Intelligent efficiency for new homes and buildings
Monday, June 30, 2014
According to economist Jeremy Rifkin, we are right on the brink of a new revolution based on the dynamic convergence of telecommunications, mobile technology, the Internet and energy. Rifkin calls this the "new economic paradigm for the 21st century," which will completely change the way we communicate, live and do business.
What this has also done is create a definitive path for building energy efficiency by utilizing emerging technologies to harness the untapped energy resource of every building and structure. Increasing awareness and concern for the environment has brought forth new ideas to help the planet. Along with experts, common folks are also focused on energy efficiency in homes and offices.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), buildings account for more than 40 percent of total U.S. energy consumption. While commercial buildings constitute for 50 percent of this consumption figure, residences too have upped their energy needs and consumption recently.
There is a need for serious efforts to curb and lessen this rise in consumption, which is being increasingly reflected in the energy efficiency goals across industries. As Rifkin pointed out, we are standing on the verge of a revolution where big data and real-time analytics will combine with Web-based monitoring to prevent wastage and tap the potential of each building into an energy-saving opportunity.
Energy efficiency has graduated from the conservation-based efforts of yore where a discrete improvement in devices was thought to be enough. Today it is more information-driven, which puts the power of doing the right thing into the hands of consumers — homeowners as well as businesses. They can choose to conserve, preserve and use energy in an intelligent manner to help the environment around them and create wealth in a more responsible manner.
Since they are using data at hand to make informed decision, these efforts are now called "intelligent efficiency." New tools are emerging every day to aid in the increasing integration, offering sophisticated and proactive systems to uncover and target more energy efficiency opportunities.
Another key driver that has propelled the need for intelligent efficiency is the need for foolproof security. Feeling safe has a whole new meaning in the context of the increasingly isolated society we live in. Security brings with it a sense of peace and relief that definitely improves one's quality of life.
Therefore, the latest security systems do more than just provide a burglar alarm. They provide smoke, fire and water alarms along with intelligent sensors that will control the appliances, lights, thermostats and other gadgets based on occupancy.
The convergence means a direct and constant communication between the building and user through mobile technology and Internet. With this technology in place, users can control their environment effectively, enjoy improved convenience and comfort and experience optimum energy efficiency in an intelligent home or building meant to fit the modern lifestyle perfectly.
According to Andrew Chen, managing director at Boston Community Venture Fund (BCVF), we are perfectly poised to harness the energy potential of our existing resources, which is why the building efficiency field is now more promising than ever. Builders have anticipated the demand and now more new homes have intelligent efficiency packages bundled with them to lure in the smart buyer.
Initial progress has been slow as cost was thought to be a major factor, but Web-based analytics platforms and the proliferation of advanced mobile devices have lowered data acquisition costs. This has led to possibilities of higher wealth creation, which Chen says is a definitive driver for more businesses and builders opting for energy efficiency for their buildings.
Intelligent efficiency for new homes and buildings will lead to lower financing costs in anticipation of lower future bills and operational savings. In fact, building operating expenses can now be better controlled, and in the long run create a veritable asset with a premium price attached to it.
Awareness has led to increasing demand for the same from consumers and the supply of new intelligent homes by builders who want to tap this growing market right away.
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