Average energy demand per square foot in the commercial sector is growing at 1.5 percent per year. According to a 2009 McKinsey report, Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the US Economy, the commercial sector will consume 20 percent of all the energy used in the United States by 2020.
Retail & Commercial Systems (RCS), a unit of Siemens Building Technologies (SBT), aims to help mid-sized retail facilities in the United States and Canada reverse that trend by providing them with enterprise-level energy management so they can reduce their energy bills. Siemens detailed the services RCS provides in its blog post “Starving the Energy Monster.”
RCS specializes in chain stores in which the buildings are essentially the same, outfitting heating and cooling units with sensors designed to continuously monitor equipment performance and wall-mounted carbon dioxide sensors that serve as proxies for occupancy detection. Those sensors, as well as thermostats and lighting controls, are then connected to a control box with its own Linux-based computer and embedded Web server. Other major systems, such as refrigeration units, trash compactors, signage, rooftop solar power equipment and electric vehicle charging stations, can also be equipped with sensors.
Each store’s control box pings its sensors every 60 seconds and delivers a condition report to the chain operator’s headquarters every two hours. Every four hours, a cloud-based RCS data management center generates a prioritized list of the specific systems in a chain operator’s fleet of stores that require immediate service.
RCS’ software allows headquarters to set each store’s temperature and lighting levels and coordinate those levels with store operating hours, weekend and holiday peaks and seasonal changes. As the RCS software learns from best practices, it remotely deploys new, customer-approved capabilities across the entire enterprise.
The software also helps chain operators to identify which cooling systems work best in which climates, and which ones have the best service and efficiency records.
RCS’ SureGrid intelligent load management also helps customers receive rebates from utilities for reducing electricity demand during peak periods.
RCS customers typically experience a 15–30 percent reduction on their electric bills over a 28- to 36-month period.