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3 Key Principles

3.1 Present Capabilities

GNU remotecontrol is designed to substantially reduce the time and effort necessary to remotely manage multiple thermostat devices, while significantly increasing your productivity through its many useful and time saving features. The User Interface is no more difficult than using any other web application involving simple check boxes and pull-down menus. GNU remotecontrol, combined with the Remote Monitoring Server, work together as a complete HVAC Energy Management system. GNU remotecontrol more than pays for itself by saving time and effort in manual labor for managing all resources individually.....and then some.

3.2 HVAC Thermostat

It is necessary to understand the design and usage intent of the HVAC thermostat to fully grasp the design and usage intent of GNU remotecontrol.

The HVAC thermostat device is often a combination of either a relay or a semiconductor device to have circuits either opened or closed, to switch the device either off or on. Examples of this functionality include heating, cooling, or a fan. The addition of a scheduling option to turn any of these items off or on at a certain time does make it more practical of a device in terms of managing day-to-day operation of any HVAC system. Adding in the ability to track run time duration for heating, cooling, or a fan help energy efficiency measurements. The final addition of remote access, through the traditional IP enabled data network, takes the HVAC thermostat to an interconnected device capable of multiple read and write operating functions. The cable from the thermostat to the HVAC equipment is solid core 18-AWG, either 4 or 8 separately jacketed wires, depending on system capability, all contained within a protective jacket.

3.3 Thinking by Talking

GNU remotecontrol is here to help you make your Energy Management strategy easier and more productive. GNU remotecontrol is here to help simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Contact the mailing list if you are stuck or cannot figure out the best option for your GNU remotecontrol framework. The chances are the answer you need is something we have already worked through. We would be happy to help you by discussing your situation with you.

3.4 Choosing Decision Makers

You will most likely need to work with others who have a different skill set than you do to develop and implement an effective Energy Management strategy. It is necessary to carefully plan for your selection of the decision makers you choose to work with on your team. Choosing decision makers capable to run your HVAC and IT systems is paramount to the success of your system performance.

3.4.1 HVAC

Being a licensed Professional Engineer does not make the person a Certified Energy Manager (CEM). They are separate qualifications, each with their own requirements. The titles associated with Energy Engineering are broad. Go with a Certified Energy Manager to help you determine if you qualify for any tax benefit for commercial building being rated as energy efficient. Even if you don’t qualify for a tax benefit, it is highly likely you will find a beneficial set of methods to increase your Energy Management strategies which makes paying the Certified Energy Manager well worth the expense.

3.4.2 Information Technology

Serving in an IT role does not necessarily make one qualified do an end-to-end design of an IT system. Relevant certifications help to know if one is capable to do what they say they can do. Experience is probably the strongest credential one can have for being capable to run an IT system. Simply put, operation does not equal design. They are separate qualifications, each with their own requirements.

3.4.3 Conclusion

Look to your Cost Benefit Analysis for decision making on how you need to design and operate your Energy Management strategy.

3.5 Security Considerations

The following is a list of links to information which will greatly help you plan for the network implementation and configuration of your Energy Management strategy.

3.5.1 Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition

SCADA speaks to the industrial side of HVAC automation.

3.5.2 Industrial Control System

ICS speaks to industrial production facilities.

3.5.3 System Administration-Audit-Network Security

SANS specializes in Internet Security training.

3.6 Frequently Asked Questions

3.6.1 Why do we call it GNU remotecontrol?

This code was originally called JUT.....“Just Use This” to represent the intention of this software automation to take the complicated and make it very, very simple, from a user perspective. The name changed to GNU remotecontrol, when code was released under the GNU license.

3.6.2 Why do I need GNU remotecontrol?

If you have thermostat devices, you know it takes time and effort to keep your energy usage down and control your climate for your comfort. This time and effort is increased with each remote device or HVAC unit you want to administrate. GNU remotecontrol helps you spend less time and effort administrating your thermostat devices, provides automated record keeping of what changed, who changed it, and when it was changed. GNU remotecontrol deployment helps keep your energy usage as low as possible.

3.6.3 How do I know who changed what?

Review the access logs you have enabled for your Web Server, your Operating System, and all of the other technologies which achieve user validation of a web application. Technologies time tested, tried and true, which you can count on. No need to reinvent the wheel, use what works well when possible.

3.6.4 What will GNU remotecontrol do for me?

Free up your time and effort for starters. Also, enable you to know who did what to your thermostat devices when GNU remotecontrol was used to change your thermostat devices. Finally, your GNU remotecontrol application can help you minimize your energy costs.

3.6.5 Can I figure my energy usage for my HVAC units?

The IP enabled thermostat will greatly help with this measurement.

3.6.6 How do I use GNU remotecontrol?

Pretty easy, actually. Select the thermostat devices you want to change the settings of.....make the change.....and that’s it. You can easily see the time and effort you save changing the air conditioning from 75°F to 73°F for several thermostat devices, all at once! Then, imagine changing your setback schedule somehow on top of that, for say thirty different thermostat devices, all at once!

3.6.7 Can I use GNU remotecontrol and Remote Monitoring Server together?

Oh, yes. Think of GNU remotecontrol as writing to your thermostat devices while a Remote Monitoring Server reading information about your thermostat devices. The two go hand in hand. They are intended to work together.

3.6.8 What about the weather, can I tie weather related data into GNU remotecontrol and Remote Monitoring Server?

Yes. Use your Remote Monitoring Server to collect information about the weather from International Weather Services for the location of your thermostat device. This approach will tell you a great deal about the quality of your Energy Management strategy.

3.6.9 Mobile access for GNU remotecontrol?

Yes, you can access GNU remotecontrol using your cell phone Internet browser.

3.6.10 Do I need to install anything to my computer?

No. GNU remotecontrol is a WC3 compliant web application. More times than not, your network is ready to go as-is.

3.6.11 How many different users will be able to use GNU remotecontrol?

You can set up different user accounts, but the nature of a thermostat device means the people touching it be extremely clear with each other as to how they want to set the thermostat device.

3.6.12 GNU remotecontrol safe to use with my network?

We recommend you use a High Grade (AES-256 bit) encryption to secure the connection from your computer to your GNU remotecontrol server and verify the identity of your server with your own signed SSL Certificate. The connection from your computer to your thermostat device is not changed from your normal connection to your Proliphix thermostat device.

3.6.13 Is GNU remotecontrol compatible with BACnet?

Yes. See GNU remotecontrol and BACnet.

3.6.14 Can I use GNU remotecontrol to help Test and Balance my HVAC system?

Yes. Remote Monitoring Server and GNU remotecontrol work together to help you do just this. Recorded data of your HVAC system’s usage and outdoor weather information is priceless for testing and balancing. The review of recorded data offers considerable cost savings, in both time and effort, when optimizing your system setup. Additionally, you can reduce the number of people necessary to do the testing and balancing down to one person.

3.7 Future Capabilities

The next logical step is to expand GNU remotecontrol and become certified with industrial HVAC, lighting control, access control, and fire detection technologies. The BACnet communication protocol is an excellent candidate for connection to the GNU remotecontrol framework. See GNU remotecontrol and BACnet. The MODBUS communication protocol may also be implemented at a future date, but demand for this capability enhancement is not clearly understood.

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