Latest from Building Automation

Network Makes Possible Integration of Products From Multiple Vendors

March 1, 2009
i.LON 100 Internet servers integrate building-management systems for Eddie Bauer

Eddie Bauer is a specialty retailer selling casual sportswear and accessories. U.S. distribution is handled at the company's 2 million-sq-ft facility in Groveport, Ohio, while the company's computer operations are housed in a 50,000-sq-ft facility in Westmont, Ill.

Information from different technical building systems needed to be captured and logged in real time and available over the Internet for monitoring and analysis. This included electrical information, critical fire-pump pressures/run times, computer-room temperature/humidity, compressed-air-system values, and indoor-air-quality levels. The building-automation system, therefore, needed to be based on open standards that would allow the integration of different subsystems into one control network, as well as into the company's information-technology infrastructure. Also, it needed to meet the owner's demands for flexibility and the freedom to select “best of breed” devices from different manufacturers.


Based on previous experience integrating large facilities, Advanced Control Systems Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, suggested a building-automation solution based on LON technology. At the core of the system would be i.LON 100 Internet servers from Echelon, which would collect data published on the LON network and provide a Web-based interface for monitoring and controlling the building-management system (BMS).

The facility staff now has access to information from all of the building systems on the LON platform, as well as from Liebert computer-room control systems on the existing Modbus network. The distribution center in Groveport and the data center in Westmont can share information on the same LON network. At the Groveport site, electrical data are gathered and monitored through the iLON 100s. Kilowatt-hours, wattage demand, and amp usage are monitored and verified with the utility invoices Eddie Bauer receives.

With the LON network, the clothing manufacturer can predict electricity bills within a 1-percent error range. Using kilowatt-demand data with real-time information, it can target peak energy-consumption time frames and work to reduce wattage consumption and lower overhead costs.

The solution also focused on the HVAC system. At the Groveport facility, open Echelon Analog Input and Digital Input modules allow the monitoring of critical fire-pump pressure, air-compressor run times, and overall system pressure. LonPoint AI modules manage system pressure by monitoring air-compressor cycling to prevent faults and provide diagnostic information in the event of a system failure. LonMark-certified T7350 thermostats from Honeywell are used on the rooftop units at the Westmont site. After the thermostats were installed, a number of failing air-conditioning compressor stages that previously had gone unnoticed were detected and repaired. The HVAC system is managed on a schedule to conserve energy during times when the facilities are not in use. Eddie Bauer was able to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its HVAC, contributing to lower operating and maintenance costs.

PureChoice Nose 5 monitors were installed to control air quality, temperature, carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), volatile organic compounds, and humidity in the data and distribution centers. The levels are monitored and recorded by the i.LON 100 devices. LonMark-certified EC-Displays from Distech are connected to the Nose 5 devices via a two-wire bus network in key areas. The air-quality data collected from the Nose 5s and displayed on the EC-Displays are transmitted over the LON network for further processing. If the Nose 5s detect unhealthy CO or CO2 levels or high humidity levels, the information will be sent over the LON protocol.

With the reduction in energy usage and more efficient controls, Eddie Bauer should see returns on the new system within a year. Also, the life cycle of the open system will provide cost savings.


Eddie Bauer needed a system capable of integrating disparate systems and logging data effectively to verify energy usage and manage the day-to-day operations of a 2 million-sq-ft facility in an open-protocol Web-based environment.

“Using a half-dozen different LON manufacturers' products managed through i.LON 100s, Eddie Bauer now has an open, cohesive BMS that delivers real-time data that the company can use to reduce energy consumption and increase comfort levels,” Jeff DeVore, CEM, of Advanced Control Systems Inc., said.

Information courtesy of LonMark International.