NEW HAVEN — A New Haven platform is keeping an eye not just on the power meter, but on the building itself to help owners manage energy costs.
Developed by Science Park-based Seldera, Building Dynamics is a software platform that measures energy usage in buildings but also employs sensor technology (such as occupancy sensors) to track the usage behaviors of people occupying the buildings to spotlight energy inefficiency or redundancy.
This technology has made it a useful tool for large facilities such as manufacturing centers, universities and other large-capacity structures where there is large variability of use. Building Dynamics is in use by 30 companies and municipalities including Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport and various industrial sites locally, as well as in larger-scale projects in Chicago and at the University of Illinois.
Seldera was founded in 2011 and acquired by Middletown-based energy management company Amaresco the following year. This summer Building Dynamics was adopted by Massachussets-based energy provider Energy New England to work in tandem with its own management software.
Seldera CEO and founder Andreas Savvides, a former Yale University professor of electrical engineering and computer science, has a background in researching sensor technology. He saw an opportunity in using the potential information gathered from sensors as useful in energy-efficiency applications.
That even includes new buildings. The technology was demo’d in several Yale buildings, including the 2009-commissioned Rosenkranz Hall, where initial tests of Building Dynamics spotted 20 percent more potential energy-saving measures than were already in use.
“That made the case pretty clear that even when buildings are recently commissioned, once they’re occupied and the occupants come in and figure out how they’re going to use the building, there are additional savings you can find,” Savvides explains.
Building Dynamics users can leverage information gained from sensors to monitor everything from occupant behavior to building automation systems to better manage energy use. It can even zero in on individual breakers.
“The ability to expose information and communicate how the energy is consumed raises awareness and triggers people at all levels to try and save,” Savvides says. “Sometimes it’s just behavioral changes like turning off a light switch when you leave a room, but also it can be in building automation systems. People might be in a building for ten hours a day, but the systems run for up to 22 hours per day. That’s a redundancy.”
The platform even factors in changes in weather and fluctuating building occupancy, such as for holidays. This makes Building Dynamics a better fit for large buildings and college campuses where there is significant variability of use throughout the calendar year. Its primary customers in Connecticut are industrial.
“Connecticut shines with very specialized manufacturing, and this means sometimes you can’t just buy a new machine off the shelf,” Savvides says. “So having the ability to manage energy is key to those businesses’ survival.”
It’s that basis in information that Savvides says sets Building Dynamics apart from competing platforms from companies like Schneider Electric or Siemens. He plans additional functionality and controls in the platform in the near future, including for lights and thermostats.
“The way technology is maturing today [is] enabling a whole suite of smaller systems, controllers, sensors and thermostats,” he says. “That technology is going to enable us to keep integrating more pieces into Building Dynamics.”