Building Management Systems Bring Service Opportunities to Integrators

The increased demands for improved sustainability and energy efficiency highlight the importance of automated building control systems. Real-time data shows equipment and system performance and offers a path for maintenance service contracts.


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Image credit: KMC Controls

IoT technologies are being integrated into a building’s electrical and mechanical systems to monitor usage and efficiency, ensuring that companies meet or exceed federal sustainability guidelines. In existing buildings, the monitoring systems likely are separate. Pulling together all that data in a building management system can provide substantial savings to property owners.

In addition to cost savings, building management systems provide a wealth of additional information. Property owners can monitor patterns of use, balance system workloads, and identify potential equipment failures. Building management systems can provide channel partners with value-added service opportunities.

Wave of Opportunity

Riptide is creating an opportunity for integrators and service providers to offer value-added HVAC services. The Santa Barbara, CA-based company, which now operates as part of Turntide Technologies, has developed a building management system that scales from small- to medium-sized buildings to large, multi-building operations, and it works with existing equipment. 

Using a Riptide Hub, based on the Intel Atom® processor, or a legacy device, Riptide‘s cloud-based platform integrates data from multiple vendors and systems, including HVAC, lighting, refrigeration, and energy. It monitors performance and diagnostics. If an issue arises, Riptide will send the service provider, or the client, an alert with the relevant equipment and performance data. If a remote fix isn’t possible, the client or field tech can get help from off-site service providers or engineers.

The Riptide system is monitored and controlled through an app or website. The management page provides an overview of all buildings. Managers or system integrators can see and access all the sites connected to that account. Users can drill down to view site-specific information, including local weather, connection status, and a list of all connected equipment. Drill down even further to manage individual devices and view real-time diagnostic data.

Screenshot of Riptide dashboard information

Image credit: Riptide

A few tools make it easy to start, even for non-engineers. Riptide’s Graphics Builder allows users to create or import a floor plan that displays real-time data from equipment in that space. The floor plan provides a visual means of monitoring and managing the building. A Logic Builder tool lets users create operational rules, and a Report Builder enables users to generate custom reports and charts from real-time and historical data. Users can select specific parameters, equipment, and sites to track trends and monitor performance.

The Drop-in BAS

KMC Controls developed the KMC Commander building automation system. The KMC Commander platform uses Dell Edge Gateways, powered by Intel, to connect new and legacy equipment. It automatically discovers and tags devices and operates over AWS for cloud-based monitoring and control.

KMC Controls’ channel partner Eco Industrial Energy Solutions, based in Indiana, installed the KMC Commander building automation system at a local YMCA to improve energy efficiency. Eco Industrial also installed occupancy sensors, automated lighting, and energy controls, all tied to the KMC Commander. After the installation, the local YMCA realized energy savings of $83,000, and maintenance costs fell $28,000 in the first year. Eco Industrial claims the ROI is three and a half years.

Seeking to reduce energy costs, insurance company Nationwide worked with Florida-based W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractor to create an integrated HVAC system. The company installed 230 KMC VAV devices and two LAN controllers to build a peer-to-peer network that can be controlled from a PC. Nationwide claims its energy costs dropped $15,000 per month after installing the new system.

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