The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded the Virginia Polytechnic and State University Advanced Research Institute nearly $2 million to continue research and development of its Building Energy Management Open Source Software (BEMOSS) for small and medium-sized commercial buildings. Currently, small and medium commercial buildings account for over 95 percent of the floor space in the United States and 50 percent of the energy consumed each year.
The majority of commercial buildings in the United States are small- or medium-sized — 50,000 square feet or less — and fall outside the scope of most commercial buildings automation systems (BAS).
The goal of the Virginia Tech project is to develop an open-source solution as a backbone for improving BAS systems, allowing for major building components, such as HVAC, lighting and water heaters, to interconnect with each other. More interconnection among these systems will improve occupant comfort, while reducing energy use and the cost of building ownership and operation. Another goal of the project is to significantly reduce the cost of installing and maintaining the system.
The Virginia Tech BEMOSS will be able to be used from a tablet, smartphone or computer. The open-protocol system will be plug and play and offer scalability and robustness, as well as local and remote monitoring. This allows it to work with load control devices from different manufacturers that operate on different communication technologies and protocols. As a result, the system can more effectively adjust HVAC and lighting to account for changes in a building’s temperature and lighting levels during the day.