Building performance is must as energy costs continue to increase. In fact, the American Council of Energy Efficient Economy predicts that $250 million dollars will be spent over the next decade on commercial and industrial building energy upgrades. Newcomer Seldera’s Building Dynamics wireless sensor system could be the answer for building owners struggling with performance woes.
The Company offers a light weight, low cost, wireless sensor system to to make existing buildings smarter.
Yes. You heard those buzz words correctly: cheaper, smarter, and wireless. With the President’s recent announcement of the commitment of $4 billion dollars in incentives to upgrade building, isn’t it time you consider your building performance?
According to Andreas Savvides, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Yale University and lead scientist with the Company, the beauty of the system is as follows:
- Can easy install as a supplement to aged building monitoring equipment. No need to upgrade an old system.
- Compliments and enhances existing building automation systems.
- Costs a third of a conventional building automation system. He anticipates the cost of equipment to be less than $10,000 for a 65,000 to 80,000 square foot building.
- Anticipates a 20% reduction in yearly electricity costs. A 65,000 square foot building saved the building owner $30,000 in the first year. Their original yearly electricity cost was $150,000 prior to the installation of the system.
- No upfront cost to the building owner. The Company takes 50 percent of the savings for the first two years. The cost of the system is paid back from the 50% share arrangement.
- Wireless battery operated for easy placement and installation.
- Decreases the cost of replacing building equipment due to wasteful use of equipment.
- Real time information to “fine-tune heating and cooling operations, adjust lighting conditions, shut off unused equipment and ensure that all systems are performing within their energy specification.” [Source.]
- Can automatically turn off equipment such as copiers at designated times.
- Using less sensors than other sensor systems.
What Makes This Sensing System Different?
When I questioned Savvides about what makes this system different from other wireless monitoring systems he explained that the system uses intelligence. The system matches the behavior of the occupants to the behavior of the building. Thus, the sensory system reduces wasteful consumption. He states,
“[t]he core technology behind Building Dynamics combines load analysis with behavior analytics to exploit the dynamics of building usage and drive deeper savings.”
He further explained his system goes after the low hanging fruit. In prior buildings where his system was installed, they found fans or motors that were running for no reason. In addition, they found that some building’s heating and cooling was running at the same time.
I also found intriguing that the Company monitors in fine detail how electricity is consumed per subsystem. As the system collect data, the system notified the building manager in real time of equipment redundancy or unusual behavior of a system. Savvides describes in his interview the system as “more straight forward and light weight process for building owners.” I call this system your mother. She always knows when something just isn’t right.
What about if a building already has an elaborate system in place? Savvides indicated that their system can control the other complicated system and streamline the process to make it easier for building owners to understand and manage their consumption. Easy is good which means it will be used.
Cost of the System
The Company’s most common model is creating a win-win partnership. The building owner does not have any upfront costs and enjoys immediate savings. Seldera gets paid by sharing the savings. As time goes by the building owners receives more of the savings.
The sensing system is still in the pilot phase. However, the Company found that buildings with continuously use such as hotels, nursing home, and hospitals are most interested in the accountability of their systems and equipment. They tend to realize the most savings due to the nature of their continued occupancy. In addition, these buildings tend to have more equipment such as motors, copiers, freezers, and large heating and cooling systems.
My prediction? Seldera will take the building automation system market by storm once it out of pilot phase. Given its low costs, easy installation, ease of use, and lightweight application what building owner wouldn’t jump at the chance to reduce their electrical consumption. Who wants to be first?
Photo by Zeenat Mansoor.