The race is on for a more sustainable future, and by automating and digitizing your sustainability efforts, you’ll experience reduced energy costs and accelerate your journey towards a better future for your operations and the planet. We kick off this session by discussing why sustainability is important and the role corporations play in climate change. Mr. Zhi Wei Li then lays out three key steps to achieving sustainability, and how ICONICS software can be applied in each of those steps.

Video Transcript

[00:00] Zhi Wei Li, Director of Innovation and Engineering, ICONICS

Hello everyone, thanks for joining me today. My name is Zhi Wei Li. I'm the Director of Innovation and Engineering for the US. Today I'm going to talk about streamlining operations for a sustainable future. And with me here today is Dean Tallman, the CIO of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE). And he'll talk to us about how IUOE utilizes ICONICS as part of their building and also as part of their training program.


So, this is the agenda for the topics I'm going to go through today. I'll start by talking about why sustainability is important. And then some strategies around achieving that sustainability and how ICONICS is part of that strategy. And then Dean will come on and talk about how IUOE approaches sustainability and how to utilize the ICONICS technologies to achieve that. And then I'll do a little bit of demo around our product, Energy AnalytiX, that is the flagship product around sustainability itself. And end with some topics around how Mitsubishi Electric approaches sustainability and the efforts that our parent company, Mitsubishi Electric, has around sustainability.


So, to kick it off, why is sustainability important? A lot of people are talking about it now. And these images are why, right? We are all familiar with some or more of these images, we may have been impacted by it directly, or indirectly, one way or another. So this planet that we live in, the only planet that we've ever lived in, needs our help.


Like it or not, our climate is changing, we're feeling the effects of that, right? And these are some of the statistics that NASA has compiled, to show how we are impacting this world that we live in. The world is measurably warmer than before. The polar ice sheets are melting, causing sea levels to rise, causing climates to change. Ocean heat is increasing, causing ocean ecologies, like coral reefs to collapse, and there are environments that we see today that our children and our grandchildren may not be able to see.


So why is the climate changing? Scientists have studied our climate for a very long time. And what they've observed is that the accumulation of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, in our atmosphere is the primary reason our climate is changing. The greenhouse effect caused by higher levels of greenhouse gases act as a blanket that traps heat that we generate, thereby increasing the overall temperature. So the climate changes as a reaction to this increase in the overall temperature of the environment.


So what we need to do now that we've experienced the effects of climate change, and I don't think we want more of these, is to understand the causes of it. And knowing that this path that we're on is not sustainable, we should ask the smartest creatures on the planet to do something about it. Right? So what do we need to do? In general, we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. And the major part of how these emissions come about is due to our energy consumption. So energy consumption itself is not all bad. We have to consume energy to live our lives. However, we should commit to a path that lets us be a more sustainable species on this good earth. Key to that is to use energy efficiently and not waste it. So being sustainable means being energy efficient, and our corporations and businesses play a very big role in this, because these organizations consume a lot of energy in the manufacturing of goods, in the transport of goods, in computing, etc.


So how do we achieve sustainability? I lay out three key steps. There are three key steps to the journey to sustainability. And as with most things, knowing is half the battle. So the ability to accurately measure our current energy consumption is the key first step. Now once we know, what we then want to do is to track that knowledge. And finally, aggregate all that data that we've tracked into digestible reports that a wide audience can understand and act upon. And I will go into detail of each of these steps.


So first, we have to measure where to start, we must measure the overall consumption of each energy resource that we consume, like electricity, like gas, water, steam. This gives us an overall understanding of how much of each type of energy we are consuming.


Then we should measure and understand how these different energy sources that we're consuming are generated. For example, in the case of electricity, there are sources that are “dirtier” from the perspective of greenhouse gas emissions like coal, oil and gas. And there are “cleaner” types of generation, like wind, solar, geothermal, and nuclear. Now, the clean sources are not entirely clean throughout their process because some of the equipment that is necessary to generate electricity using these clean sources themselves do produce some greenhouse gas emissions. But overall, they are cleaner than the dirty sources. So, we should do what we can to increase energy consumption from those cleaner sources and reduce our reliance on the dirtier ones.


Next, it's also very useful to measure who or what is consuming all that energy? We're paying for all that energy in some way, shape or form, so we should know where it's going to. So is it mostly consumed by people for things like, you know, computers that are plugged into the wall appliances, they're plugged to the wall and so on? Or is it consumed by maintaining a livable environment, like lighting, or heating or cooling ventilation of a space or a building? Or is it consumed in the case of manufacturing machinery that's used to produce those goods? And when you start measuring that, we start seeing patterns that may or may not match our expectations. So that is useful.


And lastly, it would be also interesting to measure where all this energy consumption is going to. Are the office buildings that we use consuming the most energy? Can we tell if the energy consumption is concentrated in certain floors, or certain sections of floors? Are factories that are producing our goods consuming the most energy? And similarly, are certain zones or production lines, consuming more energy than other like production zones or lines? Knowing as much of these through as accurate a measurement as possible, sets the foundation for all the other steps that we're going to take in our journey to sustainability.


So once we have measurements, the next thing we want to know is to start keeping a history of that, so we can track those changes. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So it's important that all these measurements that we collect can be visualized with visual tools like graphs, or heatmaps. And tracking and visualizing all these various measurements allows us to discover trends, as we are all visual beings, right? Seeing the measurements graphically allows us to compare consumption changes more intuitively, and better understand the effects of any of these sustainability initiatives that we may kick off and know that they are producing the kind of impact that we expect out of those initiatives.


The third step is in producing reports with all these measurements and history that we're collecting. Now, the purpose of these reports is to allow an organization to have a common understanding of the information so that everybody knows where we are in terms of pursuing that goal of sustainability, and how much more do we need to do to get there? Reports facilitate the accountability, and target tracking of sustainability initiatives. Reports are also necessary if the organization is benefiting from monetary incentives, like rebates from utility companies, as they often require these reports to keep themselves accountable. So the usefulness of reports is magnified, if the process of generating them is automated, such that up-to-date reports with up-to-date data can easily be generated either ad hoc or on a scheduled basis.


So how does ICONICS help with those three key steps? ICONICS has products that help with the data collection, through our use of open standards, like Modbus, BACnet, OPC, we can connect to all the various kinds of meters that you may have either existing or will install in your facilities. And that data is brought into our product platforms like GENESIS64 or using IoTWorX published to the cloud. And that data can be visualized in real time and can be stored in history with Hyper Historian. And once you have history, you can report on it, you can visualize the trends, you can do all those track-and-compares that I talked about.


Now, we also have analysis solutions built on these products. And one of them, specifically around energy, is Energy AnalytiX. So that can consume data from various kinds of meters, either they’re accumulated meters or instantaneous meters. And it can calculate the consumption based on these raw meter readings, into actionable insights and information. Energy AnalytiX is built on the same product platform that you're used to. It's built on AssetWorX, Hyper Historian, AnalytiX-BI, but it streamlines the process of all those into a single coherent step of configuration. And all that data is made available to our visualization platforms, be it KPIWorX, GraphWorX, WebHMI, or ReportWorX. And here are some samples of screens for Energy AnalytiX. But I will go into more detail on them in the demo later.