Intelligent efficiency is changing the way companies integrate and operate equipment, according to GTM Research.
Energy-efficiency opportunities in the building and commercial and industrial sectors are vast, and utilities can get involved in a number of technology areas - the most lucrative being lighting, HVAC and energy storage.
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), lighting in commercial buildings makes up 21 percent of electricity use and between 20 to 38 percent of consumption in the industrial sector. Lighting represents one of the easiest opportunities for efficiency opportunities in the commercial and industrial sectors. Costs of solid-state LED technologies have steadily come down, and programmable LED technologies with system-wide monitoring capabilities are allowing for the monitoring of occupancy, temperature, energy consumption and light quality.
After lighting, HVAC components such as air conditioners, boilers, chillers, furnaces, heat pumps and packaged air handlers represent almost 50 percent of all energy consumed in U.S. buildings, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. In data centers, cooling alone represents 45 percent. HVAC units offer huge load reduction and load shifting opportunities. Variable speed motors improve energy consumption based on dynamic usage requirements. Smart thermostats can make decisions about how to operate an HVAC system. Cloud-based software allows for seamless remote monitoring; and demand-controlled ventilation responds to dynamic occupancy levels in real time.
Most consumers don't associate storage or on-site renewables with traditional energy efficiency. But the same types of analytics that are turning "dumb" lighting and HVAC equipment into dynamic systems are also driving intelligence in these sectors, according to GTM Research, meaning significant impacts for building-efficiency projects.
Thanks to intelligent architecture, storage is being integrated as part of energy-efficiency projects. The intelligent deployment of electric vehicle fleets, renewable energy systems, combined heat and power and on-site storage can dynamically manage load and reduce energy costs.
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