Information technology can increase energy efficiency by improving the control of energy-using devices and systems. Awareness of this potential is not new—ideas for applications of information technology for energy efficiency have been promoted for more than 20 years. But much of the potential gain from the application of information technology has not yet been realized. Today a combination of new requirements for the operation of the electricity system and the development of new technology has the potential to cause a rapid increase in the pace of adoption of improved controls. In this paper we discuss one promising avenue for technology advancement. First, we review some basic concepts with emphasis on open software-architecture. Then we describe the components of XBOS, a realization of this open software-architecture. XBOS has the ability to monitor and control many different sensors and devices using both wired and wireless communication and a variety of communication protocols. Finally, we illustrate the capabilities of XBOS with examples from an XBOS installation in a small commercial office building in Berkeley California.
Benchmark-based, whole building energy performance targets are becoming the best practice method for designing energy efficient and zero net energy buildings. There are several advantages to energy performance targets, including a static baseline (to allow for comparison of buildings over time), the ability to capture energy use and efficiency for all building energy loads (not just the loads regulated by code), and the ability to carry design targets through to operations. UC Merced has been using whole-building energy performance targets since its founding and has had great success in delivering buildings with very energy efficient designs that perform to those design targets in their ongoing operations. In addition, benchmarks available for UC campuses provide targets that address peak demand. For these reasons, the UC campuses are encouraged to adopt whole-building energy performance targets in their building design process, to help maintain UC’s leadership in energy efficiency.
Measurement of building environmental parameters is often complex, expensive, and not easily proceduralized in a manner that covers all commercial buildings. Evaluating building indoor environmental quality performance is therefore not standard practice. This project developed a prototype toolkit that addressed existing barriers to widespread indoor environmental quality performance evaluation. A toolkit with both hardware and software elements was designed for practitioners around the indoor environmental quality requirements of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers / Chartered Institution of Building Services / United States Green Building Council Performance Measurement Protocols. This unique toolkit was built on a wireless mesh network with a web-based data collection, analysis, and reporting application. The toolkit provided a fast, robust deployment of sensors, real-time data analysis, Performance Measurement Protocol-based analysis methods and a scorecard and report generation tools. A web-enabled Geographic Information System-based metadata collection system also reduced field-study deployment time. The toolkit was evaluated through three case studies, which were discussed in this report.
Information feedback loops for building performance range from the long-term— including university education of building designers and their experiential learning from past work on a time scale of years or decades; to the short term—including building occupants seeking to manage their environment with operable windows and thermostats, to building controls themselves on a time scale of seconds or minutes. In between are owners seeking to make informed renovation and retrofit decisions on a time scale of years, and operators looking for ongoing commissioning opportunities on a time scale of hours to months.
Unfortunately all of these feedback loops are often broken, with meaningful convenient performance information typically unavailable for decision-making. Even automatic building controls often fail to perform as expected because of erroneous or missing data from sensors. We examine the current typical disconnects for each of the feedback loops, their interactions, and potential solutions.
Both improved technology and organizational change are needed to fully establish all the feedback loops for building performance, achieving the twin goals of building quality (e.g., comfort) and reduced resource use (e.g., energy). Currently research sometimes provides an intervention to temporarily close one or more of the feedback loops. However, closing of information feedback loops is often inhibited by perceptions of professional or business risk. Achieving the vision of ubiquitous deep efficiency for buildings will require research, development and demonstration integrating both technological and sociological issues to durably establish feedback at all time scales in building design and operation.
Proceedings of the 2012 ACEEE Summer Study (Panel 4, Paper 1130). Monitoring-based commissioning (MBCx) emphasizes permanent energy performance metering and trending—for diagnosis of energy waste, for savings accounting, and to enable persistence of savings. Emphasis on monitoring represents a paradigm shift for the retro-commissioning (RCx) industry, which has traditionally relied upon test protocols and modeled savings estimates. Since 2004, a major monitoring-based commissioning program at twenty-five California university campuses has evolved to meet the changing needs of university and utility partners. More recently the monitoring-based approach has been adopted by third-party programs in California. We present information on the progression of program design and results for the multiple phases of the original program, along with a look at third-party and other programs adopting similar program features.
Project Final Report prepared for CIEE and California Energy Commission
Proceedings of the 2010 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, August 15-20, Pacific Grove, California, Panel 11, Paper 725.
Proceedings of the 2010 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, August 15-20, Pacific Grove, California, Panel 3, Paper 734.