Advanced IoT controls for commercial real estate

1) Sustainability Problem:

All businesses have to aggressively control costs but a huge business such as Chase Bank  with multiple retail and corporate locations (and their accompanying large real estate footprints) spend millions of dollars on facility fees such as utilities. Some locations have advanced lighting and intelligent building mgt systems, but this is inconsistent across the fleet of properties.
Last year Current by GE began a partnership with Chase to install LED lighting in 5000  branches across 25 million square feet.”Current estimates that, once completed, the project could reduce the branches’ lighting-related energy use by more than 50 percent – equal to taking nearly 27,000 cars off the road.”

This July, in Phase 2, Current incorporated data and technology like Smart Irrigation technology from Weathermatic and other partners into an IoT platform called Predix. The new sensors and controls will allow for reductions in water usage from irrigation systems by 20 percent. In addition, electric and gas consumption will be reduced by 15 percent.

The overall system provides visibility into HVAC and energy usage, giving facilities managers tools to measure performance against expectations and adjust quickly.
Category: Energy & Buildings

2) Technology Summary:

Article: JPMorgan partners with GE’s Current to reach lofty environmental goals
Website: CNBC
Tags: #energy efficiency #IoT

3) Organizational stakeholders

  1. Client: Chase Bank
  2. System Aggregator: Current by GE
  3. Partner: Weathermatic
  4. Municipality (clearing municipal ordinances)

4) Steps in deploying this technology

  1. Establish parameters/governance for technology buildout
  2. Ensure supply chain in place for very large order
  3. Retain local resources to install sensor technology in retail locations across whole service area
  4. Aggregate/Test/QA data streams coming from all discrete locations
  5. Establish measurement and evaluation protocols so learnings can be fed back into future facility operations decision-making

Related Resources:

Equipment providers: 

Uni: jz2805

SaltX HeatBoost for heating hot water

Sustainable Problem: Energy Efficiency

Hot water is used in residential applications for washing dishes, clothes, and humans. Typically, there is a natural gas or electric hot water heater that heats a 30-50 gallon tank of water, maintaining the temperature around 120F before being delivered to its final purpose.

Technology Solution: SaltX’s HeatBoost Gas Powered Heat Pump

SaltX is a company from Sweden whose founding product is a salt crystal used for thermal storage. They also make a gas-powered heat pump used to heat hot water. They claim to be able to save 500 Euros per year with each installation with a simple payback of 1.5 years. It is clear from the company’s website, this solution is made for residential hot water heating.

The problem:

The thing that first caught my attention is the claim for 50% increase in efficiency. It doesn’t say over what, though. Most hot water heaters, especially those being sold now, are already 90-95% efficient, not leaving much for improvement. The second issue I have is the claim of 500 Euros savings per year. That would mean a family would have to spend at least 60 Euros per month just heating water. I’m not too familiar with the utility usage of Europe, but in the US, typically families only spend $10-20 per month heating water.

My job is being an Energy Engineer and all the time, we have to sift through new technologies. These are simple questions that get brought up as part of our job and are addressed before supporting a product. We would need to verify the claims of savings and determine how the technology works. Without talking with the company, it seems like these are dubious claims.

Next Moves:

This company is working with the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and Rheem to break through the US market. It’s a good strategy. If they can get the recommendation of the utility company, getting trust in the public is easier. If they are going after the residential market, it will be much more difficult to market to all of the different people buying hot water heaters. A good solution is to market to Energy Services Companies, which have customers interested in energy efficient products. Some commercial applications, schools, universities, etc have higher hot water uses, but again, the efficiency of these systems is over 90% and I would wonder if SaltX makes a HeatBoost large enough to meet those demands, certainly not at 750 Euros.

Organizational Stakeholders:

Homeowners, Utility Companies, Building Owners, Energy Services Companies, Mechanical Contractors.


SaltX Website

Article on Business Wire


Article – “World’s first “negative emission” plant”
Great find! I’m so interested in the cost aspects of this and how it compares to energy efficient measures, renewable energy, and other carbon capturing technology. The article states their goal is $100 per metric ton, but can go as low as $30. That would be great and definitely worthwhile. Also, I wonder how a localized plant would be able to have an affect on a global issue…

Fault Detection & Diagnostics

Sustainability Issue

Energy Conservation. Around 30% of a building’s energy is from the HVAC equipment. 10-30% of this is wasted due to system inefficiences.


Fault Detection & Diagnostics (FDD) uses standard “rules” to determine when these pieces of equipment are operating at deficiencies and alerts stakeholders to correct. Building Automation Systems are already in place (in most locations) and monitor the system parameters required for these rules to take place. What’s needed is to trend the data and run through data analytics to determine where the deficiencies exist.


  • Building Owners – Required buy in to fund the FDD process
  • Building Automation Companies – Work hand-in-hand with Building Owners to ensure the equipment is operating efficiently.
  • Utility Companies – Partially fund energy service projects, including FDD.
  • Government – Ensure Utility Companies are funding energy service projects.


