From new, more environmentally-friendly equipment to smarter, more connected devices, next week’s AHR Expo will feature the latest technologies revolutionizing the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC-R) industry. This annual event, which will be bringing the largest names in HVAC-R to Orlando to demonstrate their innovations and discuss the latest HVAC trends and technologies, provides an incredible glimpse into the future of HVAC and how the devices that keep us comfortable will evolve and change into the future.
One of the companies that is leading the way is Delta Electronics, whose wide range of HVAC devices and building automation solutions are empowering the shift towards “smart buildings” and helping to make facilities greener, more efficient and more comfortable.
We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Joseph Oberle, the Vice President of Corporate Development for Delta Electronics and the head of Delta’s Building Automation Business Group in the Americas. During our discussion with Joseph, we talked about what makes a “smart building” smart, how Delta Electronics play a role in making buildings smarter, and the inevitable rise of HVAC as a Service (HVACaaS).
Here is what he had to say:
Modern Equipment Manufacturer (MEM): Can you tell our readers a little bit about Delta Electronics? What type of products and solutions does the company offer?
Joseph Oberle: Founded in 1971, Delta has sought to better the world with power and thermal management solutions that bridge the gap between innovation and energy efficiency. As a global leader in power supplies for nearly half a century, we have the breadth of knowledge and technical expertise. These advantages extend across one of the broadest product portfolios on the market.
Our energy solutions and systems address the performance and efficiency needs for a range of fields including building automation, industrial automation, automotive, data center, telecom and renewable energy, among others.
Our wide scope of applications allows us to deliver the most value for customers. Specifically, our building automation and energy management systems – which will be the key focus at AHR – include Delta subsidiaries, Delta Controls Inc. and LOYTEC.
These offerings are further complemented and enhanced through a range of smart and efficient products including VIVOTEK, USA Inc. security and surveillance solutions; high-efficiency HVAC solutions from our Delta Breez line of bathroom ventilation fans; cutting-edge industrial automation drives and motion control systems; and tunable white lighting from Amerlux for comfortable, human-centric work environments.
Many of these solutions can be used to enhance individual buildings and applied to citywide infrastructure to create connected, comfortable and safe urban ecosystems.
MEM: How does Delta Electronics define a “smart building?” What characteristics make a building “smart?”
Joseph Oberle: A true smart building is able to perform functions without direct human control. It can recognize patterns and irregularities within a building and implement changes to increase efficiency and comfort.
Realizing this level of intelligence eventually comes down to connectivity. Every building is composed of an array of systems, from HVAC to lighting, access control, and security cameras. If these systems operate independently, a facility manager, building owner and occupant will find it infinitely more difficult to manage.
It is our mission to make the everyday experience of running and working within a building seamless, convenient and comfortable. We achieve this by facilitating open communication among all of our solutions within a building. Delta solutions cover the entire building automation market, placing us in a unique position to provide a full ecosystem of smart solutions.
MEM: What are the benefits of “smart buildings” to the building owners? How about the occupants?
Joseph Oberle: Since smart solutions automatically adjust operations based on real-time and predicative building data, they create many benefits for building owners. These advantages include lowering energy bills, extending the life of building equipment through preventative maintenance as well as increasing the building’s value, tenant comfort and retention.
Building automation systems and software can interconnect, monitor and control a myriad of IoT-enabled devices and renewable energy sources – all of which support sustainability objectives and deliver on occupant demands. Moreover, these functionalities make it easier for building owners to oversee and manage multiple properties remotely.
For example, building management systems provide real-time insights into performance across an entire building portfolio. This reduces downtime of vital building infrastructure and ensures an optimal experience for the occupant.
For occupants, smart technologies ease daily life within the office environment to enhance workflow and improve well-being. Many studies show the impact of lighting, temperature, airflow and other building functions have a substantial impact on employee health and wellness. Injecting intelligence into these operations ensures that they are not only working efficiently but also logically responding to changing occupant patterns and needs.
With the right technology, conference rooms can prepare for meetings by lowering the temperature and dimming the lights. Similarly, window blinds drop down automatically to block out sunlight.
Furthermore, smart buildings offer vital security enhancements through intelligent monitoring of access points. Solutions from VIVOTEK can closely monitor entryways and exits – leveraging new technologies such as license plate identification and people counters to ensure tenant safety. These changes can dramatically improve employee health, satisfaction and productivity – giving employers a competitive edge in a tight labor market.
MEM: How does Delta Electronics and its solutions make buildings smarter?
Joseph Oberle: Delta offers a wide selection of automation solutions designed to facilitate efficiency and seamless connectivity across the building environment. Delta Controls and LOYTEC are leaders in Building Automation Systems (BAS), with capabilities spanning HVAC/R, card access, lighting control, energy management, electronic vehicle (EV) charging and more. Their offerings are compatible with all open building control protocols, enabling full interoperability across systems.
Building control solutions from Delta Controls and LOYTEC act as control centers for buildings and cities, providing a foundation for additional smart enhancements. Through Delta, facility managers have access to connectable devices that span the spectrum of building operations. A single provider accelerates setup and streamlines any troubleshooting. Customers can feel confident that each solution is communicating with and complementing the others to fully maximize a building’s potential.
