While building automation systems can reduce energy use and improve occupant comfort, most commercial buildings in the U.S. are too small to use traditional BAS systems. The DOE is looking to change that by awarding the Virginia Polytechnic and State University Advanced Research Institute almost $2 million to continue developing its Building Energy Management Open Source Software.
The project is designed to help small (less than 5,000 square feet) and medium-sized buildings (up to 50,000 square feet) better control their energy use by developing a free open-source program to manage energy use and allow building components to connect and communicate. The software will be able to communicate with HVAC, lighting, water heating systems, and significant ancillary loads.
The new system will also offer scalability, plug and play, robust design, and open protocol, in addition to local and remote monitoring. This interoperability will allow devices from different manufacturers to communicate, helping buildings to operate more efficiently.
Current goals for the project include ensuring that operators can easily monitor and control the system from a tablet, smartphone, or computer, as well as dramatically cutting the cost of system maintenance and installation.