Data collection, machine learning boost building efficiency

Sensors, software algorithms squeeze out waste.

May 03, 2018 |

A new approach to energy efficiency uses high tech tools to make many small adjustments rather than more costly tactics such as replacing big ticket items like windows and cooling equipment.

Startups including Carbon Lighthouse and Redaptive are using data collection and machine learning to make a building’s mechanical and electrical infrastructure use power more efficiently. Carbon Lighthouse has helped Tesla cut electricity use at the electric vehicle maker's headquarters by using sensors, data collection, software algorithms, and technical analysis.

Carbon Lighthouse engineers focused on two large cooling towers, two chillers, and some pumps at Tesla headquarters. They found an error in how two systems were communicating with each other.

They then figured out a way to run the three systems using less energy but producing the same amount of cooling. Commercial properties account for about one-third of U.S. power consumption, so reducing their usage—even in relatively small ways—on a large scale could significantly cut the nation’s power usage and carbon footprint.

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