Smart Phones Reduce Office Building Energy Bills

Because office buildings have huge carbon footprints, they also have huge potential for wasted energy by maintaining various empty rooms and other unoccupied spaces at a comfortable temperature.  New research shows how the proliferation of smart phones can be connected to the office network and used to monitor occupancy…reducing heating or air conditioning for unused spaces.

Researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of South Florida, and the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, explain how implicit occupancy sensing can be undertaken using existing IT infrastructure.  Including networked smart phones and computers on the local IP network (and other existing devices)…the existing infrastructure avoids the need for installing dedicated sensors in every space in a building. Their approach is to continually monitor the network addresses associated with every device, or data flowing to or from the devices.

Three main advantages of this new approach compared to dedicated monitoring equipment include:

  1. No additional hardware cost in terms of devices, installation, operation, or maintenance.
  2. Sensor readings can be obtained readily over an existing network.
  3. System capability of drilling down to occupancy number information (including identity and activity) that would not be available for dedicated sensors.   This information could then be used to manage appropriate climate control for various types of staff in the building at various times (i.e. from cleaning staff at night to office workers during the day).

Read More – ScienceDaily

Here’s a more intensive look at Smart Building Technology in general…as implemented right here in the SF Bay Area: