Do a quick search on building and energy websites and what comes up within the first page? You have some stuff from the DOE (Department of Energy) and other government entities but chances are you will only find one of the top 5 building and energy websites during your search. This means that decision makers, consultants, and designers are missing out on key information that directly impact the efficiency and effectiveness of their building management and energy programs.
Website #1 Is My System Exposed? It Might be...
When the publicized series of Tridium Niagara Bog file hacks happened a few months ago people wondered how the hackers knew what their IP address was and how they were able to access the control system. Websites like SHODANHQ (which is one of the more prominent sites) allow you to search for a control system by name and then any websites with that name in the web server description will show up.
All a hacker then needs to do is to either use the default password for the system (if it's not disabled) or try to access your Building Automation Systems Root structure. You should be checking once a quarter to make sure your BAS system is not exposed to potential hackers.
Let me put a little bit of fear into you, If I wanted to I could have typed in some of the manufacturers names and their default passwords and accessed public systems, there typically are no Banners declaring do not access, confidential usage only, thus the due care and due diligence would fall on the owner if I were to do something bad. You must understand, this is some truly scary stuff. If I wanted to I could turn a boiler to high fire and shut the exhaust air dampers. I could overide a discharge air pressure setpoint while logging into a controller and disable the Pressure High Limit.... Bad JuJu
Website #2 Everyone Loves Something For Free
The Department of Energy has a great website but it is a bit difficult to navigate if you don't know what exactly you are looking for. The link above is the money-maker. It is a link to a lot (not all) of the Tax Credits, Rebates, and Savings programs throughout the United States.
This one list can be filtered to narrow down your targeted program by type, vertical market, state, ect... This is where the free money lies, and should be the first place you check prior to conducting any building related project.
Website #3 How Efficient Are We? Answer: Check with CBECS
Energy Star is a great website and if you have the time and money you can enter your data into a repository of like buildings and really narrow down where your needle exactly is within that giant haystack.
Problem is, what if you are building a new building and you don't have an energy model? What if your building is of a type that doesn't work well with energy star?
What if you simply don't want to enter data?
Well you are in luck!
The EIA conducts studies that gathers massive amounts of building performance data to create a repository of utility metrics. This database can be used to project usage, rank and stack buildings, and analyze existing portfolios for energy hogs. The data comes in excel and pdf format, oh did I mention it's free?
Website #4 Hey Don't Take it From Me Take it From LBL
I sell technology that is cutting edge to my clients. They often ask, in fear and trepidation, if they are the first ones to use this kind of technology. It is then I turn to the trusted folks at LBL who have performed research and case studies on almost every technology approach you can think of.
I can give my customers my case studies and white papers but the problem is they are from me! The LBL is a trusted think tank that analyzes and reports on key trends within the building automation and energy space.
Website #5 What Does the Future Hold For Energy and IT?
Up until recently smart grids used to be quite dumb! However, technology companies are working to change that. We already see a shift with utility companies providing smart meters that allow them to reduce their production or divert the flow of utilities based on instantaneous demand. NREL is leading the way with several working groups around the ESI space.
If you want to know where the industry is heading and be the "smart guy" in the room when you meet with clients you should make sure you are studying up on what NREL is doing.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. When I started this list I thought about what are the websites I visit at least once a week. I hope this list is informative and eye-opening (especially item 4). Let me know your thoughts and what your top 5 list looks like below in the comments section.