An Interview-with Karen Molony-Development Manager at Cylon Controls and Partner of HIT2GAP

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This issue's interview is with Karen Molony, Development Manager of Cylon Controls. 

Cylon is a recognized international leader in the development of smart energy management systems for buildings, and is one of the largest independent manufacturers of building system controls in Europe and have a strong global presence in the building automation space.

Currently, Karen is the lead architect on Aspect, Cylon’s award-winning scalable building energy management and control solution. Aspect allows users seamless access to their building data through standard protocols (BACnet, Modbus, Ethernet) and common IT technologies such as computers and smart devices.  In this role, she works with a transatlantic team of software engineers to design high-quality and reliable products. Karen is very proud to be part of Cylon Controls team and more specifically the work that the Aspect development team has accomplished.

Karen’s is Cylon’s lead architect on the HIT2GAP project and she has worked as a software engineer on other Cylon technologies. 

Karen was interviewed by Lori McElroy of BRE.

Q1 Karen, can you describe the opportunities addressed by an Energy Management System?

Smart energy is an area of increasing interest across both public and private sectors. In particular, there is attention on energy-smart buildings. In a world where buildings account for about 40% of total energy consumption and contribute a corresponding amount to overall carbon emissions, organizations are increasingly investing in solutions to reduce energy consumption from their buildings. Energy management systems create greener buildings by giving the information and automation needed to easily diminish use and to save money. Smart buildings offer greater efficiency, more efficient audits, cleaner energy, tenant retention, increased safety, a comfort factor, and are self-monitoring.

It’s an exciting time in the building automation industry as we look forward to seeing more automation implemented to make our lives easier and make facilities more efficient.

Q2 How or why did you (personally) become involved in HIT2GAP?

HIT2GAP is a four-year project which began in September 2015 and will run to September 2019. Its aim is to reduce the gap between the theoretical energy performance of buildings and the actual consumption in use, by focusing on what happens and on what could be done, while a building is in operation. It would make sense that Cylon is involved in this project.

Cylon Controls was created in Ireland by our founder, Sean Giblin. He designed a smart energy project for his thesis at the University City Dublin. Since then, Cylon Controls has maintained close relationships with all Universities in Ireland. In a small country like Ireland, we are fortunate to belong to an open and communicative engineering and research environment, where companies and Universities often work together. My personal career path began in research and I am attracted to multi-faceted problems. Working on the HIT2GAP project seemed a perfect fit.  

Cylon’s participation in the HIT2GAP project affords us the design freedom for innovation of building control tools that tackle the energy performance gap. This opportunity allows us to pioneer new technologies that may have a higher risk than reward and, in the process, supports our business model to provide the latest technologies to our customers with little capital investment for them. It also improves our distributed architecture model to give us a competitive edge in the international market. I take great pleasure contributing to an effort which both rewards our existing loyal customer base and creates something sustainable and competitive in our market.

Q3 More specifically, what do you hope for in terms of a positive outcome for Cylon's business arising from involvement HIT2GAP?

The HIT2GAP project is yielding positive outcomes. The greatest benefit is the potential outcome of being a building energy management systems service provider for companies that want to access HIT2GAP technology. Cylon Controls will be an expert service provider in the field. Currently, we offer Cylon legacy customers access to our latest Aspect technology with a minimal investment. We have also built positive relationships with project partner engineer companies, that has allowed us the insight of varying design/engineering perspectives.

Q4 The project is very ambitious in trying to reduce the energy gap between predicted and actual energy use in buildings; what do you see as key to the delivery of a useful outcome that can be widely adopted by building owners and managers?

Building materials, layout, and even equipment may be fixed yet their conditions are still influenced by environmental, occupational, and functional behaviors. If building owners and managers can appreciate that the comfort and efficiency of their building are not fixed, then they have an opportunity to bridge-the-gap between predicted and actual energy use in a realistic way. HIT2GAP’s key deliverable is to provide a suite of methodologies to identify these gaps and to make the modules and results easily accessible to users. The data for their building should flow seamlessly into the system, and each module result should be clear and meaningful. The individual deliverables for each module are less relevant if the system does not provide this intuitive interface for building owners and managers overall.

Q5 What do you think will be the main benefits from the project to Cylon Controls and building users and wider society?

The buildings we live in are getting better, smarter and more connected.  Cylon Control’s engineers combine their extensive expertise in the design and manufacturing of building control systems. They understand what drives energy consumption. With that in mind, the main benefit to our System Integrators who engineer the building energy management systems is ease of development. The main benefit to the building owner is an energy and cost-efficient building that is comfortable to occupants.  The main benefit to building occupants where Cylon Controls technology is implemented is their comfort. As in all of our work at Cylon, our goal is to contribute to creating a greener world through optimizing the energy efficiency of buildings.

Karen Molony is a first-class honours graduate with a BA. (Mod) in Computer Science from Trinity College, Dublin.  She also holds first-class honours M.Sc. in Bioinformatics from Dublin City University, and research M.Sc. in Computer Science from National University of Ireland, Maynooth.  Her background is in Computer Science, software architecture and programming.

Cylon Controls is a worldwide influencer in smart energy management and building controls.  We offer an open communications architecture, generation to generation compatibility, direct digital control. distributed intelligence, SaaS energy monitoring tolls and object-oriented programming.  Our products, tools, protocols, and solutions are installed globally in large occupancy buildings, hotels, museums, universities, airports, and in smaller scale projects.