West / Regional Reports

Echelon’s Everyday Environment Exemplifies Energy Efficiency

June 8, 2002
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Echelon has implemented a system in its new headquarters (above) designed to save money every day through lower operating costs and lower maintenance costs.
SAN JOSE, CA — Echelon Corporation’s new headquarters here is a showcase for the company’s LonWorks™ platform of open, interoperable device networks.

The new facility integrates all the key building sub-systems — security, lighting, elevator, and hvac systems — using LonMark®-certified devices from multiple manufacturers into a single smart building system.

Combining the Internet, LonWorks technology, and LonMark-certified products, Echelon is preparing to enjoy years of savings and efficiency, particularly with lighting and energy use.

Lobby of Echelon’s new headquarters.

UNIFIED NETWORK

The foundation of Echelon’s technology lies in its ability to create networks that enlist intelligent devices to function independently. When linked together, these devices are designed to communicate with each other to provide distributed monitoring and control. The end result is a building that is designed to function more efficiently and provide greater comfort than facilities lacking these intelligent systems.

For the facility manager, Echelon’s new office provides the ability to monitor and control lighting, security, hvac, elevators, and many other functions in the building. The operator can be at the building site or at a remote location and access the devices via the Internet using a PC. This remote control is enabled by Echelon’s i.LON?1000 Internet Server, which uses an Internet Protocol (IP) backbone to route the building’s sub-systems data to the remote operator.

“The benefits of this system are obvious,” said Mark Kendall, president of Kenmark Real Estate Group, the facility management company that is operating Echelon’s new headquarters.

“If at 3 a.m. one of the rooftop units goes down, not only are we notified, but we can get data on the operation of the system and react right away. Add several buildings with similar open systems and Kenmark can monitor a portfolio of properties 24/7 with even greater efficiency.”

In the eyes of Kendall, this LonWorks network-enabled system contrasts with the way facility monitoring is done today, which requires a separate software package for each building system. That traditional method means several PCs might be needed, resulting in greater complexity and less efficiency for the building manager. According to Kendall, the advantage of LonWorks device networks stems from its ability to link products from different manufacturers together into one unified network.

INDIVIDUAL CONTROLS

To demonstrate how interoperable the technology is, Echelon is using variable air volume (VAV) controllers from two different makers, Invensys and TAC, in its new headquarters.

All of the products in the building were installed using Echelon’s LonMaker?Integration Tool, tailored to Echelon’s LNS? plug-in standard and are LonMark certified.

According to Earl Gray, builders also benefit from the LonWorks system because less wiring is needed to control all the various systems, saving on cost of construction or rewiring.

“All the sub-systems run off the same set of wires,” said Gray, chief technical officer for Control Contractors, the company integrating Echelon’s technology in the new building, and a member of Echelon’s Open Systems Alliance. “I don’t have six or seven networks to deal with. This has one set of arteries that connect to everyone’s different organs.”

The new office also provides several benefits to its inhabitants, the employees of Echelon. By creating a unique i.LON 1000-served web interface for each office, Echelon has made it simple for employees to set up their individual workspace preferences.

“It’s important that people are comfortable in their offices. That’s why we put the control in their hands,” said Rob Guzikowski, senior network integration specialist at Echelon. “All they have to do is call up the building’s interface to select individual lighting levels and temperature settings.”

An advanced occupancy sensing strategy coordinates lighting and temperature to desired levels when the office is in use. Energy usage is minimized when the space is unoccupied, said Guzikowski. Also, telecommuters can specify when they are at work so that the building doesn’t heat, cool, or light rooms that are vacant. This eliminates waste, conserves energy, and cuts costs, explained Guzikowski.

Publication date: 06/10/2002

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