Building management

Branch networks 4.0: building and energy management of the future

Simple implementation of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning control for branch networks

Whenever companies operate at different locations, the demand for centralised energy management arises. The energy consumption of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and technical systems needs to be monitored on the basis of criteria such as operating times, and controlled remotely. Where there are many locations, an efficient remote maintenance solution is also required for access to control technology, together with a framework for overall management. Ideally the energy management solution should also be certified in accordance with ISO 50001, and thus actively and verifiably contribute to CO2 reduction.

The task: digitalisation in energy management for many locations

Organisations with many branches include large supermarkets, DIY stores, drugstores, petrol stations and many other companies from the retail and logistics sectors with properties in a number of widely scattered locations. Often these companies don’t perform the management of the buildings themselves. They outsource the equipment to integrators and the operation to regional electricians or heating contractors.

Management of a building requires remote central access to the building technology (e.g. PLC controls). While covering a large number of branches this must be possible with often limited availability of specialist personnel, without excessive amounts of time and without in-depth IT knowledge.

The solution: remote access via networking and branch linking

It is important to bring together all relevant building technology systems and their controls on site in a local network. On the one hand specialised gateways now take care of on-site controls so that, for example, the heating, air conditioning and other devices no longer need to be controlled individually. On the other hand, they offer secure remote access options, for example via VPN, to make the resulting energy management centrally controllable. The connection to the internet is made via the gateway either with existing infrastructure (DSL or the like) or flexibly via radio networks. The use of higher-level management systems makes the systematic energy management of many branches simple and efficient.

INSYS icom energy Step 3 (optional): use of energy management systems Step 2: use of gateways with a secure VPN solution Relevant building technology systems such as PLC controls from well-known suppliers (e.g. Saia Burgess or WAGO) need to be networked in the LAN at the particular location. The same applies, for example, to electricity, gas or water meters in the building network or to a solar system on the roof. The general overview of energy consumption across many branches can be presented transparently in terms of continuous improvement processes by means of a management system in accordance with ISO 50001. Solutions such as those from OPTENDA, for example, offer software components that are operated locally on the gateway (on the edge) and combine local functionality with a convenient cloud system. Step 1: networking of building technology For each location a gateway is used that enables the secure control of the local building technology from a distance. The gateway is configured accordingly for this purpose. This enables remote access via encrypted VPN solutions. If no internet connection is available on site, internet access is provided via a SIM card using mobile radio communication.

The solution: gateway installation, secure data communication and setting up an energy management system.

INSYS icom offers exactly the right hardware, communication and security solution via easily configurable and manageable gateways as well as various VPN options. In this way any number of branches with different building technology can be integrated into efficient, centralised remote maintenance. As a result, nothing stands in the way of a certifiable energy management system (audit-ready).

Gateways for secure remote access

Proven and flexible Internet routers bring together building technology in one solution for central administration. Existing Internet connections can be used at any time. Alternatively the gateways can be equipped with modules as well as SIM cards for mobile radio communication.

  • Seamless integration of a gateway from INSYS icom into the IT infrastructure of a branch
  • Internet connection via existing lines or via mobile radio communication
  • Optional mobile radio communication connection including SIM card for uncomplicated, inexpensive, international use
  • Router management for device administration across all branches

Secure VPN solution

VPN options provide reliable security for remote maintenance – regardless of the Internet access used.

  • The icom Connectivity Suite as a flexible, advanced VPN service
  • Various operating models right up to a managed service for VPN as a complete service
  • Compatibility with other VPN services

Optional and recommended: a certified energy management system

A management software such as OPTENDA’s Energy Monitor is recommended for energy transparency and the optimisation of energy consumption, especially where there are many different locations. The software demonstrably contributes to improving energy efficiency and reducing energy costs as well as CO2 emissions. The Energy Monitor is also the digital basis for certification in accordance with ISO 50001. The cooperation with INSYS icom resulted in an app that is operated on a Linux container of the internet gateways at the branches. This enables access to the energy consumers behind the gateway on site. The display of the energy consumption and the overall management is done in the cloud, which creates unprecedented energy transparency and shows potential savings.

  • Reduction in energy costs and CO2 emissions
  • Support for continuous improvement processes (CIP)
  • Complete transparency on energy consumption, anomalies and load peaks
  • Energy management in accordance with ISO 50001
  • Audit-ready in accordance with DIN EN 16247

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