A significant number of buildings are considered energy wasteful resulting in environmental and economic problems for residents. Outdated buildings require much more electricity and heating fuel, which increases the use of fossil fuels, carbon emissions and energy use by residents. A Hungarian software development company, Grape Solutions is set to utilise building energy more efficiently.
While many buildings do not meet national and EU energy efficiency standards, the increased number of renovations and upgrades in recent years shows that people are willing to reduce energy waste with sustainable architecture, the installation of solar energy to reduce energy dependency, or through software, where data analytics can reduce building maintenance costs.
Investments to improve the energy efficiency of buildings (office buildings, public institutions, shopping and logistics centres) often involve practices such as insulation with sustainable materials, installation of modern cooling and heating equipment, or long-life LED lighting, but the digital revolution is already enabling the elimination of energy waste through software solutions. These systems improve the energy efficiency not only of new buildings but also of buildings commissioned before the 2000s. Besides existing building management systems (BMS), property owners can optimise cooling, heating and lighting with smart sensors according to current needs. The use of such systems will result in significant energy and cost savings for the building owner in the long term.
“We have found that building management systems alone do not provide a comprehensive solution for detecting energy-wasting areas but require the ability to adapt the software to the internal and external characteristics of the building and to create energy-efficient automation,” said Sándor Kerekes, consultant for software energy solutions at Grape Solutions Plc.
Grape Solutions’ Erbor solution takes into account the external and internal environmental characteristics of a building, creating control systems in the building’s operation that, by detecting changes in the environment, automatically increase the efficient use of energy in the room without human intervention, reducing the overall building operation costs associated with energy prices. “The weather forecasting functionality built into the software automatically detects that no more energy is needed to cool a room to 22 Celsius degrees if the temperature inside the building will also drop within an hour due to the external environment. It also constantly perceives the number of people in the room and, aware of the predicted heat output per person, does not heat the building to full capacity, as the crowd inside is partly doing this,” he explained.
The building energy software can be connected to the existing building management system under controlled conditions and can be fully decoupled from areas affecting critical business infrastructure (for example, production line equipment, alarms, fire alarms).
“We are currently running pilot projects with several partners, involving energy auditors to analyze the data collected by Erbor, and then, in areas where energy losses are detected, we will create a specific set of rules to reduce the energy consumption of the device or group of devices,” he added.
Their estimation shows that significant energy savings can be achieved by using building energy management software. For modern buildings, energy consumption can be reduced by up to 5-15 per cent, while for buildings more than 10 years old, even higher savings of up to 15-30 per cent can be achieved. Modernisation requires a significant investment for buildings over 15-20 years old, as existing equipment and systems need to be replaced. However, the simultaneous implementation of a software solution can cut investment costs significantly, making it attractive for those who previously found it financially more difficult to invest in building energy improvements.
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