With the world’s population constantly growing, energy efficiency will continue to be a hot topic. As economies grow, so does the demand for energy. Seattle is one of the fastest-growing cities in America and is aiming to encourage and develop a city-wide approach to energy efficiency.
Building energy conservation
Working in partnership with Microsoft and Accenture, Seattle has created a ‘Smart Building’ programme, aiming to reduce power usage in the city centre by up to 25%. This is part of a plan by the Seattle Office of Economic Development to reduce business energy consumption across two million square feet of commercial property.
The five unique properties involved, including Seattle Municipal Tower and the Sheraton Hotel, are striving for a 50% reduction in energy consumption across their buildings by 2030.
Seattle wanted to make better use of the power it had while driving new technologies for energy efficiency. Many commercial properties in the city have building management systems (BMS), sensors and software that monitor and control lighting, electrical systems, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. However, these systems don’t optimise the equipment for energy reduction.
The Smart Building solution uses low-cost Microsoft software and cloud services to analyse these systems and process the collated information. It also controls the sensors, meters and building management systems that already exist in the structures.
Smart Building software identifies equipment and system inefficiencies. It then alerts building managers to the areas of wasted energy.
The Smart Building systems also assess the health of the equipment, making it an effective predictive tool for maintenance. By identifying faults and alerts ahead of time, it reduces troubleshooting time.
Many businesses are keen to take part in this smart energy management project. The building managers involved are exploring new ways to reduce their energy consumption and operating costs.
The Seattle programme is aiming for a substantial energy reduction, lowering the city’s carbon footprint considerably. The city has estimated that it’ll generate savings of between 10-25% for both energy and maintenance expenditures.
British towns and cities have their own initiatives, such as Derby and Wrexham’s council who are tasked to help SMEs reduce their carbon footprint. They provide advice on a range of energy efficiency technologies, offering tips on how to reduce business electricity and business gas usage.
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