Beyond the column, features and the Expo await.

December’s column is my last “Building Automation” column forEngineered Systems. The preparation of this column has become a monthly ritual that will be hard to break.

It has been over seven years, but it is time to step off the soapbox and allow someone else to share their opinions. I started in August 2000 with my first column titled, “Building Automation: The Net Effect,” with this quote “Someday, engineers and managers will wonder how they ever got along without it.”

Radical thinking back then, but it is hard to imagine not using the ’net now. This column has provided me with an industry soapbox to rant on, scold, and generally cajole the industry, while quoting from the bevy of authors from my online magazine,

The synergy between the two publications has allowed us to float future watch ideas in this column that have rapidly become our new reality. Thanks for reading our column over the years. The many columns and myriad of full articles and supplements I have written over the years for ES requires that I offer special thanks to Robert Beverly and Caroline Fritz for their insightful editing and guidance and to Jake Needham for those great graphics that made the words come alive.

I was pleased to learn that the column’s pen is being turned over to one of contributing editors Paul Ehrlich, P.E., president of the Building Intelligence Group.

I first met Paul when he was with Trane at the AHR Expo 2002 in Atlantic City. We talked about a new language at the Web level, and out of those ashes grew oBIX and later, the Building Intelligence Group. To say Paul has had a significant impact on our industry is an understatement. I look forward to reading his version of the “Building Automation” column and sharing them in our online magazine.

Just when you thought you were rid of me, I am back with a bigger piece of paper. In the January 2008 issue which is also the AHR Expo issue, I will write a feature article titled, “Building Automation Reflection & Projection,” in which I will attempt to summarize industry happenings in 2007 and drag out the old crystal ball and peek into 2008.

Dave Branson and I are doing our ninth consecutive year of free education sessions at AHR Expo New York ( As you can see below, we are greener and more sustainable than ever. Please join us.

Greening the Big Apple with New Building Automation Ideas

A preview of new technologies and ideas that can be found at this year’s Building Automation & Control Showcase. This season will also include an introduction to the Building and Automation winners and runners up of the 2008 Innovation Awards. We’ll provide an overview of new trends, concepts, and ideas that have emerged since the 2007 AHR Expo, Dallas.

Automation for a Sustainable Future

Real changes are occurring in our industry - green buildings, GridWise, demand response, net zero buildings  - all involve 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. Come and understand how to make automation part of your sustainable future.

Impact of Evolving Energy Priorities on the Building Automation Industry

The push for North American energy sustainability and independence is now being forged in the ASHRAE Energy Standards 90.1. Couple this with the new perspective about the future of buildings that restates the proposition of integrated building systems, automation, controls, and energy management. These evolving priorities will lead to full integration of all aspects of building automation with IT and other building system components such as digital displays, voice and data communications, security, vertical transport, parking systems, etc.

In addition, this energy impact will improve the reliability and efficiency of the national electric grid using IT and the Internet to enable interoperability between equipment on both sides of the electric meter.

Preparing Buildings for a Sustainable World

Reacting to the change in our industry, we must prepare our buildings for a sustainable world. This session will deal with real concepts and tools that are now available to achieve this goal, concepts like: the effect of evolving energy standards, deep integration, and the components of demand response such as daylighting, storage, alternate energy sources, plus different approaches to traditional problems of ventilation such as photocatalytic oxidation (PCO).

In addition, Jack Mc Gowan and the GridWise folks will offer these free informative sessions:
  • Global Warming and GridWise - GWAC building technology integrating with the electric grid to save energy and improve the environment; and
  • The New Building Automation: Energy Demand Response GWAC - How to build an HVAC business on smart energy technology for building electric demand.