WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded the Virginia Polytechnic and State University Advanced Research Institute nearly $2 million to continue research and development of its Building Energy Management Open Source Software (BEMOSS) for small and medium-sized commercial buildings. DOE noted that, currently, small and medium-sized buildings make up over 95 percent of the floor space and about 50 percent of the energy consumed by commercial buildings in the U.S. each year.

Most commercial buildings in the U.S. are small (less than 5,000 square feet) or medium-sized (between 5,000-50,000 square feet), and fall outside the scope of most commercial buildings automation systems (BAS), said DOE.

The goal of this project is to develop an open source solution (similar to Firefox, OpenOffice, or Ubuntu, for example) as a backbone for improving BAS systems, allowing for major building components to interconnect with each other in smaller buildings. This includes HVAC, water heating, lighting, and significant ancillary loads. More interconnection among the systems will help to improve occupant comfort, while reducing energy use and the cost of building ownership and operation.

Virginia Tech is incorporating input from industry to develop the automated building control system that building owners and operators can monitor and control from a tablet, smartphone, or computer. Another goal of the project is to significantly reduce the cost of installing and maintaining the system.

The system also offers scalability, robustness, plug and play, open protocol, interoperability, cost effectiveness, as well as local and remote monitoring. This allows it to work with load control devices from different manufacturers that operate on different communication technologies and protocols. As a result, building components can work together more efficiently, reducing electricity use. Occupant comfort is enhanced because the system can more effectively adjust HVAC and lighting to account for changes in a building’s temperature and lighting levels during the day.

For more information on DOE’s Building Technologies Office and its building energy efficiency initiatives, visit www.buildings.energy.gov.

Publication date: 3/16/2015

Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn today!