MN Energy Smart

Smart Buildings, Smart Businesses

The latest generation of smart technologies and interconnected systems are raising the energy I.Q. of commercial buildings. Companies are taking advantage of these innovations, putting them to work to raise energy efficiency and reduce overhead costs.

Commercial facilities are being retrofitted with technologies that respond to changes in occupancy, usage, weather, and even utility rates to maximize energy efficiency. A must-read new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) tells all. It’s loaded with information about the types of smart solutions available, and the potential savings you can realize by implementing them. And it includes plenty of case studies that illustrate just how all this works.

Here are a few of the smart technologies ACEEE highlights for improving building efficiency.

  1. Smart heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems use sensors to optimize efficiency, particularly useful during peak demand periods when energy may cost more, while also creating a more comfortable space for occupants. They can also minimize energy use in unoccupied areas, and detect faults in the HVAC system.
  2. Smart lighting systems use advanced sensors and controls that adjust for daylight, efficiently directing artificial light to dark or unoccupied spaces and dimming it in areas with plenty of daylight. They can be integrated with comprehensive, scheduled, and responsive lighting management systems that nevertheless offer users the ability to control lighting when needed.
  3. Auto-controlled power strips and plug load controls tame the wasted energy that office equipment, computers, and appliances gobble up when not in use. They use timed scheduling, motion sensors, and load detectors to cut power to equipment that is sitting idle.
  4. Automated window shading systems can save money on lighting and Using high-tech glazes and films, along with auto-controlled window shades, they control light levels and solar heat gain—great for buildings with single-paned or untinted windows.

Individual smart technologies have even greater potential for energy efficiency when networked together into a web-based energy management platform that monitors and optimizes whole-building performance. Usage and performance data is collected and analyzed automatically, and is then used to adjust and anticipate actions to increase efficiencies. Coordinating these systems can be done onsite by building operators, or by hiring a third-party energy services management company to handle it for you.

Why aren’t all buildings fitted with smart technologies for saving energy? For many, upfront costs are a barrier to making energy upgrades. That’s why Energy Smart’s staff members are helping organizations in Minnesota to investigate available grants, low-cost loans, and rebates for which their projects may qualify, and moving energy efficiency upgrades forward.

The sooner your company introduces smart building technologies, the sooner your building can start working for you, returning measurable energy savings. Contact Energy Smart today by calling (651) 292-3902 or We are available to provide guidance and expertise for making energy plans become reality.


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