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Flip the switch on heating and lighting costs

Posted By Karin Kloosterman On November 26, 2012 @ 12:00 am In Energy | No Comments

About 20 percent of the operational expenses in office buildings, schools and hospitals goes toward energy — HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and electricity. Usually a default temperature is set for all year round, and the HVAC system and lights stay on even in unused rooms.

Now an Israeli company Beemtech aims to keep managers aware of how the space is being used in order to control the temperature and lighting more efficiently, and reduce costs dramatically, says CEO Nati Freiberg.

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“Overall, our number one goal is to provide high energy savings for commercial buildings — non-residential schools, hospitals, you name it –– by nearly half. In lighting alone we have six strategies,” Frieberg tells ISRAEL21c.

Beemtech’s smart sensor system, which requires very little rewiring, monitors in real time what spaces are being used and by how many people. Is it too bright or too hot in the room? If the HVAC is turned off in half the building, how will this affect the other side?

Access to this data could enable better decisions on how to control the heating, cooling, lighting, and even how frequently the rooms need to be cleaned, explains Frieberg, who believes many companies and organizations are wasteful and ignorant about their energy consumption.

Beemtech is now in full sales mode in Israel and New York, where it is running two pilot sites and wooing customers.

Controlled individually, remotely

Using small sensors that can measure carbon dioxide levels from breathing, movement, temperature and a range of other programmable parameters, Beemtech either sends alerts or automatically adjusts heating, cooling and lighting.

People using the space also have their say: Those authorized can use their smart phones to answer surveys about the comfort levels of lighting and temperature in their private or shared space, so that settings can be adjusted accordingly.

Lights on in empty offices are a big money waster. Image via Shutterstock.

Beemtech is also starting to work with energy savings companies so that clients can reduce and report their carbon footprint savings. This is especially relevant for companies that want to improve their sustainability reports and public image.

The cost of a system setup and maintenance depends on the scale: Over 10 years, it will cost about one year’s worth of energy savings, plus about 10 percent of annual energy savings for ongoing management and support that the company provides.

Improving green images

Beemtech is an 18-person company headquartered in the Science Park in Rehovot, a satellite city about a 40-minute drive from Tel Aviv. It also has an office in Manhattan. The company has been privately funded until now, but seeks $5 million to $10 million in order to put its smart sensors into mass production.

Beemtech is currently installing a system for a 10,000-square-foot office building in Ra’anana, Israel. This space will require about 80 sensors to gather “huge amounts of information” says Frieberg.

“If they have 200 meeting rooms, it is most likely that 80% of these rooms are empty most of the time. We can know how to manage every 100 square feet and can reduce costs by telling facility managers how to manage them.”

Urban planners and architects, he notes, can use information collected by Beemtech to better understand how spaces are really being used. Are open-concept offices working for a firm, or are employees scurrying to private meeting rooms instead? Does the new floor really need to be renovated or can office staff be moved to unused meeting rooms?

“It’s a bit funny that organizations spend so much money to control their assets like cars and computers, but energy, which is 20% of their budget for operation expenditures, is not done. We can promise to cut energy usage by 30 or 40 percent,” says Frieberg.

*If heating and lighting costs are out of control in your office, Beemtech can help. Image via Shutterstock

Lights on in empty offices are a big money waster. Image via Shutterstock.

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