Video: A Day In The Life of an Energy-Smart Building

With smart controls and other advanced technologies, the future of energy efficiency is looking pretty bright. In truth, however, the future is already here. What does it look like? Let’s take a snapshot of a typical day in the life of an energy smart building.

  • The day begins about an hour before employees arrive. The HVAC systems kick on to bring building temperatures to a comfortable level. Variable speed drives on the compressor and fans ramp up to full speed.
  • As workers arrive, timing controls automatically switch on lights in common areas throughout the building.
  • During a morning meeting, carbon dioxide sensors and controls automatically adjust outdoor air ventilation to ensure indoor air quality. After the meeting, ventilation rates are readjusted to avoid wasting energy by over-ventilating an empty room.
  • Throughout the morning, an economizer attached to the building’s HVAC system reduces the load on the air conditioning system by taking advantage of relatively cool outside morning air.
  • It’s lunchtime. Vending machine controls kick into occupied mode as people enter the break room. After a period of inactivity, they go back into energy-saving mode, as lights switch off and the compressor cycles are reduced while keeping products cold.
  • While workers are away at lunch, power management software puts computers into low-power sleep mode.
  • In the afternoon, demand for electricity increases. The building automation system minimizes energy use for selected equipment to reduce peak demand. Daylighting controls automatically dim lighting to make way for free natural light.
  • Programmable thermostats adjust building temperatures a few degrees to save energy, but still remain in the comfortable range.
  • Closing time. Timing controls automatically shut off lights and equipment as staff leaves for the day, leaving only a few lights on for security.
  • HVAC controls adjust building temperatures to save energy overnight while the facility is empty.

Energy efficiency is an ongoing process. Tomorrow morning, the whole thing will start all over again.