How Occupancy Data can Help Reduce your Building’s Energy Consumption
Climate change is one of the main challenges the world faces today. Rampant wildfires, powerful hurricanes, tropical storms, floods, droughts, and temperature extremes are now commonplace. Temperatures could rise over 3 degrees Celsius, or 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit, this century without global action (NASA.gov). We know that climate impacts scale with warming so reducing emissions as quickly as possible is key.
The good news is that we have the power to turn it around. U.S. President Biden declared climate change the number one issue facing humanity and pledged to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030. As the U.S. puts climate change at the forefront and officially rejoins the Paris Agreement, other leaders are also following suit.
In the commercial sector, Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock—the world’s largest asset manager, put pressure on large corporations this year to disclose their net zero transition plans. BlackRock, with around $9 trillion in assets, hopes to lead by example by making climate change central to its 2021 investment strategy. This is because climate change is posed to have an increasingly negative impact on the world’s economy, including BlackRock’s investments.
"Because buildings consume about 40% of global energy, they are the largest contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions."
At Skyfii, we also strive to do our part. A recent report by the United Nations declared human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases are the overwhelming cause of global climate change. Because buildings consume about 40% of global energy, they are the largest contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions (UN Environment Program). Reducing energy use in commercial buildings would have a tremendous impact on our environment and energy security. As an analytics company focused on building utilization, we are privileged to be able to contribute to a solution.
We are experts at helping building operators understand occupant trends by analyzing behavioral patterns. Once occupant behavior is understood, building owners can make informed and actionable decisions to optimize energy usage.
Here are some ways an effective data strategy can help optimize your building’s energy consumption, so you can also do your part to lower global carbon emissions.
The importance of understanding your building in real time
You cannot optimize energy costs and cut down on emissions until you understand how your building systems consume energy and occupants behave. Skyfii helps you understand two correlating data categories— the first is contextual like lighting, HVAC/thermostat, weather, etc.— and the second is behavioral like movement, occupancy, and dwell time. By understanding how context impacts behavior, you can optimize an environment. In terms of your building, you will be able to reduce energy consumption and costs and increase occupant comfort.
Skyfii measures occupancy using sources such as CCTV, BLE, LiDAR, people counters, and WiFi. In fact, a recent study (ScienceDirect) found that WiFi is a very effective indicator of building occupancy and has one major advantage. It does not require modifications to the existing building infrastructure that would introduce increased energy consumption. Understanding occupant behavior is a critical component in building energy conservation.
The Skyfii dashboard can give you a quick glimpse into occupancy throughout your building as well as other key metrics.
Skyfii’s intelligent platform gives you a holistic view of your building so you can automate your building systems in particular areas and respond and adjust them in real time. When you understand your building’s occupancy throughout the day, you can use those insights to save energy.
For example, when a small space is occupied by many people, occupancy sensors can lower the room temperature. Research shows that 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions originate from buildings and HVAC systems are responsible for over 50% of those emissions (Brainbox AI). When you optimize your building systems based on occupant behavior, you will help lower greenhouse gas emissions.
The importance of understanding your building’s historical patterns
The Skyfii platform can track historical data trends so you can understand occupant behavior and overall energy consumption patterns. This is incredibly important because it helps you better plan and automate your building systems for the future. Automation also helps eliminate human error as it does not rely on occupants to turn down thermostats or shut off lights.
A study (ScienceDirect) found 35.5% of energy saving potential when they examined occupant activity using various sensors. The study observed occupants often left lights and equipment on when they left a room, which continued to consume energy during non-working hours. This illustrates how occupancy data monitoring can work in tandem with energy automation to significantly reduce energy waste.
For example, you can use historical data trends to adjust the HVAC and lighting settings to accommodate occupancy levels— like tuning your building to use less energy during unoccupied times. In addition, if trends determine that the likelihood of occupants in a space during a particular time is low— even during a building’s occupied hours— then you can reduce HVAC and lighting appropriately.
A simple solution that can make a sizable impact
As a building owner, you have the privilege to contribute to a global solution by lowering your building’s energy consumption. Understanding occupancy is a key piece of the puzzle you need to optimize your building’s systems. Insights from real time and historical building systems and occupancy data can empower you to make informed and actionable decisions to help reduce your building’s energy use. Data is a powerful tool to help you understand the relationship between occupancy levels and your building systems.
Interested in making your building more energy efficient?
We recently partnered with BrainBox AI, the leader in HVAC AI technology for commercial and corporate real estate, so our customers have the ability to rapidly optimize their occupancy data to drive significant energy savings. BrainBox AI’s solution enables the HVAC system in a building to operate autonomously, in real time, and generate up to a 25% reduction in total energy costs, 20-40% reduction in carbon footprint and 60% increase in occupant comfort. Request a free demo to learn how we can help you decrease your building’s energy usage.