Quick Energy Efficiency News…Phone App to Navigate City Traffic Efficiently…Storage witout Solar in Homes…BP Group’s New Building Play

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Washington, DC traffic jam. Credit: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Quick energy efficiency news For August 18, 2015…

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory reports that it will be  the lead organization in developing a tool to help us get through a city in the most energy-efficient way.

“Using real-time traffic and GPS data, along with simulations that take into account demographic information and trips via ride-sharing programs, the Connected Traveler project will move beyond existing transportation studies that look at only roads and drivers,” said Alex Schroeder,  NREL Transportation Technology Deployment Manager.

People will adjust travel plans if they have current data and incentives to act on the information, Schroeder said

Travelers will be given information via smart phone on more efficient travel options at any given time. Options might include a change in travel time or route, mass transit, carpools, or an alternate destination.

NREL will be working with several university and industry partners to create the tool as part of the Connected Traveler Project, funded partially with $1.6 million from the federal Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. Participating organizations and universities are funding the remainder of the project’s expense. NREL will also receive project support from the Colorado Energy Office.

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The Glasgow Electric Plant Board in Southern Kentucky plans to install Sunverge Energy’s smart energy storage – without solar — in homes to cut emissions during periods of peak demand.

The municipally owned utility, which serves a town of 14,000, wants to reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent. The Sunverge system, to be installed in 165 homes, provides utility-grade storage at individual homes along with software “in the cloud” to manage that storage.

The devices will capture power from the electric grid at night or when demand and cost are lower. When demand peaks and costs are higher, the utility will order the batteries to release that power and distribute it to its customers, reducing the need to supply additional power from traditional generating plants.

“Glasgow is our first customer to use distributed storage without solar to create significant network value,” said Ken Munson, co-founder and CEO of Sunverge Energy. “While many of our installations are in tandem with the use of solar panels, our technology offers the same reliability, cost savings and emissions reductions regardless of the source of the power. Glasgow is a pioneer and should serve as a model for other utilities that serve rural or isolated communities, where intelligent storage can play an important role when generation options are limited and where there are frequent weather-related power disruptions.”

In addition to reducing the emissions that would be created by peak generation at those plants, the Sunverge systems also reduce the cost of generating that power, resulting in savings to customers, according to the utility.  The installations also have the potential to provide a reliable source of backup electric power to customers should storms or other events disrupt service on the grid.

The Glasgow team includes partnerships with University of Louisville Research Foundation; Move the Peak; Virtual Peaker; and Strata G. The homes use ecobee smart thermostats and GE energy efficient hot water heaters, which work in harmony with EPB’s need for peak load contro

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“How much of the data that companies or organizations store is actually being used to create better outcomes or better decisions or better anything?” asked Dell founder Michael Dell at SXSW Interactive Festival.

The BP Group has been clearly wondering that too. This week it announced an Integrated Building Technologies division to serve real estate owners.

What is Integrated Building Technologies? The BP Group says that it encompasses a full cycle approach to increasing efficiency, connecting intelligent buildings, HVAC maintenance, and analytics; all helping decode issues, pinpoint savings, implement superior systems, and stay ahead of maintenance with hard data, said the company in a news release.

BT unleashes a building’s potential by turning data and predictive analytics into easy to interpret, actionable reports, the company said. It identifies savings and offers preventative maintenance alerts through a building management system and real time monitoring. Fact based energy efficiency improvements and data serve to lower operational and maintenance expenses. And improved airflow boosts productivity for tenants, the company says.

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