Stakeholders, from commercial building owners to city planners who want to plan for the future, reduce emissions, and more efficiently manage energy consumption, can now draw on new capabilities to do so.
New technologies developed by CSIRO enable modeling of energy consumption from individual buildings up to entire cities, which will change the way people manage buildings and enable city planners to create smarter cities here in the United States.
CSIRO is Australia’s preeminent research organization that employs more than 5000 scientists who are delivering solutions for some of the world’s most challenging problems. The organization opened its first U.S. office in September to better serve U.S. partners interested in commercializing technology developed by or in collaboration with CSIRO.
CSIRO has developed a range of tools that can model the many factors that influence the energy use of a city region, map actual energy use in that region and analyze the impact of interventions on energy use.
Some of these technologies focus on monitoring current annual electricity usage in residential and commercial buildings —and modeling future usage patterns. This is critical because buildings account for 40% of the world’s total energy use— making buildings an obvious target for energy reduction strategies that lower emissions and therefore buildings’ impact on global warming.
An example of how CSIRO works with commercial companies is San Mateo-based BuildingIQ. The company acquired technology developed by CSIRO that models and predicts building energy use and uses tenant occupancy and comfort, weather forecasts, and other data to optimize energy consumption. BuildingIQ has enhanced and productized the technology to create PEO —the market leading predictive energy optimization, closed-loop control service—which modifies the HVAC system in a building before weather changes occur that would impact comfort or drive excessive energy use. BuildingIQ manages the energy consumption and tenant comfort of nearly 1000 buildings totaling some 77 million square feet.
Models developed by CSIRO can give property owners, tenants, utilities, and policymakers new insights into how changes in electric devices such as lights, HVAC, and appliances, and occupant behavior affect energy use in buildings. That could help property owners better understand where to invest (more energy efficient appliances, more efficient air conditioning, etc.) to lower the total cost of ownership of those buildings and reduce emissions.
Other technologies give clearer insight into the effects of adding intermittent renewable power sources such as solar and wind, as well as hybrid and electric car batteries to the grid. And the capabilities developed at CSIRO can give stakeholders new insight into the effectiveness of incentive programs on energy consumption.
For example, using these new technologies, U.S. cities, states or even the federal government would be able to model the impact of programs such as Energy Star or LEED on a building or region’s energy use —so policymakers would know if those are actually affecting overall consumption.
CSIRO has tested some of its technology with the City of Melbourne to produce energy maps that depict residential and commercial energy use block-by-block across the city. These maps account for the varying types of building stock and can pinpoint the use of space heating and cooling, appliance usage, lighting and more, giving a finite view of all of the factors contributing to energy consumption. CSIRO used the map data to project energy consumption patterns through 2026 for the city.
With the new capabilities available, CSIRO is exploring partnerships with all kinds of companies and organizations here in the U.S. and beyond that can leverage these technologies to save money, reduce consumption and plan for the future.
Susan Lucas-Conwell is Executive Vice President of CSIRO U.S. She is a global business executive recognized for her successful track record of driving innovation and accelerating revenue growth.