Smart approach to smart buildings

Using real-time data to encourage energy-efficient decisions

A new pilot program will demonstrate how energy-use data can transform the efficiency of Chicago buildings.

EDF, the Accelerate Group, and Illinois’ largest utility, ComEd, have launched a new collaboration to inform and incentivize energy-efficient decisions in large buildings, with the potential to cut harmful pollution and save businesses money.

Using data from smart meters and sub-meters, which monitor the electrical consumption of equipment within a building, the Smart Building Operations Pilot aims to change the daily habits of large building operators. By uniquely combining real-time information, hour-by-hour energy-use targets, and financial incentives, the pilot will motivate building operators to make more energy-efficient choices.

The Smart Building Operations program will empower building managers with the tools and incentives to unlock smarter energy use, resulting in less pollution and a healthier Chicago.

Andrew Barbeau Senior clean energy consultant

How the pilot works

Participating buildings will implement the following program pieces:

  • Information: Collect and display interval energy-use data in real-time or near-real-time, providing direct feedback to a building operator on the energy impact of his or her actions.
  • Interpretation: Calculate an energy-use baseline, against which performance will be tracked daily and over the course of a month. To encourage behavior change, building operators will receive alerts when energy use exceeds or is expected to exceed the baseline.
  • Motivation: The program will provide an achievable and meaningful incentive to improve against the baseline and exceed energy efficiency targets.

Buildings will receive up to $5,000 up-front to cover any needed software or hardware, as well as a payment of $.05 per kilowatt hour saved in comparison to the baseline. Building operators will keep logs of activities to understand the changes they make to meet the baseline, and may compete against each other to meet and exceed goals.

Buildings interested in joining the pilot or learning more should contact Andrew Barbeau or Ellen Bell for a program walkthrough.