Technology developed in Australia is making significant CO2 cuts in New York.

16 January 2014 — CSIRO’s brainchild BuildingIQ, a cloud-based energy-efficiency platform, has enabled a landmark New York Building to save 440 tonnes of CO2 in twelve months.

The 2.6 million square foot building had already upgraded to achieve a Gold LEED-EB rating, but the owner wanted to reduce the carbon footprint even further with a high performance energy savings solution, according to BuildingIQ chief executive Michael Nark.

As part of the owner’s commitment to energy efficiency, a staff of in-house building engineers were engaged when the upgrade was carried out. However, Mr Nark said the hands-on approach to adjusting building controls proved to be labour-intensive.

“The owner insisted on implementing a new energy system, but emphasised it could not impact tenant comfort and needed to free up time for building engineers to devote to other tasks,” Mr Nark said.

The owner’s building management and automation services provider decided BuildingIQ could tick those boxes cost-effectively.

Michael Nark

What BuildingIQ’s software does is referred to by the company as “predictive energy optimisation”. What that means is it combines building analytics and HVAC optimisation with the ability to “learn” a building and the habits of occupants, respond to changing weather conditions and space usage patterns, and uses this information to then automatically make adjustments to HVAC settings and controls without any need for human intervention.

Importantly, from the point of view of many owners, it works with the building’s existing BMS systems and HVAC systems, and therefore requires no major capital outlay or lengthy interruption to mechanical services or occupant activities. At the New York project, the BuildingIQ system was operational in three weeks.

“In the first year of operation, the building saved 440 tons of CO2 from being released into the environment,” Mr Nark said.

“The solution required no upfront capital expenditure and BuildingIQ used contract pricing based on a formula that takes into account the type of building, size and complexity of facility, complexity of the existing control system, and other factors to determine the monthly or quarterly price.”

Nark says BuildingIQ has delivered the building’s owners a 300 per cent return on investment in the subscription, with the just under $500,000 saved on HVAC energy in the first year amounting to a $3 saving for every $1 spent.