The commercial and manufacturing sectors could save $50 billion a year in energy fees if they adopt a systematic approach to saving energy that marries traditional energy efficiency with wireless and cloud-based computer technologies, according to research from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.
In the next two to three decades, these new intelligent capabilities will affect every sector of the economy and bring about energy savings that “we are only beginning to understand,” according to Intelligent Efficiency: Opportunities, Barriers, and Solutions.
According to ACEEE, some of the most vexing problems when it comes to energy efficiency have to do with measuring and verifying savings, but thanks to advances in information and communication technologies, some of these problems may soon be things of the past. This is because intelligent efficiency measures are smart: they can fix failures and save energy that would otherwise have been lost.
Intelligent efficiency is smart because it achieves new savings through its ability to analyze data and develop new ways to refine the ability to save energy. These “smart” energy measures will be networked and able to harness large volumes of historical data, run parallel simulation modeling, and identify newer, more efficient methods of operating that increase the efficiency of the building or process over time, the ACEEE says.
Intelligent efficiency also fixes system failures that often otherwise go undetected. For example, building automation and industrial production management systems can identify devices not operating according to specification, or those that are working harder than needed to achieve desired results.
Earlier this month, a report by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and Portland Energy Conservation found that measurement and verification features are generally aligning with utility needs. Half of the energy management and information systems in the report’s inventory have three or more utility pilots. Vendors of tools with active utility pilots tended to identify utilities as their primary target market, or their tools were developed by energy efficiency professionals who sought to introduce analytical capabilities.