Cloud-based climate controls help keep your plant the perfect temperature

Sheila Kennedy says smart systems enable secure remote access, optimize energy consumption across facilities.

By Sheila Kennedy

Cloud-based climate controls help keep your plant the perfect temperature

It can be difficult to optimize the climate of plant offices, maintenance shops, stockrooms and warehouses, particularly for multi-site or global organizations. New cloud-based systems facilitate transparency and control, reduce energy costs and consumption, and address security concerns.

HVAC controls

The new Smart Cloud Climate Control System, developed collaboratively by SoftServe UGE and Panasonic Europe’s heating and cooling solution division, enables simultaneous control of the climate within multiple facilities from a single device. It allows centralized monitoring and one-click temperature optimization in all sites, and it permits the ability react quickly to breakdowns and conduct performance comparisons across sites.

“The centralized Smart Cloud Climate Control system allows organizations to have complete control of multi-site business premises 24/7, from any location in the world, through any internet connection – including 3G and WiFi – via a smartphone or a computer,” says Neil Fox, CTO at SoftServe. “Both physical and software protection with high-level encryption is provided to secure the data on the servers located in Germany. Additionally, strong analytics were created in order to best optimize energy use to reduce total consumption and cost.”

BuildingIQ’s cloud-based energy management platform uses Predictive Energy Optimization technology to predict and manage HVAC loads in commercial buildings. A customized thermal model is created for each building to predict energy consumption, cost and comfort, using variables such as weather forecasts, building characteristics, occupancy patterns, energy prices, and demand response signals. Then the software makes automatic, real-time adjustments to heating and cooling operations in order to minimize peak and ongoing energy consumption.

Through its algorithms and predictive analytics, BuildingIQ’s solution reportedly reduces HVAC energy costs by as much as 25 percent. The subscription-based software adds a layer of intelligence to a facility’s existing building management system, and it is implemented without upfront capital costs or infrastructure changes.

Telnet Solutions also provides smart building climate control for commercial properties. Climate control schedules are created based on the time of day, month of year and annual events, and incorporate season changes, temperature, and humidity. Current information is centrally monitored and managed via keypads, wireless thermostats, and apps on Apple iOS devices. Remote sensors enable automated temperature management.

Weidmuller recently announced that its LSF-SMD PCB terminals are being used with Schrag’s new airCloud control system to provide cloud-based control of Schrag ventilation systems in European markets. The airCloud offers intelligent, continuous system monitoring with notifications of system status, deteriorating conditions, and maintenance requirements such as filter replacements.

“We take a holistic approach to offer customers value in the total cost of their device, from design to manufacturing to installation,” says John Froustet, portfolio manager at Weidmuller. “With the LSF-SMD available in a variety of sizes, positions and orientations, it meets all the requirements for the design of a climate controller.”

Refrigeration controls

Optimizing the efficiency of a refrigeration system begins with understanding its consumption patterns. The Copeland EazyCool ZX condensing unit combined with the new ZX Cloud monitoring system from Emerson Climate Technologies provides real-time visibility into a system’s status and trends.

ZX Cloud visualizes the system operation, behavior, cycling frequency, downtimes, trends and variations in relation to impacts such as daytime, seasons, and system load. Its adjustable early warning system protects against downtime and spoilage by alerting operators or service providers to critical temperatures and operating statuses.

Holistic controls

When energy and operational efficiency are centrally controlled, it reduces energy costs and environmental impacts. The cloud-based Advantage Navigator platform from the Siemens Building Technologies Division allows users and Siemens experts to monitor and manage the energy supply, demand, and building system performance of a single building, campus, or entire portfolio.

"Advantage Navigator offers a broad suite of applications for energy management, operational efficiency, and sustainability designed to maximize the lifecycle value of a portfolio,” says Rick Rodriguez, director of portfolio and innovation for Siemens’ Building Technologies Division. “The cloud-based technology provides turnkey reporting using detailed reports and analytics designed for a wide range of users, from facility managers to executives."

Safety in the cloud

When it comes to smart building technology, security concerns are valid but manageable. “The answer to preventing cyber-attacks is not disconnecting your building from the cloud; it’s for the industry and end users to be more educated about the security risks and to be prepared for them,” says Peter Dickinson, CTO at BuildingIQ.

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