By: Michael Nark, President & CEO
March 10, 2016
A 2015 report from the US Department of Energy entitled “Revolution…Now” highlights some of the technologies that have sprung up and proliferated our homes, business, and cities over the past couple of years, including utility and rooftop solar, wind turbines, LEDs, and EVs.
As with any product on the market, rising use leads to falling prices —simple supply and demand principles. This in term leads to increased affordability and the cycle continues. According to the DOE report, the above mentioned technologies are already making a big impact and, as prices come down, their influence only stands to grow.
We may not take the time to stop and think about it, but we’re living in a world only dreamed of mere decades ago. So the question becomes, what’s next?
The Next Step: Investing in “Tomorrow Technologies” Today
Increasingly, we’re turning our attention to technologies that may not be as visible as a solar array, but can have just as significant of an impact. Among these, as specified by the DOE, are smart building technologies, which are transforming not only the way buildings use energy, but the way these once-silent structures interact with the world around them.
In today’s interconnected world, smart building technologies are going to play a crucial role in paving the way toward fully integrated, energy-wise smart cities. Buildings will need to not only communicate with their facility managers regarding energy usage, but with their occupants, utilities and even the buildings around them.
Commercial structures utilizing our platform, for example, are already within the realm of “tomorrow technologies.” Customers are reaping the benefits of machine learning and predictive analytics to not only monitor energy usage, but also to make changes in real-time to optimize it —thus never missing an opportunity for savings. What’s more, the system takes into consideration occupant comfort, ensuring that temperatures stay within ideal parameters. Our platform will also never become outdated. Its cloud-based nature allows it to be constantly updated and our team is always looking for ways to improve our capabilities to meet future challenges.
The Business Case for Smart Buildings
The DOE report also mentions another area right in our wheelhouse —HVAC. Now more than ever before, commercial building owners are starting to recognize the benefits of HVAC technology. As the DOE report explains, these controls makes sense for a business’s bottom line “with an average savings of 55 percent per [heating and cooling] unit, resulting in a one-to-three year return on investment.”
In addition to building owners, utilities are starting the see the value of being able to communicate directly with the buildings they manage. This is particularly beneficial when looking at demand response (DR). Software like BuildingIQ’s, with built-in demand response capabilities, is able to take in signals from a utility related to a DR event and automatically adjust building controls at the right times. As a result, utilities are able to better manage peak power across their building portfolios and avoid the need for extra generation. All the while, building owners are enjoying the cost savings that come with daily energy reductions.
As this symbiotic relationship becomes clearer, we’re sure to see more utilities turning to this technology. BuildingIQ, for instance, has worked with multiple utilities, most recently Xcel Energy, on pilot programs to demonstrate the value of our Predictive Energy Optimization™ platform.
Overcoming Roadblocks to Adoption
There are numerous benefits to implementing a smart building solution that expand beyond just the building to impact the owner, its tenants and even utility provider. However, the technology still faces challenges to reaching widespread adoption.
Companies like ours are addressing these hurdles by offering proven, third-party verified results from real-world installations. In addition, we work to make installation easy and cost effective. Cloud-based solutions mean no timely and inconvenient infrastructure changes and no disruptions to occupants. Furthermore, we eliminate the challenge of steep upfront costs by offering our solution on a subscription basis.
Without a doubt, smart building technologies have a vital role to play in our world’s future. In fact, you may have already come in contact with our platform —working away behind the scenes of an office building, a school or a hospital to make this world a cleaner, greener place.
For more information on BuildingIQ’s software platform, contact a member of our sales team at email@example.com.