Pulse Monitoring Software Keeps Building Energy Savings Locked In

It appears that our neighbors to the North could teach us a few lessons in greensmanship.

Take BC Hydro, for example, the utility company that, concerned about energy consumption in large commercial buildings, has offered $8 million to companies for the purchase of energy management technologies for buildings of 50,000 sq. ft. or more.

One of the players in this Continuous Optimization Program is Vancouver-based Pulse Energy Inc. “We see ourselves as an energy information company,” says Pulse founder David Helliwell who launched the company in 2006. Pulse, which benefited from $7 million in Canadian government funding last year alone, has seen their business grow rapidly. They install a combination of hardware and software that connects any type of metering hardware or building automation system to a web-based application which allows building managers instant access to their building’s energy performance vital signs. This, in turn, alerts managers, immediately if any aspect of the building’s energy performance requires attention. I couldn’t resist sharing this little video commercial, which, according to the company, features Bill Ding.

One happy customer, a large real estate developer, who reduced energy consumption by 18% last year said, “Being able to identify when problems happen in your buildings is a huge advantage. There’s also a good tenant engagement tool that allows tenants to be responsible for their energy consumption, too.”

The company’s Venue Energy Tracker was used at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games where they saved a record-breaking 906 MWh of energy over the 17-day program, making them the most energy-efficient Olympics since the days of the ancient Greeks.

After the Pulse™ system is hooked up to the building’s energy innards, the software provide several useful functions: benchmarking, analytics and meter data archive. See demo.

The benchmarking function, accesses a database of similar buildings to determine how a given building is performing relative to its peers. It can also compare a building’s performance to itself at an earlier time. Any parameter that falls outside of expectations become a red flag to be investigated.

The analytics provides advanced metrics and modeling that predicts how the building is expected to perform under the current conditions. It allows users to predict the benefit of making modifications and also shows how the building would have performed if certain modifications had not been made. This is useful for tracking the payback of energy retrofits.

Finally, the Meter Data Archive provides a complete and detailed history of the building’s energy performance metrics, which can be invaluable for both monitoring the current performance for irregularities, and for tracking the improvements that have been made over time.

Considering the fact that buildings are responsible for 48% of greenhouse gas emissions, it is clear that programs like this can have a huge beneficial impact.

RP Siegel PE, is the Executive Director of Cool Rochester and co-author of Vapor Trails.

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RP Siegel

RP Siegel, author and inventor, shines a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. His publications include business and technical articles as well as books. His third, co-authored with Roger Saillant, is Vapor Trails, an adventure novel about sustainability. RP is a professional engineer - a prolific inventor with 52 patents and President of Rain Mountain LLC a an independent product development group. He is also active in his community of Rochester, NY. A regular contributor to Mechanical Engineering magazine, RP recently returned from Abu Dhabi where he traveled as the winner to the 2015 Sustainability Week blogging competition.. Follow @RPSiegel on Twitter. Contact: bobolink52@gmail.com