“Smart building” retrofit yields benefits beyond energy savings

When making the case for energy efficiency, the argument typically involves highlighting how investing into more sustainable lifestyles can significantly cut back on utility expenses and yield impressive long-term savings on energy bills. But, as Greentech Media reports, sometimes the benefits of going green can go beyond just saving more money over time

According to the source, Honeywell recently finished a $2 million "smart building" project in the Spring Creek Towers apartment complex of Brooklyn, New York. The 46-building complex spans nearly 5,900 units and includes a wealth of renewable energy sources including a central cogeneration facility that converts gas and oil into high-pressure steam, which is backed up by a number of secondary plants. As a result, the complex is entirely disconnected from the main electrical grid.

The new retrofit installed a building management system that tracks patterns of energy usage, which can be used to both determine efficiency and find ways to improve it for the future.

"They can, in real time, measure the supply and return temperatures to the apartments and understand whether the system is doing its job efficiently," Greg Turner, the Vice President of Global Offerings for Honeywell Building Solutions, told Greentech Media. "You can use energy efficiency data to decide on capital improvements."

In other words, by analyzing just how much energy consumption is necessary to keep the buildings running, managers can save significantly on the amount of power appropriated for the complex and at a value that far outweighs the savings that normal efficiency upgrades would help yield. 

Virginia homeowners who would like to hop on the green bandwagon are encouraged to meet with Virginia home inspectors to get an energy audit performed on their property. This process can help you understand how your home may be wasting energy and what steps can taken to improve efficiency.