Sustainable green connectivity is what building owners want now from BAS. The need is urgent, and if we are not willing to provide it, there are those that will. As I look over the subject matter and events covered on AutomatedBuildings.com for the last few months, I repeatedly see the words “sustainable,” “green,” and “connectivity” appearing.

Going Global

At ConnectivityWeek Singapore ( http://www.connectivityweek.com/), which I attended in November, Alan Kell, managing director of i&i limited, stated:

“Information technology is fundamentally changing the way in which we design, operate, and use our buildings. We live in an unpredictable world in which natural resources such as water and land are becoming increasingly scarce. Energy prices are rising rapidly, and requirements to cut carbon emissions are forcing us to review the ways we produce and use energy. Global market competition is driving efficiency in business processes, costs, and resource usage. In combination, these factors are forcing us to be more progressive about our use of buildings, employing every available intelligent solution to deliver better performing buildings.”

From the review of this same event comes this insight:

“Also held on the first day of BuilConn Singapore was the third of a series of global Cisco Connected Roundtables; the focus of this session was the trends and drivers for connected buildings. The group discussed a range of subjects, from demographic changes in building users to the types of buildings that are showing strong adoption of connectivity technologies. Energy was also discussed as one of the key drivers, both from a cost-avoidance and a green / sustainable perspective.”

Thomas Hartman writes in his third article in a continuing series on achieving sustainability that a sustainable building industry will not only require new technologies, but also a vastly improved process for designing, constructing, and operating buildings.

“It’s hard to think of North America as a backwater part of the world, but in terms of our appreciation of climate change issues, this may be an apt description. Hardly a day goes by without a report of new research findings regarding the perils of greenhouse gasses and the effects of human activity on climate change, but on this continent, such news seems hardly noticed. A month ago, the U.K. issued a devastating assessment of the situation and the need to act quickly to avoid almost certain disastrous consequences later in this century. More recently at the climate change conference in Nairobi, the discussions turned to the enormous costs that will have to be borne from global warming. And the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is working on a soon to be released major report that from early descriptions will offer similar projections of climatic and economic disaster by the end of the century if the issue is not promptly addressed on a massive scale. All this has been received with barely a ho-hum in our news.

“Even more surprising is the fact that although the building industry is responsible for nearly 50% of the total energy consumed in North America, this industry seems even less affected than the general public by these dire warnings. Yes, ‘green’ buildings are all the rage in public construction projects and there are modest efforts to improve building efficiency standards. But considering the magnitude of the developing problem, these efforts, even if they meet all the stated near-term objectives, will not make even a noticeable bump on the road scientists believe we are on toward social and economic calamity.

“The Green Building Movement: This is unquestionably the most positive force toward sustainability in the industry today. The green building movement has captured the public’s imagination with the idea that a non-earth-polluting building and indoor environment is always to be preferred, even demanded.”

NetZero ‘Building as Power Plant'

Elsewhere, Edward H. Brzezowski, P.E., LEED® AP, and director of engineering for The Ferreira Group (www.ferreiragroup.com), is doing some very interesting work with net-zero buildings (buildings that produce as much energy as they consume).

The data is displayed on gauges that resemble those found on an automobile dashboard. This organization and manipulation of data never before possible aids in the rapid interpretation of a building’s energy use, permits comparisons to simulations of how the building operates under different conditions, and provides an opportunity to assess the impact that changes or repairs to the building have on energy usage.

Even I am talking about these subjects at AHR Expo in Dallas, in seminars titled “What’s New and Green in Building Automation AHR Expo 2007?” and “Green Building - Automation for a Sustainable Future.” Let’s give them what they want: sustainable green connectivity.