5 Innovative Technologies that are Changing How We Consume Energy October 30, 2014 | Samantha Dubrow

Energy efficiency is a hot topic, and every company has a different way of going about it. From solar panels to LED lights to thermostats that automatically control office temperature, there are dozens of ways to take advantage of technologies that will increase efficiency in your buildings, and reduce consumption costs. Below you will find six innovative technologies, summarizing what they do, and why we think they’re awesome!

 

1. Nest

The Nest Thermostat helps you save energy by controlling the temperature in your home or your building to help reduce energy waste and lower your utility bills.

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What Nest Does

 

Easily Setup: Thermostats are often set at one temperature and forgotten, because setting a schedule can be time consuming. Nest can be easily set up in 30 minutes.
 

 

Self-Programming: Nest learns the temperatures you like and gets used to your operating schedule to keep your building efficient and comfortable.

 

Knows When You’re Gone: When there’s no one around, Nest can automatically switch its mode so you don’t have to remember to change the temperature every time you leave.

 

 

Why We Think Nest is Great 

 

Lower Your Bills: Nest helps you lower your energy bills by up to 20%, and all you have to do is install it.

 

You’re in Control, Wherever You Are: One of the coolest features is that you can change your building’s temperature from your iPhone, no matter where you are. So if you’re away there’s no need to worry about wasting energy.

 

It Saves You Time: Nest takes away the worry of controlling heating and cooling for maximum efficiency off your plate, so you can worry about other things in your building.
           

 


2. ComFy

ComFy is similar to Nest, in that it lets you control the temperature of your space through your smartphone. However, ComFy is used more for collaboration of coworkers, so everyone can be comfy.

ComFy4

 

What ComFy Does

 

Gives Tenants Control: ComFy allows tenants to install an app on their smartphone where they can say “Warm my space” “I’m comfy” or “Cool my space.”

 

Learns Tenant Preferences: After collecting a sufficient amount of data, ComFy learns how tenants like their space to be heated, and can adjust the temperature automatically.

 

Shuts Down When Space is Empty: If ComFy isn’t getting any reports of comfort, and concludes that the space is empty, it sends a message for the HVAC to turn to its unoccupied mode.

 

 

Why We Think ComFy is Great

 

Increased Tenant Satisfaction: A comfortable tenant is a happy tenant, and a happy tenant is a tenant that stays.

 

Saves Time for the Facility Manager: When the tenants can control their space themselves, facility managers have one less thing to worry about, opening up time for them to do the other parts of the job.

 

Saves Energy: Especially since ComFy turns the system off when no one is around, this way of controlling the building temperature helps save energy.

 

3. Blue LED

A few weeks ago, Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura won The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics for their Blue LED light.

BlueLED

 

What Blue LED Does 

Creation of White LED Light: Green and red LED lights have existed, but the blue LED light was just introduced, meaning the combination is now able to create white light.

 

Makes Screens Cheaper: LED light means less expensive TV, computer, and phone screens.

 

More Access to Electricity: It has been predicted that about 1.5 billion people who do not currently have access to electricity will gain access through the implementation of LED lighting.

 

Why We Think Blue LED is Great 

 

Energy Efficiency: LED lights are much more efficient than traditional lighting, and therefore less expensive.

 

Greater Access to Electricity and Technology: As lighting technology becomes less expensive, a greater number of people will be able to use it, and LED lights are making a huge step in this process.

 

4. WattTime

WattTime is helping increase the use of clean energy by showing consumers what they’re using and when they’re using it.

WattTime

 

What WattTime Does

 

Tells You if Your Energy is Clean or Dirty: WattTime monitors the grid to show you exactly where you’re getting your energy from, and how clean it is.
 

 

Tells You if You Should Wait to Use Energy: WattTime keeps careful track of what energy sources are powering your building, and when. This allows tenants to make the choice to lower their consumption when sources are dirty, and save some larger consumption points for when renewable and clean energy is being used.

 

Why We Think WattTime is Great

Puts Tenants in Control: By showing tenants what they’re using and where their energy is coming from, they can feel in control and be motivated to waste less.

 

Helps Renewable Energy Consumption: It’s hard to use renewable energy when you don’t know how to get it. WattTime gives tenants information so they can engage in clean, efficient, and environmentally sustainable practices.

 

There’s More Coming Soon: This is just the beginning for WattTime. They have many new software updates coming, which will make it even easier to take advantage of renewable energy sources.

 

5. Solar Windows

Solar Windows are clear glass windows built with solar technology, allowing them to collect energy.

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What Solar Windows Do

 

Solar Panels That Look Like Windows: These windows are transparent, and look just like regular windows, but they are able to collect energy just like solar panels.

 

Solar Doesn’t Just Have to be on the Roof: 60% of buildings are windows, and can be used to collect energy. Having solar windows can save 2-4 times as much as regular solar panels.

 

Solar Cells Can be “Sprayed” onto the Glass: Instead of having to replace all of the windows on a building, they can be sprayed at room temperature on the windows, and start working immediately.

 

Why We Think Solar Windows are Great 

 

They Work at Night: Unlike regular solar panels that only work during the day, these Solar Windows also work at night, and can be on any side of the building during any season.

 

They Have High Potential: Because there is more surface area for solar windows to be places, and because they can be active at any time, they have the potential to collect and store more energy than regular solar panels can.

 

Can you think of other noteworthy companies we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Energy Efficiency, technology

About The Author

When Samantha isn’t writing for the blog or managing our HR like a champ, she studies Organizational Psychology at George Washington University.