Measuring Energy Performance: Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology and Techniques

November 22, 2021 | By: Owen Kavanagh

Energy performance and measurement are integral in the maintenance and operations of a building. ENERGY STAR® is not the only tracking tool around, and a new method is making waves in the Northeastern and Western markets of the United States. The measurement of energy performance is an evolving field, here are a few emerging techniques to keep an eye on.

Tech Tomorrow

Live Energy Data Tracking is an emerging system that employs sensors and regular updates to better serve buildings. Through a live tracking dashboard, building operators can view energy use in 5- or 15-minute increments, allowing them to view changes in real time as they roll out.

This system has been adopted in the Northeast and Western portions of America where energy costs are higher. New York’s Consolidated Edison (ConEd) utilities company has implemented this system to great success. In New York City, participating buildings receive a notification to lower their energy consumptions during peak usage, such as lowering consumption from 2500 kilowatts to 2200 kW.

This can help in lowering the strain placed on energy grids and can decrease energy costs by $50,000 – $100,000 through the year. Tenants have not responded negatively to the decline in power and some may not have even noticed these energy saving solutions.

Not only can Live Energy Data Tracking save money, it can also find inconsistencies and problems. If a system fails, live energy data tracking may show that failure, and it can be fixed much faster than if the problem were found naturally. An inconsistency in an electrical system can cascade into further problems, and live tracking can catch issues in their infancy.

This system has not seen widespread adoption in the South due to lower energy costs and decreased savings, though Texas has reportedly begun testing the system in their market. As renewables become more prevalent, a smarter grid that can adapt to demand will be integral in keeping power supply in line. Rolling brown outs are a problem faced by overextended energy grids, but live energy tracking along with Artificial Intelligence may help.

Artificial Intelligence

You may have heard about Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). That it is “changing the game” or that it is “the next great breakthrough,” but combining A.I. with better energy tracking software may be an enormous boon to the CRE industry. A.I. can be programed to use data from live energy tracking to assist building operators like never before.

A.I. could be used with live energy tracking to troubleshoot a building’s systems on the fly. It could schedule HVAC changes based on historical data to run heating or cooling programs while giving data to building operators to adjust should the weather not line up. These systems could also increase the specificity of HVAC use in buildings to an incredible degree.

“Taking it a step further, controls programming and A.I. could use occupancy sensor data.” theorized Scott Baker, owner of Baker Engineering. “This could reduce HVAC requirements in unoccupied rooms, zones, and floors, allowing for reduced energy consumption and emissions while meeting occupant needs.”

With a few sensors, A.I. and building operators could know where tenants and visitors are within the building and adjust air control room by room to further save on energy costs. Many tasks too tedious or time consuming for humans could be automated into an Artificial Intelligence to aid building operators and managers in savings, comfort, and troubleshooting.

The future of energy performance measurement is bright, and the options and opportunities that are emerging in the industry could make CRE more comfortable and energy efficient as energy costs increase and grids experience more demand.


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