Empowering the Next Generation Building Operators with Technology to Increase Energy Efficiency
High-density energy users such as grocery chains, medical labs, data centers and industrial buildings don't often enjoy a full picture of how energy is being consumed in the buildings they own and operate. For instance, a faulty freezer could be running at full blast when it doesn't need to, wasting valuable electricity, but doing so in a way that doesn't set off any warning signs for people who work there.
OutSmart Power Systems is addressing this problem by installing sensors directly onto circuit boards. These EnergyMate sensors precisely measure electricity use over time and integrate with cloud-based software to help building operators identify and address potential problems. Importantly, OutSmart's system allows operators to test and refine energy efficiency improvements over time. The system can also email and text building operators when energy use spikes, helping them diagnose and address problems in real time. Overall, the company estimates that its system can help reduce electricity costs by 10 to 20 percent.
PROJECT INNOVATION + ADVANTAGES
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has some of the world's most sophisticated energy efficiency research expertise and testing facilities. OutSmart will work with Berkeley Lab staff to conduct an independent, longitudinal evaluation of their system. They will also test how accurate OutSmart's system is at predicting savings from changes at the whole-building level and the submetered isolation level against benchmarks from open systems. By conducting these tests, OutSmart will be able to continue refining its system and can more effectively communicate the value of energy efficiency improvements to executive decision-makers.
Improving energy efficiency allows economies to grow while consuming the same or lower levels of energy. The International Energy Agency estimates that over the last 25 years, efficiency gains have saved $5.7 trillion in energy costs. At the building operator level, energy efficiency improvements can pay for themselves in short-order, reducing costs and boosting revenue.
Avoiding electricity use means reducing emissions from fossil fuel power plants, including toxic pollution as well as heat-trapping emissions that cause climate change. Energy efficiency gains also reduce the need to bring on more power during times of peak demand, when power grid operators often have to rely on the oldest — and most polluting — power plants.
Energy efficiency technologies make the U.S. grid more resilient by reducing peak demand and giving grid operators more flexibility. Commercial and industrial energy efficiency technologies have also proven useful for reducing energy use at military bases and in the field.
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