Industry News

New Building Energy Management Software Helps Cut Costs


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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed a unique software application to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings.

The Building Agent (BA) application helps facility managers balance energy consumption with indoor comfort through direct feedback from occupants and energy performance expectations. Homeowners can indicate whether the indoor air seems too hot or cold, humid or dry, stale or breezy, quiet or noisy through the application dashboard that can be accessed on any desktop computer. Since 25 percent of a building’s energy performance is influenced by occupant behavior, this application marks a significant step toward cost effective and energy efficient living.

January 8_New Software for Building Efficiency Image 3“By integrating comfort feedback with traditional measurements, BA ties the notions of comfort and energy performance together in a way that no other application has done. Building occupants become an active part of the comfort and energy tradeoff along with the facility managers,” said Larry Brackney, NREL senior engineer.

BA is unique in that it provides data on actual, real-time electric energy, thermal energy, internal temperatures, humidity and lighting levels versus expected energy usage and outputs. The application also provides facility managers with the information needed to locate problems and make decisions to improve building performance. For instance, during peak demand times, occupants can be urged to take direct actions, such as setting computers to hibernation mode or turning lights off before leaving for a meeting. BA simply enables an ongoing and beneficial conversation between occupants, facility managers and the building for sustained efficiency.

For more information, click here to read the press release from NREL or visit www.nrel.gov for more information on the laboratory’s commercial building research.