Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Taking a Holistic View of Monitoring Energy Use with OPC

Posted by Erik Dellinger

Monitoring energy use is the first step to taking greater control over energy costs and conservation efforts.  However, the emergence of alternative sources of power has made it more difficult to gain an accurate, holistic picture across multiple sources and structures. Engineering managers of multi-building complexes such as universities, hospitals, and corporate campuses are especially challenged in this area, particularly when energy efficiency and costs are tied to green initiatives. For example, energy monitoring requirements on a large campus site may span everything from the traditional grid, to chilled water plants, to solar panels providing supplemental energy through on-site power plants.

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Centralized visibility of energy use across the power generation network is critical for achieving accurate energy monitoring on multi-building sites. What’s more, an integrated energy information system can also be easily expanded to a public-facing Internet site that promotes energy-conscious actions to building tenants.

For keeping a history of energy use, Kepware recommends the OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA), which enables secure communication of remote connections among multiple structures while also enabling easy access to real-time and historical data and events.

Kepware’s KEPServerEX communication solution can facilitate communication among multiple automated protocols – such as BACnet and Modbus Ethernet – within a single energy information system to give engineering managers an accurate and complete view of energy use. As a result, improved energy monitoring can translate to significant reduction in energy costs with a fast ROI.

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