The design and implementation of information systems for ESCO energy savings software
Electricity cost of buildings is a major expense for building owners. Improvements in the efficient utilisation of energy is therefore of concern to this economic sector. Unfortunately, existing energy audit tools are costly and time-consuming which militates against their common usage. The aim of this study was to create software that would reduce the time taken to perform a building audit. In that way it would encourage more building owners to carry out such audits. This would enable them to save electrical energy (and therefore costs) through retrofit projects in existing buildings. As a result, both the economy as well as the environment will benefit. This objective was reached by means of the design, implementation and integration of three software modules for a building-software package called Building ESCO Toolbox (BETB). The modules were integrated into a new building energy audit protocol that reduces the average time of a building audit from 45 days to 17 days. The work in this study was thoroughly verified by means of actual implementation at the CSIR conference centre, the Carlton building in the Johannesburg CBD and the TSI research facility of ESKOM. The first BETB software module is called the Palm Data Logger and captures the required building audit data. This reduces the data-gathering time from 10 to 4 days. The second module, the Financial Analysis Tool reduces the creation of financial analysis information from 2 days to 1 day. The third software module is called the Report Generation Tool and it compiles a final auditor report from all the BETB study data in one day as compared to the traditional three. A secondary aim of this study was to design a suitable solution for an improved mine pumping maintenance-information-systems. This product was called the On-Site Information Management System (OSIMS) and it was approved of by relevant personnel at the Anglo Gold Kopanang mine. OSIMS acts as support for the mine software, which is called Remote Energy Management System (EMS). It optimises mine water pump schedules in a way that avoids using peak time electricity. OSIMS consists of an electronic data-logging device that successfully solves four key problem areas of the current system at Kopanang. Firstly, OSIMS reduces the loss of maintenance data. Secondly, the OSIMS system increases the Abstract probability that maintenance audits are conducted in the correct fashion. Thirdly, it reduces time spent on documentation and, fourthly, it leads to greater data integrity for the Computer Maintenance Management Information System at Kopanang. In both cases, all the software developments were carried out in a logical engineering fashion. Each software module was first defined and then planned. The required equipment was selected and acquired and all the technical knowledge was integrated. Program development was then conducted. All the needed peripheral program capability was also developed before the verification and validation was done. The modules were then integrated into the overall product.
- Engineering