We have many opportunities to capture energy savings in our industrial, commercial, and residential buildings. Some are as basic as installing programmable thermostats or automated lighting systems to improve the way we operate the HVAC and lighting systems. Other options include actual modifications to the building itself or installing new or upgraded equipment. For example, we could install new windows; add insulation; upgrade HVAC systems; and/or install new, more efficient lighting. The former would come under operating budgets (OpEx); the latter under capital budgets (CapEx). The direction is to create smart buildings.
Smart Buildings Start with Smart Design
While the building design will have the greatest impact on building energy consumption, the HVAC systems and lighting are the largest energy consumers in office and residential buildings (but obviously not in industrial facilities that consume energy for industrial processes). Buildings, and, to a lesser extent, HVAC systems, last a long time. When upgrading HVAC systems, modifying building spaces, or usage patterns change, it’s important to revisit the control strategies. New smart, digital technologies for building monitoring and control can help improve occupant com-fort and provide information to help the building operate as efficiently as the physical building and equipment allow.
In this context, “smart” implies a proliferation of embedded systems, gateway communications, data collection, control systems, and data management; plus, significant stakeholder interaction with building equipment and the building energy networks. With improved monitoring and control, you can teach an old building new tricks.
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Keywords: Building Energy, Smart Cities, Smart Buildings, Smart Meters, Microgrid, Smart Grid, Distributed Energy Generation, Solar, Wind, HVAC, Lighting, ARC Advisory Group.