Each year, your mild-mannered columnist joins forces with Dave Branson and provides four educational sessions at the AHR Expo (www.ahrexpo.com). Ok! So I am not so mild, and certainly not so mannered, but seriously, we have done these educational sessions for the last seven years, and this is our eighth.

The sessions are a great opportunity to discuss building automation one on one with the industry. If you have not ever attended an ASHRAE winter meeting and its companion AHR Expo, it is an annual spectacle that is not to be missed: a gathering of over 45,000 of the industry’s HVAC types complete with an exposition of the latest and greatest equipment, including building automation. Our educational sessions are intended to help bring and keep the folks coming to the show up to date with the rapidly changing building automation industry. It also allows me the opportunity to summarize and reflect on the progress since the last year’s Expo.

This year’s sessions, listed below, are new, green, sustainable, converging, GridWise, and future looking.

The Sessions

Monday, January 29, 2007
  • “What’s New and Green in Building Automation,” 9 a.m., Room D167. This session provides a sneak preview of new technologies and ideas that can be found at this year’s Building Automation & Control Showcase. An introduction to the building and automation winners and runners up of the 2007 Innovation Awards will be included. We’ll provide an overview of new trends, concepts, and ideas that have emerged since 2006 AHR Expo.
  • “Green Building - Automation for a Sustainable Future,” 1:30 p.m., Room D167. An overview of the ability of automation systems to monitor, control, and report on non-renewable and renewable resources; place buildings on and off the energy grid; and provide consistent and complex responses to building needs, making them fundamental to green building efforts. Come and understand how to make automation part of your sustainable future.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007
  • “Building Automation - Today’s Tools for Convergence,” 9:30 a.m., Room D167. Come and find out how new industry tools are opening doors and creating opportunities while allowing building automation to be a seamless part of the corporate enterprise. Learn how companies are rising to the challenge of keeping these technologies in their areas of core competence while connecting to the fourth utility - the data backbone.
  • “GridWise - Smart Energy Technology for Building and the Power Grid.” 11:00 a.m., Room D161. The goal of GridWise is to improve the reliability and efficiency of the national electric grid using IT. We believe that IT will revolutionize the electricity business, along with HVAC and other systems that depend upon it, just as it has business, education, and entertainment. Using the power of IT and the Internet, GridWise hopes to enable interoperability between equipment on both sides of the electric meter.
  • “What will the Convergences in Buildings of the Future Look Like?” 1:30 p.m., Room D167. The Cisco Connected Real Estate Roundtable was a tremendous experience sharing visions, concerns, opportunities, and the roadblocks when it comes to delivering intelligent converged environments. Even amidst different corporate objectives, we appear to be aligned in our thinking on the future design and realization of our next-generation built environment.

I am also looking forward to being part of the workshop on Wednesday, January 31, 2007. “Building Intelligence Tour: Intelligent Building System Design,” is a one-day workshop focused on building owners, consulting engineers, suppliers, contractors, and commissioning agents and the essentials of delivering the intelligent building. The event will include a keynote talk on the role of the building systems architect and the importance of integrated design. For insight, read “Help Wanted: Building Systems Architect,” by Paul Ehrlich, P.E.  athttp://www.automatedbuildings.com/news/nov06/articles/ehrlich/061024045953ehrlich.htm.

Although all this change seems to have come rapidly, we should face the fact that we have been talking about Web convergence and IT ways for eight years at the AHR Expo sessions.

The Past Is Prologue

Here is a partial summary of the topics we have covered in the past seven years: Dallas 2000: State-of-the-Art Capabilities in Building Automation; Atlanta 2001: Integration, Protocols, and The Net Effect; Atlantic City 2002: Building Automation Integrates, Converges, and Conforms to the Internet Model; Chicago 2003: Perspectives on Interoperability and Implementing Web-Based Solutions; Anaheim 2004: Planning for Convergence, Automation Online, and Wireless Controls; Orlando 2005: Wireless Networks: Applications and Protocols; Chicago 2006: Mega Trends in Building Automation, Integrating Intelligence, ADR and GridWise, and Growing Greener Buildings.

Please join us in Dallas and help us shape our future.