Most recently, Delta Controls demonstrated its commitment to commercial connectivity with the launch of the O3 Sensor Hub 2.0, which won this year’s AHR Expo Innovation Award in the building automation category. Designed to enhance the occupant experience, the O3 Sensor Hub 2.0 streamlines smart sensors – the systems needed to monitor temperature, humidity and motion within a building environment – into a single, intuitive unit.
Typically, sensors are scattered across the walls and ceilings, resulting in a myriad of devices and inaccurate readings. The O3 Sensor Hub 2.0 solves these challenges by combining all these sensors into one device mounted in the center of the ceiling. Together, these sensors provide an incredibly accurate view of how an occupant feels in the space and allows Delta Controls’ building automation systems to adjust controls to occupant activities more precisely.
This includes turning on Amerlux’s smart streetlamps in the parking lot at the end of the day, and automating Amerlux’s adaptive, dim-to-warm light fixtures within the building to complement natural light. The system can also connect with VIVOTEK’s array of intelligent surveillance solutions to continuously monitor traffic and authorize access for Delta’s EV chargers in the parking lot through smart identification technology. Control becomes even more granular with Delta’s industrial automation solutions. By connecting its newest product, the GEN2 bypass system, users can oversee and adjust essential variable frequency drive functions, such as those essential to HVAC and elevator operations.
This level of unprecedented connectivity can foster safe and responsive smart cities. By pairing Delta Controls or LOYTEC’s control and monitoring systems with Amerlux lighting, city managers can establish a network of smart lights that brighten or dim based on occupant movement. This intelligence can be overlaid on streetlamps throughout a city and paired with VIVOTEK’s security cameras to aid in police safety initiatives. A demonstration of this smart lighting structure paired with Delta’s AC mini level 2 EV charger will be on display at Delta’s AHR Expo booth.
MEM: In advance of the show, we recently sat down with some of the show organizers, including the show manager, Mark Stevens. One of the hot topics that came up in that discussion was the evolution of HVAC as a Service (HVACaaS). Why is HVACaaS such a big deal for HVAC companies? How does it benefit equipment owners?
Joseph Oberle: HVAC management has historically relied on physical monitoring and maintenance, so HVACaaS is an exciting evolution for the industry. We have seen other areas of the building landscape follow the SaaS trajectory and achieve positive results for customers. This is because a service-based model empowers providers to offer an even higher level of support.
Incorporating a service model into the HVAC system vastly increases what equipment manufacturers and service providers can do and see from remote locations. This creates more opportunities for preventative and predictive maintenance. Rather than waiting for a customer to report a problem, providers can regularly check on the system and address irregularities before occupants are impacted.
Furthermore, SaaS models enable regular software updates to extend the life of the HVAC system and reduce the number of maintenance issues that arise over time.
MEM: In your opinion, is 2020 the year that HVACaaS becomes a reality? What do HVAC manufacturers have to do to make HVACaaS a reality?
Joseph Oberle: The consumer market has accelerated the progression of the SaaS industry across the board. Consumers are drawn to subscription models as a way to feel connected to and be heard by brands. We see this extend into all areas of the commercial environment, with occupants now expecting buildings to listen and react to their needs.
The HVAC industry has largely been rooted in mechanical processes – tethered to physical maintenance checks and repair visits. Now, the convergence of big data, cloud computing and IoT connectivity is paving the way for a SaaS business model. The key to this transition, however, is integration and collaboration.
A cornerstone of Delta’s business is interconnectivity. We believe this allows us to operate more intelligently and respond more swiftly to market shifts. This is why Delta can seamlessly meet the diverse needs of a wide range of customers, from office builders to hospitals, schools and hotels. The ability of the HVAC industry to work together will influence how quickly HVACaaS matures and how soon customers across all commercial facilities can embrace it.
MEM: What does Delta Electronics have planned for this year’s AHR? Are there any exciting announcements or new products that the company will be demonstrating? What can AHR attendees expect from Delta this year?
Joseph Oberle: Delta will be showcasing a comprehensive suite of cross-functional, IoT-based smart green solutions and how they come together to create intelligent cities at its AHR Expo booth. Under the theme, “Smarter Buildings, Smarter Cities,” Delta will feature new and industry-leading technologies, including building control solutions from subsidiaries Delta Controls and LOYTEC; the latest in security and surveillance from VIVOTEK; productivity-enhancing lighting from Amerlux; Delta IoT-enabled variable frequency drives (VFDs); and more.
Notable new products include the award-winning O3 Sensor Hub 2.0, which revolutionizes how buildings respond to tenant movements through an all-inclusive sensor hub solution. Additionally, Delta will debut the GEN2 bypass system for more streamlined control of its robust line of variable frequency drives (VFDs). Featuring Delta Controls’ enteliWEB applications for complete programmable control, the GEN2 is a testament to Delta’s cross-portfolio integration efforts.
To learn more about Delta Electronics and their building automation solutions, click HERE. To learn more about the rise of HVACaaS and its impact on the HVAC industry, click HERE to download a complimentary copy of the eBook, “The HVAC as a Service Revolution.”