NREL develops building energy management software

A new software application created by the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) could improve the efficiency of commercial buildings by allowing occupants to interact with buildings more directly.

The Building Agent application allows facility managers to quickly diagnose and adjust for problems based on direct occupant comfort feedback. Occupants are able to share this feedback via the application dashboard on their desktop computers.

With 25 percent of a building's energy performance directly related to occupant behavior, this capability can result in a step toward helping buildings become more cost effective and energy efficient.

Additionally, the application provides aggregated data on electric energy, thermal energy, internal temperatures, humidity and lighting levels.

The software has four key layers: hardware, databases, visualizations and applications. Based on both modeled and measured data, the software provides intuitive visualizations of energy use and comfort, which are critical for establishing building performance relative to expectations. These capabilities help facility managers and occupants understand the overall comfort and energy performance for an entire building.

By presenting data in context to what the building or system should be doing at any given time, the software provides facility managers with the information needed to locate problems and make knowledge-based decisions quickly for improved building performance.

NREL is the DOE's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC.

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