Lobos Box

a very smart little box

LOBOS is an intelligent HVAC optimization platform for large commercial buildings and campuses. Built on the Niagara platform, LOBOS is available as an energy efficiency and/or automated demand response upgrade and is compatible with most modern HVAC control systems.  LOBOS brings never-before-seen levels of intelligent, efficient operation to commercial comfort systems by serving as a brain (intelligence) to the building automation system’s (BAS) nerves (gathering inputs) and muscle (exercising control).

Before LOBOS, the original Load Based Optimization System, the basic operation of large-scale commercial HVAC systems hadn’t changed in decades. Even with more efficient motors, pumps and drives and the addition of digital controls, HVAC systems being installed in 2013 operate pretty much the same way they did in 1972. LOBOS changes that.

From 2009 to mid-2013, LOBOS has been installed in 301 buildings equaling 49 million square feet, and the saving rates are impressive. LOBOS installed buildings are delivering 29 MW in demand response capacity, $3.5 million in annual energy savings, $7 million in total received utility incentives and total utility tested DR capacity of 20 MW.       

LOBOS architecture

LOBOS System Illustration
LOBOS is an optimization platform that is installed on top of a building automation system’s (BAS) HVAC control station. The BAS is connected to an on- or off-site LOBOS work station through a LOBOS JACE. The LOBOS work station optimizes the controls system by constantly monitoring and recalibrating the system’s functionality according to the building’s operating requirements to ensure all systems, across multiple locations if needed, are running at rates of maximum efficiency. LOBOS provides improved energy efficiency rates of 30-50 percent, automated demand response, fault detection, and diagnostics without compromising—and in many instances improving—tenant comfort.

intelligent optimization

Keeping large buildings cool is a complex process. It involves chillers that create cold water to cool down air, air handling units that move the air to the right place and sensors that provide feedback about how the whole system is working. The whole thing is typically controlled by a building management system, a centralized computer where all the separate parts of the system come together.

A building management system has to answer lots of complex questions, like, how cold should the chiller make the water to keep the building comfortable on a warm day? Or, how fast should the fans in the air handling units be spinning to get that air where it needs to go? What time does the system need to start cooling things down to make sure the building is comfortable by the time people come to work in the morning?

LOBOS works with the existing building management and automation systems to answer these complex questions, and more. It helps all the building’s individual components work together more efficiently to keep things comfortable and save significant amounts of energy.

beyond optimization

Beyond Optimization
LOBOS goes beyond optimization with efficiency returns 30 to 50 percent higher than what is achieved with air handler, chiller plant and controls system upgrades alone. LOBOS EE delivers annual cost savings of $0.12-$0.20 per square foot. LOBOS DR provides precise fully-automated demand response capacity of ½ to 1 watt per square foot, delivering annual cost savings of $0.01-$0.03 per square foot. LOBOS FDD provides fault detection and diagnostics that monitors an HVAC system performance, flagging mechanical faults before they impact cost or comfort.

a quick learner

LOBOS isn’t a static system. At the same time that it’s making a building smarter, it’s learning. And as it learns, LOBOS self adjusts.

Say, for example, on a summer morning, the Building Automation System knows that it needs to have floor 10 of a building cooled down to 72°F at 8:00 AM. So, it tells the HVAC system to start pumping cool air into that floor at 7:30 AM, half an hour before it needs to be cooled. This is the type of task that a standard building automation system can perform.

LOBOS goes beyond this standard level of automation. In this scenario, as LOBOS watches the temperature sensors for floor 10, it realizes that it only takes 15 minutes to completely cool things down on that floor. So, the next morning LOBOS will use what it learned the day before, and wait until 7:45 AM before it tells the building management system to start pumping cool air into floor 10. The building uses less energy, and the people working on floor 10 have a nice, precisely cooled workplace.

Of course, that’s just one small step of the many complex ways that LOBOS actively learns and self-adjusts. When you add up all the small and not-so-small steps that a LOBOS system automatically takes, you end up with a much more efficient and comfortable building.

real automated demand response

LOBOS makes demand response truly automated, automatically reducing a building’s energy usage when it receives a demand response event signal from the utility.

how demand response works

When lots of people are using lots of energy, like on a really hot summer afternoon, the grid can need more energy than the utilities can produce. Instead of building more power plants that would sit idle most of the year, and only come online on a few peak-demand days a year, utilities across the country have worked to implement demand response programs.

