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Originally published in Interiors & Sources

11/13/2012

Integrate IT, Building Management and Industrial Systems

By Mark Davidson

 
Can you as a facility manager or building operator handle integrating varied systems?
Facility managers are being faced with a new set of energy-related challenges and without the necessary visibility into their energy consumption, they’re struggling to make effective decisions about the overall energy use and efficiency of their buildings.

According to the Department of Energy, in the United States alone, commercial buildings consume 70 percent of all electricity.[i] How devices, equipment and systems are being used and managed on the inside of a corporate facility has as much an effect on energy consumption as building design.

The only way to guarantee that energy in an enterprise is utilized as efficiently as possible is to monitor, measure and control not only the IT infrastructure, but also the building-management systems and industrial controls.

Physical Boundaries Give Way to Borderless Networks and Devices

Building-management systems have conducted most enterprise energy management over the past several decades. But just as technological advances have made the physical office worker more virtual, physical boundaries such as buildings and campus locations are giving way to borderless IT networks and a broader community of business devices. This can be a challenge for facilities departments tasked with managing and reducing the rising costs and demand for energy across the enterprise. After all, if you can’t see the energy being consumed by various IT devices, equipment and systems throughout the enterprise, how can you lower it?

Power-per-square-foot or power-per-user calculations have set the standard for determining how much energy a building’s IT equipment consumes. But what if you could see actual energy consumption, utilization, cost and carbon emissions for every device that is plugged into your network? New solutions for enterprise energy management are making this possible, and delivering dramatic cost savings—up to 30% of the total energy lot.

New Solutions Provide a Global View of Energy Consumption

Previously, solutions to manage energy consumption and utilization at the IT-device level have been cost prohibitive, inadequate and difficult to implement. Today this is changing for the better. With technology available now, enterprises can transition their energy-management approach from “always on” to “available when needed” without impeding employee and business productivity or service level agreements (SLAs). The results of this shift include significant cost savings, reductions in carbon emissions, and increased visibility into energy consumption that can aid in capacity planning, policy decisions and more.

New enterprise energy-management solutions are providing a consolidated energy utilization dashboard for every network-connected device in the enterprise (both IP- and non-IP-enabled). This delivers unprecedented “global” visibility into the energy consumption and utilization of every device, system and facilities asset connected to the network, including:

  • Campus IT: PCs, MACs, VoIP Phones, access points, copiers, printers, physical and virtual servers, routers, switches, storage etc.
  • Buildings: HVAC, lighting, plug load, smart meters, LEEDS, etc.
  • Industrial: Process controls, automation, manufacturing, etc.


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