Smart Building Energy Management Systems Yield Cost Savings
If that’s the case, a building operator can communicate with a building and put the building back to sleep if nobody shows up to work there, he said. That’s common in schools.
“So if there’s a snow day, and the building is normally 70 degrees at 7 in the morning getting ready for homeroom or classes to start, they can go into the building management system, flip it back into unoccupied, and save a fair amount of energy for the day that the students aren’t there,” Hammer said.
Smart Buildings Get Smarter: Grid Interaction
IoT is the crux of this kind of scenario because the data can help decision making, Guernsey said. But one of the major challenges facing smart buildings these days is having the owners and operators understand what the options are, how they would use them and why they would benefit from them. It comes down to more intelligent operation of existing energy systems.
That can be rooftop solar and battery energy storage systems, the HVAC system and the management of thermostats. It can also be the close management of zone-by-zone energy consumption or floor-by-floor energy consumption, he said.
“And it can even be much more advanced in terms of how the building interacts with the electric grid,” Guernsey said.
Buildings of the future will be more dynamically operated to interact with the electric grid. Historically they’ve always been just users and that’s it, he said.
“But with much more advanced energy management systems, which IoT can help provide, we expect to see much more dynamic integration with the grid,” Guernsey said. This interaction provides” energy savings, but also new revenue possibilities for building owners.”
The electric grid is a system with essentially zero storage, so every electron is produced exactly when it’s needed. But that works only when the capability exists to do so on a large scale, for instance, with big power plants that operate and adjust output very quickly, Guernsey said.
“But oftentimes, you can more efficiently do that by managing the load in a building to help adjust for those demands,” he said. “Building owners and building operators can enroll in various utility programs or electric grid operator programs that will pay the building owners for turning off equipment. So, if building owners reduce their energy consumption at certain times when the grid needs it, they can get paid.”
Building owners, for example, can increase revenue by operating buildings to coordinate with the electricity grid, which vary depending on such conditions as utility rate structures, building opportunities and solar resources, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), an organization dedicated to sustainability, particularly energy efficiency.
According to RMI, typical financial benefits for grid-interactive building owners include the following:
- Reductions in energy charges given reduction in energy use..
- Reductions in demand charges;these charges are based on the highest rate of electrical use during a billing period, owners of grid-interactive buildings that avoid these peaks save money on their utility bills.
- In certain locations where utilities support net metering, building owners can sell surplus energy back into the grid.