‘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.






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.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s