NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, March 16, 2015 – Virginia Tech’s Advanced Research Institute has been awarded nearly $2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to continue research and development of its Building Energy Management Open Source Software for commercial buildings 50,000 square feet or less in size.
These buildings, which fall outside the scope of most commercial building automation systems, account for more than 90 percent of commercial buildings in the United States and 50 percent of the energy consumed each year.
“Buildings 100,000 square feet and larger can afford to install building energy management systems up front because the incremental cost is relatively small and the opportunity for energy savings is high,” explained Saifur Rahman, the Joseph R. Loring Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and director of the Advanced Research Institute, located at the Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington. “However, smaller buildings do not benefit because vendors don’t find the market big or profitable enough to make it affordable for them.”
The Virginia Tech open source alternative software platform – which will work from a tablet, smartphone, or computer – is a good alternative for small and medium-sized commercial buildings, Rahman said, “because it serves as a backbone for improving and interconnecting automation systems for major building components.”