... and More You Shouldn’t Have Missed at High Performance Buildings + Workplaces
I recently returned from the NFMT High-Performance Building and Workplaces (HBP+W) conference in Austin, Texas. If you know me, you know that over the years I have attended hundreds of these types of industry conferences, as an attendee, a business owner, an exhibitor, and more recently as a presenter, workshop leader and keynote speaker.
There is no better opportunity to network with your peers, find out what’s new, and learn industry best practices. The NFMT/HPB+W events always have speakers with timely messages and practical information. Many of the exhibitors offer hands-on opportunities to see how you can improve your operations, save money and get better results with the latest in products and technology.
Here are five reasons attending HPB+W was absolutely worth my time and my company’s money!
- At Newman Consulting Group, we are big fans of building automation, and especially the more recently available Building Energy Management Information Systems (BEMIS) that give building engineers and facility managers real-time data about energy use in their buildings. On the conference exhibit floor I visited with four vendors who each do that in completely different ways and at a wide range of costs.
Some systems were hard-wired to components. Others used existing control systems and added their modifications. One used ASHRAE Energy Standard 90.1 as a baseline for energy use and measured system and unit use against that. Of course, all of them can remotely access data and transmit the information as well as the necessary “fixes,” if required.
The best thing about any of these systems is, used properly, they can greatly reduce the likelihood of the expensive, and potentially disruptive response to failures. How? Because preventive, or even predictive, maintenance would become the norm.
- Conference attendees also had the opportunity to tour the Austin Convention Center, a LEED Gold Certified facility, and see how they put Building Automation to work. For more on the benefits of BEMIS, see this article on How BEMIS Can Help Optimize HVAC Efficiency and Save Money.
- Seminars on water conservation, both inside and outside buildings, continue to grow in popularity among building owners and managers. Water shortages in many parts of the country, along with rapidly increasing water and sewage costs, make water efficiency a hot topic in sustainability conversations. Building and engineering staff play an increasingly critical role in developing water-conservation initiatives. One session leader covered new plumbing codes and regulations and how they will impact commercial properties. Water management tools were popular among vendors on the exhibit floor as well.
- Expect to see continued integration of independent control systems from various manufacturers to achieve greater energy savings, while at the same time connecting disparate systems such as HVAC, lighting, security and life safety. The session “Unify Your Building and Reduce Energy Consumption with BACnet” covered numerous examples of how to accomplish this as well as what to expect in the future.
- There was an exceptional, standing-room-only, panel discussion on advanced energy management strategies in existing facilities. The panel included a multi-property building owner, the sustainability manager of a large commercial corporation, and a consulting engineer. They discussed best practices gleaned from strategies such as monitoring-based commissioning and fault detection and diagnostics. It was a fascinating and practical discussion on employing these strategies in various types of buildings and campuses. Most interesting was how they used them to balance energy efficiency with building comfort.
While Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) for financing costly energy-conserving retro-fits has gained traction in Texas, it’s just taking off here in Michigan. The sessions that addressed the complexities of PACE were very popular among people from states where PACE is working (see map). Learn more about how this creative financing tool is helping building owners and facility managers pay for energy conservation measures, click here.
And in case you missed it, here are Six Reasons I Still Go to ASHRAE Conventions, that can almost all be applied to NFMT events, BOMA, IFMA and USGBC conventions - and any other industry event you may be inclined to attend.
Changes in the construction industry, as in many other industries, are happening at an ever-increasing rate of speed. To stay on top of your field, and remain valuable to your organization, become active in industry organizations, attend the seminars, and see the exhibits at conventions like these.