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A High Level Interface is not as complex as it sounds

HLI sounds sophisticated, difficult, and “nerdy”, the HLI has that “little black box” feel about making it seem like only scientists and professors know what it does.Robot man with a graphic chart with red incline trend Well, It’s nothing like that, it’s actually quite straight forward, generally not expensive, and comes with benefits which are actually useful to both the building owner, the facility manager and the building manager.

How Does a HLI Benefit the Building

The High Level Interface, when used effectively, programmed, and implemented into the Building Management System has several opportunities:

  • Lower cost for installation (one cable and commissioning, instead of 50 cables to achieve a similar result)
  • A plethora of useful parameters which are integers (not pulse or 4- 20 milliamps or 0-10 volts)
  • Easy to import parameters into most Building Management Systems
  • the Cost versus Benefits is straight forward if you are going to use the information
  • Most Manufacturers offer some sort of HLI card for their equipment
  • The Return on Investment for the building owner is useful and accurate information
  • ROI is also in sustainability opportunities will show themselves when we start to look at the data

Simplicity

The Simplicity of most HLI’s is in the installation, the commissioning and the programming.
The installation of the HLI:commercial building network switch and router
Typically, the HLI circuit board will be supplied by the OEM, and just a “plug and Play” type scenario, we usually ask the OEM to install and commission the HLI with their equipment, this ensure the integrity of the product and warranty obligations are secured.
Usually the HLI requires one cable (two or three core or Ethernet).
The Commissioning of the HLI:
Most Building Management Systems will see the HLI device like another controller on the network, hence the commissioning is the process required to add another controller to the BMS network, be that Lon works, Bacnet, Modbus, and so forth.
The Programming of the HLI
The BMS will see the HLI and the “points” with the HLI are then “mapped” into the system, into the trend logs and, into the graphics.

Original Equipment manufacturers (O.E.Ms) have caught on and most will offer some sort of HLI card which can be installed in their equipment and deliver data back to the BMS for trend logging and analysis for the information management.

What is involved?

There is usually a lot of parameters, as much as a few hundred in energy meters;

energy parrameter trend log

Energy Management

we recommend you select a few, say around 20%, and ensure they are actually beneficial for the stakeholders involved. Putting up a heap of parameters on a graphic for visual effect is a waste of time and money, make it functional and deliberate which will give tangible benefits to users of the system.

Building Information Modelling

High Level Interface between plant equipment and the Building Management System can improve the data gathering capacity for Building Information Modelling (or Management depending upon on which consultant you talk to) quite significantly. A single item of equipment, such as a chiller, can have a hundred or more parameters which are useful for analysis and monitoring by the BMS.

The HLI and BIM are a topic we will expand upon via another page, the reason, is that there are control opportunities, which can save the Building owner funds in energy consumption, maintenance, asset management, and other analytical parameters. The BMS can be programmed to deliver proactive control to improve outcomes, which, in turn, can have huge benefits for tenants and landlords alike.

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