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Originally published in Interiors & Sources

01/24/2014

Energy Dashboard Utilizes Direct Thermal Comfort Feedback

Building Agent connects facility managers and occupants

 

Occupant behavior can affect as much as 25% of a building’s energy performance. Building Agent allows occupants and facility managers to engage in a conversation about comfort and energy use.

Take energy management to the next level with Building Agent, a software application created by the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The program allows facility managers to quickly diagnose and adjust for problems based on direct occupant feedback.

Building Agent is composed of several layers. The server layer aggregates global and localized measurements with occupant feedback (which they provide through a dashboard on their desktop computers) to correlate perceived comfort with actual data throughout the building. The measurement layer complements server data with localized environmental condition measurements at workstations. The building and occupants can communicate through the application layer. Facility managers can utilize the communication tool to reduce energy consumption during peak demand by urging occupants to take action, such as setting computers to hibernation mode before leaving for a meeting.

Lastly, the interface layer displays building information, including graphical data. Data visualizations are a key component to energy management transparency, as these graphical elements may help translate a so-called “data dump” for a general audience. This effectively allows the occupant to understand the impacts of their energy use and could positively influence their behavior.

This may also dramatically impact the bottom line, as energy savings achieved by occupants’ behavioral changes could be as high as 25%, according to NREL.

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