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MIT Adds Intelligence to Ventilation Systems

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is trying out an "intelligent" ventilation system as part of a program to reduce electricity usage by 15 percent over the next three years. The institute recently contracted with Aircuity to deploy the company's OptiNet product into its Sloan School of Management and Hayden Library. The Sloan building is expected to qualify for LEED Gold rating by the U.S. Green Building Council, a measure of its sustainable design elements.

The OptiNet system consists of sensors and controls that analyze the building's indoor environment to provide inputs to the building management systems. Those systems in turn make adjustments to the ventilation flow as needed, allowing the facility to optimize airflow as efficiently as possible, based on occupancy, external temperature, and other factors. The project is anticipated to save about $100,000 in total annual energy costs by reducing electrical, heating, and cooling energy use.

In May 2010, MIT and regional utility operator NSTAR announced the "MIT Efficiency Forward" program. The partnership is targeted to reduce energy usage at the campus by 34 million kilowatt hours. The utility company is working with MIT to conduct heating, ventilation, air conditioning, electrical, and lab systems improvements, and lighting fixture and control upgrades, in addition to other steps. Implementation of the Aircuity system is part of those efforts.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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