Newsletter – February 2013

THIS MONTH…..
-DISCUSSIONS
-EXISTING CODE
-NEW CODE
-LASTLY

-DISCUSSIONS
The stuff we are talking about now…..

DEMAND RESPONSE
People have asked us about Demand Response. This technology involves receiving XML messages to change device settings. These messages come from your electricity and/or fuel provider, when their electricity and/or fuel grid is under stress and cannot cope with supplying the total demand to their customers. Say, for example, the Super Bowl just went dark and they need to find some electricity to light the game back up. Demand Response enabled technology then receives a computer generated message from your provider, asking you, as their customer, to either reduce or stop consumption of electricity and/or fuel for a while. The provider has a contractual agreement to compensate their subscribers when they do what the provider is asking for; easing their normal consumption level for a while. For us, this involves GNU remotecontrol being able to receive Demand Response messages and being able to send message back to them, telling your electricity and/or fuel provider what your future demand expectation is for your system. The benefit is to help you get better pricing if you reduce your consumption of electricity and/or fuel from your provider for that given time. More to come on this next month.

POWERLINE COMMUNICATION
People have asked us about Powerline Communication. This technology eliminates the need to run communication cabling to devices, such as thermostats, wireless access points, video cameras, and a host of other devices. A single set of electrical cabling handles both power and communication with the device. For us, this involves GNU remotecontrol moving communications across the cabling that caries the electricity to the device. The benefit for you is to integrate your GNU remotecontrol with a lot of existing cabling and technology options. More to come on this next month.

-EXISTING CODE
The stuff you may want to consider…..

ADDING DEVICES
GNU remotecontrol is designed to work with any IP enabled thermostat device. Say tomorrow you realize you want to add a new type of thermostat device to your GNU remotecontrol. No problem. All you have to know about that thermostat device is how to CONNECT to it, how to READ from it, and how to WRITE to it, and that is it. It is wise to select a thermostat device that has the ability to download and upload the device configuration, but that is your choice. Talk to us if you want to collaborate on getting that new type of thermostat device running in GNU remotecontrol.

AUTOMATION
GNU remotecontrol does not need to use the GUI to manage your IP enabled thermostat devices. Simply include your list of change instructions in the send_request.php file, and that is that. These change instructions are the names of the thermostat devices and what settings you want to change on those thermostat devices. It is the same list of change information that gets fed from index.php to send_request.php in the default installation of GNU remotecontrol. You sending your list of change instructions to send_request.php overrides index.php to feed your change instructions to your thermostat devices. You can achieve A LOT of different types of automation with GNU remotecontrol.

REMEMBER
GNU remotecontrol is a MANAGEMENT TOOL for your HVAC systems, after you decide what needs to be done to control your HVAC assets. What needs to be done is called the LOGIC SEQUENCE. This logic sequence functions either at will, by you making one-at-a-time changes, or by you using another well-developed program to make those automated decisions for you. We EXECUTE what people want done with their HVAC systems. There are many, and I mean….MANY…..technology options to accomplish this logic sequence. Talk to us if you want some examples.

-NEW CODE
The stuff we are working on now…..

ASSET MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
People have asked us about using GNU remotecontrol to run their Multi-Vendor HVAC systems. AWESOME! Unlike Single-Vendor HVAC systems, often referred to as a KIT, Multi-Vendor systems are built from individual components that you pick when designing your own bespoke systems. A Heat Pump is a very common example of a Single-Vendor HVAC system.

Asset Management is the art and science of making the best decisions and optimizing the practice of managing assets to achieve the greatest return. The objective is to minimize the life-cycle cost of your assets. A database to keep up with your HVAC assets is priceless for helping you go home at a regular time each day, versus you chasing down the speed of a fan, the last time you calibrated your sensors, and many other simple but time consuming activities. Imagine how much a database could help you accomplish in managing all of the different fans, cooling sources, and heating sources that cool and heat your large facility. One must have a record of those fans, cooling, and heating components in order to collectively switch them on/off. A database sure is a great way to keep up with that long list of assets. This database is the technological enabler for your Asset Management.

This Asset Management database is a great repository for information on your asset inspection, calibration, maintenance, and repair records. It also helps you know how long a component has been around, helping you prepare for replacing it. Check out the PAS 55 Standard and Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) from the Whole Building Design Guide, for more information. Also, check out Specifying Interoperability and BACnet and the Facility Manager, for some reference information of how a Multi-Vendor HVAC system can work for you.

We have a good list of requirements and a mock-up of the code to set up this Asset Management system. It offers a web based interface for you, really simple to use. You enter or import the information you need in your database, then simply read and review the information in the Asset Management database. What we are not sure of is how badly people want this Asset Management system right now. Talk to us if you want us to pursue developing this code sooner than later. We will most likely build it at some point in the future. It is a matter of how important it is to the folks using GNU remotecontrol right now.

-LASTLY
Whatever you do…..don’t get beat up over your Energy Management strategy. GNU remotecontrol is here to help simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Talk to us if you are stuck or cannot figure out the best option to go with for your GNU remotecontrol framework. The chances are the answer you need is something we have already worked through. We would be happy to help you by discussing your situation with you.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

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