We’ve been using energy to power buildings since the late 1800s, but even today it is commonplace for building owners to not know where energy flows inside of their buildings. Insights into energy consumption have been unattainable until very recently because utility companies possessed a monopoly over this information. When it came to energy management, building operators only knew what they could see, coupled with a monthly or quarterly utility bill.
Of the approximately 6 million commercial buildings in the United States, only a select few have real-time energy monitoring. Without this technology in the majority of commercial buildings, 250 million meters are still “dark”–they do not provide actionable, intelligent information. They simply record information for utility companies to calculate bills. The operators of each building have no true way of understanding where the building is consuming energy, let alone how they might consume more efficiently.
Even though 2016 is upon us, we are still forced to operate in the dark ages. I think it’s time to use 21st-century technologies to create a system that works fluidly for all stakeholders.
Key regulatory leaders feel the same way. In California, building code Title 24 mandates water submetering in all buildings greater than 50,000 square feet. Tenant Star aims to create what Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager piloted: a system to promote energy efficiency and consumption reduction for the end-user. Over 15 cities, including New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and Washington, DC, have initiated benchmarking programs requiring buildings over a certain size to report utility consumption so building operators are forced to assess what their buildings have been consuming.
And this is just the beginning. But don’t wait for the mandate. Experience has proven that benchmarking and other efficiency rules are not just regulatory fixtures; they make good business sense, too. If your building is consuming energy unnecessarily, and you could cut back on your energy bills by 20-30%, why would you continue to waste energy and money?
Imagine how we would operate if all buildings had real-time meters – or nodes – providing quick and easy access to energy consumption data. Imagine a building sensor network that forms the backbone for commercial real estate’s Internet of Things that can both analyze a host of building data points and integrate with a multitude of reporting systems. That’s our vision at Aquicore.
Approximately 30% of energy consumed in commercial buildings is used unnecessarily. If all meters in the US were smart meters, and easily achievable adjustments were made to operations, the US could save nearly $36 billion annually. These savings could be funneled into greater energy reduction efforts.
In addition to potential energy savings, increasing efficiency and streamlining building operations will improve business resilience. At our current rates, the grid is exposed to potential breaks in power supply. Near-term climate change effects and extraordinary climate-related events could cost the city of New York City $84 billion alone. Scale that to the rest of the country, and we have a real problem on our hands. Maintaining business resilience and identifying potential faults early as energy supplies become more unstable is increasingly important.
Real-time access to energy data – through energy management systems – provides a solution to these rising issues. These systems offer insights to help owners derive the most return on their investments and property managers to identify immediate energy savings and detect faults before they occur, providing value long after the initial savings.
Earlier I asked you to imagine how we’d operate with access to real-time energy data. We want to help you turn imagination into reality – for free. Aquicore is now offering free real-time meters and access to our AQ-Optimization software to ten buildings in the DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia area. Learn more about the campaign and submit up to three buildings below.