Encycle Blog

Extending the Value of Smart Thermostats — Are “Smart Thermostats” really that smart?

Posted by Encycle on Jul 26, 2017 9:12:00 AM

A thermostat is a common, everyday device that we typically ignore while passing it in the hall, hardly a technically advanced computing platform.  So why is there a buzz about this being a “smart” device, especially for home use, and what value can it provide to building operators?

Encycle took a hard look at existing smart thermostat functionality, and determined how to apply its intellectual property and patents to make them “super” smart. Let’s explore some of the features and services that reduce building operators’ utility costs using Encycle’s SwarmStat™ service.

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Topics: HVAC efficiency, smart buildings, HVAC Control, Smart thermostat

Practical Demand Management – Going Beyond HVAC Control

Posted by Encycle on Jul 12, 2017 1:40:29 PM

Demand charges, determined by the maximum amount of power you draw at any given time (typically measured over any 15-minute period during the month), can account for 50 percent or more of a commercial customer’s electricity bill.  Demand management systems aim to either curtail your load during that anticipated peak period or spread your load more evenly.  This, in turn, reduces peak demand and, hence, your power bill.  If your organization participates in a demand response (DR) program, your ability to control demand is even more important as you can be heavily penalized for failing to meet your obligations when a DR event is called.

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, HVAC efficiency, HVAC Control, Demand Response, Electricity Demand Management

Biomimicry: Changing HVAC Energy Consumption (and  thousands of other things)

Posted by Ginger Juhl on Jun 22, 2017 1:56:24 PM

We talk a lot at Encycle about how the communication among honey bees inspired our Swarm Logic HVAC energy management software. This is just one example of biomimicry – the art and science of mimicking the elegant simplicity of mother nature to solve complex human problems. There are literally thousands of examples of biomimicry in action.

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Topics: Biomimicry, Energy Efficiency, HVAC efficiency, HVAC Control

The Zen of Synergy: Making Smart Thermostats Smarter

Posted by Ginger Juhl on Jun 15, 2017 2:20:00 PM

Have you ever had a sense that two things just naturally belong together?  Or that when they’re apart, something is missing?  For me, peanut butter and jelly are at the top of this list.  And then there’s red wine and chocolate, macaroni and cheese, fish and chips… I’m sensing from my examples that perhaps I should not have skipped lunch today.

But there are plenty of non-edible examples too: yin and yang, bow and arrow, needle and thread….  You get the picture: things that naturally click. 

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, HVAC efficiency, HVAC Control, building energy management, energy savings, Smart thermostat, energy conservation

Building a Baseline for Measuring HVAC Energy Savings

Posted by Robert Palmer on Jun 8, 2017 9:16:00 AM

 

Maybe you’ve been noticing with alarm the increase in your company’s electric utility bills over the past months, and perhaps you’re also becoming more carbon footprint conscious. Maybe you’re even the plant facilities engineer and have been told that you simply must do something to reduce utility costs. So what does a smart, responsible person do? 

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, HVAC efficiency, Building automation, building energy management, energy savings

Staggered Starts for RTUs Save Money

Posted by Robert Palmer on May 25, 2017 8:30:00 AM

In commercial and industrial facilities, rooftop units (RTUs) are usually turned off or greatly curtailed during unoccupied periods, for example, overnight and/or on weekends. Unfortunately, too little attention is given to the schedule RTUs are programmed for restart. If the desired setpoint is reached too early, energy is wasted, while reaching it too late adversely affects occupant comfort. Optimizing RTU start times means programming each RTU so as to reach its desired space temperature setpoint at the intended time. However, many facility managers fail to appreciate the energy and cost savings benefits of optimizing their HVAC startup schedule and simply program RTU start times to ensure they start early enough to guarantee the setpoints are reached before start of business.

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, HVAC efficiency, HVAC Control, Building automation, building energy management, Rooftop Units, RTUs

Enabling Intelligent HVAC Control by Making Rooftop Units Work Together

Posted by Ginger Juhl on May 17, 2017 8:25:00 AM

INTRODUCTION:

Rooftop HVAC units are almost always one of the biggest energy consuming devices for any commercial and industrial (C&I) buildings.  In fact, C&I buildings consume more than a third of the energy used in first-world countries, and HVAC units account for almost half of this energy. They are also one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

The fact is that rooftop units – or RTUs – hold enormous potential for dramatic reductions in both energy costs and carbon emissions. This potential has gone largely unrealized, however, because RTUs have long been one of the least intelligent of a building’s energy-consuming devices.  Yes, there are smart thermostats and building management systems that definitely help, but only to a point because even with these energy efficiency tools in place, RTUs function in isolation, cycling on and off with no knowledge of how and when other units are operating.  As a result, RTUs have remained largely untapped as an opportunity for smarter energy management and the accompanying energy savings. 


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Topics: Biomimicry, HVAC efficiency, HVAC Control, building energy management, Rooftop Units, RTUs

Fortune Magazine Says 2017 is the Year of Biomimicry. We Say “What Took Us So Long?”

Posted by Robert Chiste on May 2, 2017 7:59:11 AM

IT'S INGENIOUS!

As I was reading Fortune magazine’s “5 Trends to Ride 2017,” one of the featured trends quickly caught my eye: biomimicry. With a subtitle “Mimic Mother Nature,” the piece persuasively explained, “Nature has already solved many problems for us; why not take advantage of that?” The article goes on to point out that biomimicry is now going mainstream, with forward-looking companies releasing ingenious products that mirror innovations found in nature. The author talks about sunscreen that replicates hippos’ protective sweat (sans the odor) and hospital wall coatings that emulate sharkskin’s antimicrobial properties. Ingenious indeed!

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Topics: Biomimicry