoring, and Building Automation Systems.  These two worlds are converging:

  • IT and OT are increasingly using the same compute, network and storage infrastructure, and there are cost savings and efficiencies gained in installing and managing systems that use common components.
  • Increasingly requirements for cyber-security across both IT and OT have forced these two organization to work together to find common solutions.


Community & Consumerization of IT
People increasingly expect consumer-like experiences with access to information anywhere, anytime and on any device.  Similarly, connecting through online communities is regularly expected by growing numbers of people who value the interaction and the perspectives of their peers.

Users already connect online in their personal lives with tools like Facebook and Twitter, so giving professionals a place to share their business ideas, ask questions and keep up with trends is a natural extension; while this idea is new in the area of building efficiency, B2B communities have been around and flourishing for years (e.g. Microsoft Technet).

  • Using intuitive and easily accessible applications that have modular functionality has become the norm; creating applications that are mobile-ready makes it easier for users to connect with building efficiency solutions.


Cloud Computing
Cloud delivery makes it easier to share data, software and information via the Internet, enabling better and more cost effective access to information.

  • Cloud computing offers greater flexibility in application deployment with lower upfront, and on-going operational costs.  When companies use cloud models, they can provide Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings based on a subscription model.
  • Perhaps more important, aggregating and normalizing data in the cloud provides new ways to analyze data and offers ways to streamline integration with enterprise systems.


Big Data

Big data refers to the increasing volume, variety and velocity of data that can be used for analysis and ultimately to improve building efficiency. 

With advanced analytics it is possible to turn big data into actionable insight that can be used to automate or improve the performance of business processes.

  • The ability to effectively and easily analyze big data is a critical success factor in achieving cost and sustainability benefits.


Traditional BAS implementations are the foundation for collecting data—the Panoptix™ solution builds on BAS and leverages developing technology and market trends to make achieving building efficiency goals easier than ever.

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