‘Sensor Suitcase’ to Reduce Energy Use in Small Commercial Buildings

Screenshot 2017-09-18 16.05.00

Sustainability Problem: Energy Efficiency 

It is often difficult to identify and implement energy efficiency practice for small commercial buildings due to the lack of technical expertise and financial capitals. Although it is a fairly segmented market, small commercial building accounts for about 44 percent of commercial building energy consumption. It represents a large opportunity in improving energy efficiency and cost savings.

Sustainable Technology: Retro-Commissioning “Sensor Suitcase”

The “Sensor Suitcase” is a portable case that contains easy-to-use sensors and other equipment that make it possible for anyone to identify energy-saving opportunities in small commercial buildings. It is developed by two U.S. Department of Energy labs, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. It provides the hard-to-reach small commercial buildings sector with a streamlined technology solution with very little cost and time:

  • “It’s kind of like the ‘for dummies’ version of how to identify improvements in your building. Instead of hiring a professional engineer to conduct a full energy evaluation, you could get just about anyone to do it.” said Jessica Granderson, deputy director of Berkeley Lab’s Building Technology and Urban Systems Division.
  • It can do much of the same work as a traditional retro-commissioning assessment in four to six weeks, compared to six months or longer, and at one-third the cost.
  • It is expected to provide 10 percent saving on the building’s energy bills. If used by every small commercial building nationwide, U.S. energy costs would be reduced by $5.1 billion every year.
  • It has successfully completed the journey from lab to market and is licensed by GreenPath Energy Solutions, a Florida-based energy-efficiency solutions company.

Organizational Stakeholders that Will Use the Technology

  • Owners and facility managers of small commercial buildings
  • ESCO energy services companies
  • Utilities that lend the technology to commercial building customers or otherwise encourage its use

First 3 Steps in Deploying the Technology

  1. Market the technology to federal, state and local governments through GSA Schedule contract, as many small businesses lease or occupy local government-owned buildings.
  2. Select couple cities with large concentration of small commercial buildings to conduct pilot testings.
  3. Partner with local utilities to broaden customer outreach.

Sources:

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/sensor-suitcase-helps-trim-energy-use-in-commercial-buildings

https://newscenter.lbl.gov/2017/06/01/expert-suitcase-cuts-power-bills-10-small-commercial-buildings/

https://energy.gov/eere/buildings/retro-commissioning-sensor-suitcase-commercialization-pilot-project

Comments

New water purification system could help slake the world’s thirst – “Interesting technology. Although it is not likely to replace current large scale industrial filtration techniques, which require massive inputs of energy and upfront financial capital, it could offer a more cost-effective solution for individuals to purify water for their own needs.”

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