HVAC, LED and lighting innovations have helped propel businesses toward unprecedented efficiency savings.
According Forester Media’s white paper, “Efficiency on Multiple Levels,” the biggest change in energy efficiency is in capturing the energy savings from behavioral, optimized and attenuated devices. Here’s a breakdown of the drivers behind the innovation change within the industry:
HVAC retrofits are taking place frequently to maximize energy efficiency from already-installed equipment.
“When doing a retrofit energy management system, the last thing most installers want to do is pull wire in an existing building,” points out Joe Neubauer of Network Thermostat, a company that offers networked HVAC controls for energy management, including four platforms that include Ethernet and Wi-Fi thermostats, as well as its wired XBus and wireless StrongMesh solutions. “Therefore, most energy-conscious building managers request wireless communications, and they often request Wi-Fi because that is a well- known standard.”
The white paper states that lighting continues to be a low-hanging fruit for deriving energy efficiencies. Acuity Brands is getting more requests for advanced solid-state lighting (LED) technology that can seamlessly integrate with powerful digital lighting controls and daylighting to create greater energy efficiencies and a better quality of light, notes Neil Egan, director of communications for the company.
“This type of systems integration approach is a trend that more intelligent buildings are beginning to embrace,” he points out. “Facility managers are thinking about how light- ing can enable energy reduction, create a more maintenance- friendly environment, and provide a more aesthetically pleas- ing space for occupants.”
According to Forester Media, the latest “hot” LED lighting products are LED T8 Tube Lights. “They save up to 50% of energy over fluorescent tube lights and last two to three times longer,” says Jordon Papanier, marketing manager for LEDtronics. LED or solid state lighting reduces electrical costs by 50 to 80% for lighting. Since the white LEDs last for 50,000 hours, the relamping or maintenance costs are also reduced, Papanier says.
LED lights put out much less heat than traditional lighting, so the building air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard to keep the building cool, saving even more energy, he adds. With better-focused lighting, there is not much resistance to change, Papanier says.
With so much data available from meters and other devices such as lighting and HVAC controls, the opportunity for data analytics is growing, says Brent Protzman, a lead architectural engineer in Energy Solutions at Lutron Electronics, Coopersburg, PA. “We’re talking about the collection of data as intelligence, but there’s so much data, and a lot more that needs to be done in managing it optimally for the long-term,” he explains. “At Lutron, we’ve been collecting lighting controls data for years, but until now building managers generally weren’t that interested in seeing this data, in part because there wasn’t the ability to see multiple systems simultaneously without being overwhelmed by the information.”