In a demand response program, energy users sign up to voluntarily cut their usage during peak usage times, in exchange for payments or credits from the utility.

It’s a great idea, but has one fatal flaw. When a utility calls a demand response event, they often literally call, or page, or text-message people at facilities who have signed up to be participants, and ask them to shut off things that are using energy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

When it doesn’t work, it means that energy users don’t get the payments they were expecting for signing up – and the utilities don’t get the reductions in peak demand they need to keep the grid running smoothly.

how LOBOS is better

LOBOS fixes this flaw. The demand response component of a LOBOS system is connected directly to the electrical utility, so that when it receives a demand-response signal, it springs into action.

And LOBOS doesn’t just shut things off willy-nilly, it uses its intelligence to make sure the building is meeting its demand-response obligations at the same time as it minimizes the change in comfort levels for the people in that building.

With LOBOS automated demand response, building owners get the financial rewards they were promised, building occupants can stay more comfortable and utilities get the peak load reductions that they need.

a good
listener

Even with all its intelligence, LOBOS is happy to take instructions.

LOBOS comes with an easy to use dashboard that allows operators to make adjustments to the way LOBOS operates. Unlike many building management systems, LOBOS doesn’t require a PhD in computer science to adjust. It has a graphical dashboard, and most changes can be made just by dragging a slider.

When it receives instructions, the LOBOS system uses its intelligence and learning abilities to make sure the instructions are implemented as efficiently as possible.

the proof is
in the numbers

LOBOS makes it easy to see just how much energy it’s saving in realtime.

Lots of systems promise to save energy, but promising is much easier than delivering. That’s why LOBOS puts its results front and center.

With a LOBOS system, building owners and operators can log in anytime and see both current and historical energy reductions to verify that their system is delivering on its promise of energy savings.

integrated diagnostics

LOBOS systems are built to monitor a building’s performance and send notifications when anything isn’t working right.

When the cooling system of a large building has a problem that goes undetected, that problem can become very expensive. Undetected problems can waste energy, make occupants uncomfortable and require complex manual diagnosis.

LOBOS fault detection software automatically monitors a building’s performance and issues alerts as soon as it sees that something’s not right.

Since every building is unique, LOBOS can be configured with custom rules and alerts that are tailored to your specific building’s needs.

a very green proposition

The energy savings that LOBOS creates are directly linked to significant environmental benefits. For example, a fairly typical LOBOS installation in a 400,000 sq ft office building could reduce that building’s CO2 footprint by over 300 tons annually. That’s equivalent to keeping 110 cars off the road. Not bad for a smart little computer.

works with existing hardware

LOBOS isn’t designed to replace existing building automation hardware, it’s designed to make the hardware that’s already in a building, smarter. This means that when you install LOBOS, you’re not signing up to replace expensive building management systems, you’re signing up to enhance the systems you’ve already invested in.

an open platform

LOBOS is built on a proven, open platform, making it both dependable and easy to maintain.

As a system that’s built on the industry-standard Niagara AX framework, thousands of qualified energy professionals across the country can install, maintain and operate a LOBOS system.

a protected core

At its core, LOBOS is protected by patent number US 7,890,215 B2.  The patent covers the essential functionality of the LOBOS system, and means that LOBOS offers functionality that no other system can match.

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For Building Owners, Managers & Occupants

building owners

LOBOS can drastically cut your energy costs, make your tenants more comfortable and help you meet your sustainability goals.

lobos for building owners
For Energy Service Companies & Contractors

energy service companies

LOBOS can create significant, verifiable energy savings that go far beyond the average retrofit.

lobos for energy service companies
For Utilities & Demand Response Aggregators

utilities & demand response

LOBOS enables fully automated demand response and precise, real-time pricing capability, delivering on the promise of the smart grid.

lobos for utilities & demand response
For Building Automation Technology OEMs and Integrators

building automation technology OEMs

LOBOS integrates with your building automation hardware to make it even smarter.

lobos for automation technology oems

get Lobos

We’re glad you’re excited about LOBOS. Give us a bit of info, and we’ll help you get LOBOS in your building, project or product.

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