Setup pilot projects demonstrating energy savings potential for FDD. From these pilot projects, calculate an expected energy savings utility companies can use to base rebates off. With buy-in from utility companies, building owners will trust the process and purchase FDD solutions from their Building Automation Company.


NIST – “Fault Detection and Diagnostics for Commercial Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning Systems Project”

California Energy Commission – Advanced Automated HVAC Fault Detection and Diagnostics Commercialization Program.


#bmb2189 #energy #energyefficiency


Article: “Re-circulating Aquaculture Systems (RAS)”
Comment: So good! Great solution for farmers wanting to grow fish and not grow food. There’s also a solution, aquaponics, which uses the “wastewater” directly to grow crops without going through an intermediary step of being filtered and extracted. Anything to get the word out on sustainable methods of fishing!


Sustainable Problem: Energy Efficiency

By converting heat to focused beams of light, a new solar device could create cheap and continuous power.


  • A solar power device that could theoretically double the efficiency of conventional solar cells
  • The new design could lead to inexpensive solar power that keeps working after the sun sets
  • Availability:10 to 15 years
  • Standard silicon solar cells mainly capture the visual light from violet to red. That and other factors mean that they can never turn more than around 32 percent of the energy in sunlight into electricity. The MIT device is still a crude prototype, operating at just 6.8 percent efficiency—but with various enhancements it could be roughly twice as efficient as conventional photovoltaics



  • David Bierman, Marin Soljacic, and Evelyn Wang, MIT
  • Vladimir Shalaev, Purdue University
  • Andrej Lenert, University of Michigan
  • Ivan Celanovic, MIT


  • Develop technology fully and attract investors
  • Make technology most efficient
  • Implement into society at different levels


Comments to Fully Circular Furniture by ETG2132:

Circularity is embedded into the design of each and every Pentatonic piece — product components aid in the construction of each piece, eliminating the need for complicated assembly processes and chemical-laden glues and resins, while also minimizing unnecessary waste. What’s more, post-consumer materials are matched to products based on their unique properties and application possibilities.

UNI: AV2698

Vacuum Glazed Windows for Energy Efficiency



  1. Sustainability Problem: Heat loss through windows in buildings. Category: Energy

Buildings are one of the highest sources of energy consumption and GHG emissions. In NYC, buildings account for over 75% of the city’s emissions, making them the largest contributors to the city’s carbon footprint.

  1.  “Vacuum Glazing: Windows that are Energy Efficient AND Cost Effective”

  • Approximately 40% of heat loss from buildings occurs due to poorly insulated walls, floors and windows, making building envelope improvements an effective way to decrease energy bills and reduce a building’s carbon footprint.
  • Vacuum glazing is an innovative window technology that can greatly improve window insulation performance and reduce heat loss from windows.
  • Vacuum glazed windows are similar to regular double paned windows. The difference is that here air is removed from between the two panes of glass. This process reduces the conduction and convection abilities of the window, allowing less heat to leak out.
  • While they are still fairly expensive, the energy savings from installing vacuum glazed windows reduces the payback period to approximately 14 years.
  • The effectiveness of the technology may be reduced in regions with extreme temperature fluctuations.
  1. Organizational stakeholders for this technology include green building companies, utility companies, and local governments looking for ways to reduce energy consumption in their regions.
  2. The first three steps for deploying this technology:
  • Increase research funding to improve the technology and allow for use in extreme climate regions.
  • Increase competition to reduce cost and make the technology competitive with standard windows.
  • Offer local grants and/or loans to help businesses and homeowners finance new window installations.

Zero emissions Hydrogen-based liquid fuel

  1. Sustainability Problem: The energy mix is a significant problem that needs a quick resolution. The negative effects of greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of fossil fuel have been scorned for the past decade. Many experts agree that the complete shift to renewable energy needs to be completed soon.
  2. HySiLabs has developed a technology that maintains the advantages of a liquid fuel, without generating emissions. It consists of a hydrogen-based liquid fuel system that releases hydrogen on-demand and consumes it directly for a wide range of applications. Due to its stable liquid and non-explosive nature, the HySiLabs fuel is easily transported and stored at standard conditions while employing well-known liquid-handling logistics and already-existing infrastructure. H2 fuel is a better liquid fuel alternative by adding the following aspects:
    • Zero emissions: the only non-emissions-generating liquid hydrogen source that requires no energy input to produce hydrogen.
    • Safety: avoiding the need to store explosive gas by producing it on demand and as needed
    • Transportable: similar to the liquid transportation and storing logistic
    • Easy to use: liquids can be stored at room temperature and atmospheric pressure



HySiLabs | InnoEnergy – pioneering change in sustainable energy

HySiLabs, the fuel of the future that comes from the South | ENGIE Innovation

  1. Stakeholders:
    • Energy players
    • Financial Industry
    • Technology Industry
    • Utility companies
    • Consumers all over the world
  2. Next steps:
    • Introduce this innovative technology to the market by establishing partnerships and investing in outreach
    • Quickly and efficiently scale up the solution to a mass market
    • Expand and strengthen the management team

By Timothy Wiranata

UNI: tw2618

Passive houses – Isolated and Energy Saving

Sustainability problem: Energy

Excessive energy consumption is an issue that needs to be sorted within the next decades. In our technology-driven society we use increasingly more electronic apparatuses in our daily life, and in addition our climate is getting more unstable. These things are making our demand for power grow. However, we do not have an unlimited energy source, and most people do not live in homes that makes this energy consumption efficient. Most buildings are not sufficiently isolated against the heat and cold, making electricity demand shoot through the roof on the hottest and coldest days. Power demanding AC-s or heaters are being turned on.

