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.
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.
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.