Several ACE IoT customers are deploying Eclipse VOLTTRON alongside existing energy data tools and software platforms. In this post, we highlight examples of the value of Eclipse VOLTTRON to organizations using SkySpark, Niagara and Energy Star Portfolio Manager.
SkyFoundry’s SkySpark software is a popular and powerful tool that facility owners and operators use to analyze building, energy and equipment data. SkySpark helps users identify issues and opportunities for improved performance and operational savings. There are various ways to license the SkySpark software, but many users purchase licenses based on the number of sites where SkySpark will be deployed and the number of data points they intend to acquire and analyze via the SkySpark platform.
Depending on the number of points that a user is trending and analyzing through the SkySpark platform, licensing fees can escalate quickly. Organizations have approached ACE IoT and asked whether deploying Eclipse VOLTTRON can help them control their software licensing costs?
There are two ways that ACE IoT’s customers have sought to control their SkySpark licensing cost by deploying Eclipse VOLTTRON.
Owning their own data collection infrastructure. An organization that supports a large portfolio of facilities spread across multiple states and provides a ‘constant commissioning’ service for its customers, is deploying a VOLTTRON-enabled data acquisition platform. ACE IoT is helping this customer develop the architectures for a cloud system and “data lake” that will expand the organization’s capability to collect, trend and monitor the operation and maintenance of HVAC systems in real-time. With its own data acquisition infrastructure, the organization can be more judicious about the data that it analyzes using the SkySpark platform and purchase licenses for only the points it needs to analyze.
Using ACE IoT’s Platform in order to enter only priority data into SkySpark. Similarly, an organization with a large portfolio of buildings that it owns and operates is deploying an Eclipse VOLTTRON instance in each of its buildings. With the Eclipse VOLTTRON instances deployed, the organization is using ACE IoT Platform as a Service to collect, trend and visualize HVAC systems data. Rather than stream all the collected data into SkySpark, the organization enters only the data from problematic and/or lower performing buildings into the SkySpark system. The organization reports significant cost savings.
Because VOLTTRON is an open source software project initially funded by the U.S Department of Energy, systems powered by the VOLTTRON platform provide a cost-effective means for organizations to acquire and “own” their building energy and equipment data. Importantly, VOLTTRON-enabled systems are also transparent, resilient and secure. The Eclipse VOLTTRON code base is administered and managed by The Eclipse Foundation. [To learn more about the Eclipse Foundation, please check-out a recent report released by the Eclipse Foundation. The report highlights several Eclipse VOLTTRON use cases.] ACE IoT designs systems to avoid single points of failure, provide fault tolerance by enabling each site to cache data in the event of central system outages and take advantage of best in class security features engineered by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
TridIum’s Niagara is a popular software platform that provides device connectivity in buildings, data centers, manufacturing systems and campuses. System integrators use Niagara to build applications that facilitate efforts to access, automate and control HVAC and other mechanical equipment. To connect with older, so-called “legacy equipment” that may not include an easy to use communication protocol, system integrators often install a Java Application Control Engine (JACE) controller. The JACE allows system integrators to access, automate and control older equipment.
Purchasing JACEs can add significant cost to project. Organizations have approached ACE IoT and inquired whether deploying Eclipse VOLTTRON can help them avoid the cost of installing a JACE to access data from legacy HVAC systems?
For a customer that is upgrading a building’s control systems but is not upgrading the legacy HVAC equipment, ACE IoT has deployed Eclipse VOLTTRON to collect and trend data from the legacy system to ACE IoT’s cloud. ACE IoT’s customer installs a gateway using community hardware. The gateway is configured with the open-source Eclipse VOLTTRON software and securely trends the collected data to ACE IoT’s cloud. Our customer accesses the data collected via an API. The VOLTTRON-enabled solution helps our customer avoid the costs of purchasing and installing a JACE by pulling data directly from legacy equipment into a unified cloud architecture.
ENERGY STAR PORTFOLIO MANAGER
EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is an energy management tool that allows organizations to assess energy consumption across an organization’s building portfolio. Organizations – including universities, municipalities and commercial real estate companies – enter their energy data into the Portfolio Manager tool to track and gauge energy utilization. In most cases, entering the data into Portfolio Manager is a manual process involving the collection of data from disparate systems and billing spreadsheets.
Collecting, collating and managing the data to be entered into the Portfolio Manager can be an arduous task. Organizations have approached ACE IoT and inquired whether deploying Eclipse VOLTTRON can help them simplify and streamline the task of collecting the data for EnergyStar Portfolio Manager?
For a team that responsible for energy usage reporting across a large campus, ACE IoT has deployed Eclipse VOLTTRON and is collecting and trending the data the team needs for the Portfolio Manager tool. Because of the VOLTTRON deployment, the team can now collect data at higher time resolution than previously available billing data from their utility. The team also uses Eclipse VOLTTRON to collect data from various building automation systems, power meters and other HVAC/mechanical systems. Ready access to this data via a cloud-based dashboard, CSV file or API allows the team to more easily manage granular energy and equipment data, readily track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and avoid delays compiling intermittent billing data. The team reports that the Eclipse VOLTTRON has simplified and made more efficient the process by which they complete of their internal reporting requirements and submit data via the Energy Star Portfolio Manager.
How can the open-source Eclipse VOLTTRON platform help your organization leverage your existing systems and achieve goals related to cost reductions, enhanced efficiency and effective reporting? Please contact Bill Maguire on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
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