  • The article attached, explains the technology of one solution to this: the “passive houses”. These are isolated houses that are claimed to reduce energy consumption with 90%.
  • Among other things, the houses take advantage of the sunshine that comes in through your window and heats up the house, making heaters superfluous. It also has a ventilation system that makes sure the house has sufficient circulation of fresh air, which will be beneficial for the health of the residents. In colder climates, this fresh air can also be heated up first utilizing ground heat. It can then be dispersed through the house heating it up with fresh air.
  • It has both energy- and cost-saving long-term benefits, and will not be a very costly technology to implement in new homes.


  • Material manufacturers
  • Utility companies
  • Home owners
  • Architect companies
  • Carpenters and contractors


  1. Educate contractors about the passive house standard.
  2. Get governmental policy makers to work to make this housing technology the new standard.
  3. Educate architects and building designers to know how to design the house to best take advantage of the passive house principle.


Main article about the technology: , “What is a Passive House?”,, Last modified: July 6th, 2017

Supporting articles:, “The Passive House, What Is It and Why Should You Care?”,, August 10th, 2016, “The Passive Houses: Sealed for Freshness”,, August 14th, 2013

Image source , “What is a Passive House?”,, Last modified: July 6th, 2017

UNI: ms5584


My comment on this blogpost:

“I think this is a great idea, and it is so easy to implement. Hopefully more skyscrapers will use this technology in the future. This will have the ability to somewhat limit the effect the fossil fueled cars and other machines have on the environment as a percentage of the CO2 will be absorbed by the skyscrapers.”

Using New Technology on Diesel Burn to Improve Air Quality


Area of sustainability category: Air Pollution

The air pollution is a severe problem for many countries including both developing and developed ones. It is worth noting that diesel emission is one of the main causes of air pollution in urban areas. Typically, in London, people have started taking actions and citizens want to change the current situation so bad that over 29 million people have signed for an action on diesel emissions in urban centers where have the highest car concentration.



“New Technologies Which Could Improve Urban Air Quality”, website: Policy Exchange,

  • The ezero1 technology can improve the fuel combustion cycle by adding additives
  • Small amounts of hydrogen added into the vehicle air intake can provide a more efficient burn of fuel
  • This technology can be applied on existing cars and vans
  • This technology is produced by UK developer CGON and is available commercially



  • Private car driver who wants to reduce carbon footprint and enhance fuel efficiency
  • Tourism companies such as car rental company, bus companies etc. which want to save fuel bills to lower the operation costs
  • Car manufacturers who want to enhance engine performance and provide a more sustainable car model
  • Municipalities which want to change current sever air pollution problems



  1. The company may conduct an analysis to find where car owners are huge and people’s awareness of air pollution is high. Thus, CGON may find the best target for launching this product in the early stage.
  2. To further attract potential clients, CGON should proactively seek opportunities of attending Auto show, air pollution or energy-related conference to increase people’s awareness of this technology
  3. CGON may also seek for partnership with city governments and tourism companies. For example, CGON can take part in government’s environmental enhancement projects. CGON can offer discount and free installation if large volume orders are placed.



Repurposing Waste Heat for Battery Storage

Alphabet Energy


1) Sustainability Problem:

  • Energy – Waste: Since the 1800’s the idea and practice of converting heat into energy has been inefficient and has only been useful for projects that require low levels on energy to function

2) The Technology:

  • Alphabet Energy has implemented nanotechnology into the process to make energy generation more efficient and viable for larger scale generator and battery systems
  • The California based startup has developed it batteries (PowerBlocks) to collect heat generated by engine exhaust to produce energy and re-power engines
  • Thermoelectric generators are able to improve fuel efficiency for by 5%, helping to bridge the gap between the fuel efficiency of cars and the upcoming US Cafe Standards
  • Traditionally two-thirds of the heat generated by power stations is lost and transferred to the atmosphere, becoming a major motivator for Alphabet Energy’s work

3) Stakeholders:

  • Energy intensive companies: oil, gas, mining, manufacturing and transportation companies
  • Car companies
  • Car consumers

4) Deployment:

  • Greater understanding of the processes involved in industries of production to identify improvement areas and establish an even stronger financial benefit case
  • Stronger brand recognition to influence the market
  • Further improvements for the energy conversion efficiency of the batteries (i.e. shorter charge and cooling times)




Dominic Bell (dlb2189)