Green IT

Scheduling To Reduce Energy Consumption

An interview with John Anderson

Recently PeopleCube, a provider of on-demand workplace and resource management technology and Building Sustainability LTD (BSL), a company offering energy-efficient building solutions, announced that they have integrated PeopleCube's Resource Scheduler with BSL's Footprint Tracker energy consumption and carbon emissions tracking solution. CT interviewed PeopleCube President and CEO John Anderson to find out how the partnership can help institutions reduce their carbon footprint.

 
CT: PeopleCube has announced the integration of their Resource Scheduler workspace scheduling product with Building Sustainability's Footprint Tracker energy consumption and carbon emissions tracking application. Could you tell me a little about the partnership of the two companies? What are the key reasons you are integrating your products?

Anderson: Each company has developed a key piece of technology that can assist with the global concern of reducing carbon emissions, by focusing on reduction of energy consumption by facilities at companies or universities. BSL has developed the dashboard side, which allows you to interface into a building management system and report, down to the minute, consumption of energy in heating, lighting, and air conditioning. And PeopleCube has developed a scheduling application that allows you to take that to another level - for example, in terms of controlling when a room or a floor or a building is not scheduled, to be able to send messaging back to a building management system to turn the heating, lighting, or air conditioning off or down.

We had been investigating building something ourselves [at PeopleCube] and had started down that path, when we were introduced to BSL in the UK. We determined that by combining our two technologies we could get into the marketplace 12 to 18 months sooner than we could on our own. That became one of the driving forces towards putting together our relationship.

CT: Could you describe some of the new functionalities of the integrated applications?

Anderson: Well, think of GoogleMaps, and let's say you're on a campus. There are buildings on the campus represented by dots on the map. If you are a facilities manager on campus you could click on one of those dots and get a view of that building or visual of all of the buildings that you are responsible for. And it could give you an up-to-the-minute representation of the energy being consumed, for example, by a group of buildings. On that same dashboard I could have a view of the carbon that we're emitting as a total campus.

You could click on any one of those dots and look at an individual building. And you could continue to drill down, right to a floor, or an area on a floor and look at the energy consumption using your dashboard view. You could compare that to last week or last month, or last year, for comparison purposes.

As I noted earlier, you can take all of that to the next level by integrating PeopleCube's scheduling technology. So, for example, if someone had a building scheduled from 8 to 11 for classes, but then it was unscheduled until 3, you could send a signal back to the building management controller to turn the heat down and the lights off after 11 - until, say, 10 minutes before the next set of classes at 3.

CT: Is the dashboard Web-based?

Anderson: Yes, both products are Web-based and are sold via on-demand service.

And as we build out the technology we'll have an intelligent scheduling application, along with the interface to the building management system. So, you can optimize the footprint of energy consumption on your campus. With a scheduling technology you could optimize energy use of any building or floor.

CT: Will customers have the ability to produce the kinds of reports that will help them comply with regulatory requirements? Does the system provide both real time and cumulative reporting?

Anderson: Yes. And the first thing you are going to have to do is to understand the baseline of what you're doing today. So, the first thing Footprint Tracker would provide you is the ability to establish your baseline energy usages. Then your reporting going forward would allow you to establish your progress against that. That is, you can compare your actuals to what you did last year to show that you are meeting your objectives as a university to reduce your carbon footprint.


About the Author

Mary Grush is Editor and Conference Program Director, Campus Technology.

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