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Stony Brook University: managing energy with data

Stony Brook University, a New York-based institution, has announced its receipt of a 2020 Innovation Award from Smart Energy Decisions

Stony Brook University, a New York-based institution, has announced its receipt of a 2020 Innovation Award from Smart Energy Decisions

The award was received in recognition for the university’s Office of Energy Management, which has an in-house data analytics platform - a sophisticated tool which pools data from 400 sensor points and utilises a visual heat map to assist visual analysis of the information.  

Able to detect anomalies around the campus quickly and deal with them efficiently, the university’s programme has been in place since 2018. Although initially only configured to monitor electricity usage, the application was soon expanded to heating and cooling. 

Integrating efficiency

The evolution of IoT (internet of things) and analytics software is providing broad opportunities for optimising a building’s consumption of energy.

A significant decision made by Stony Brook was its preference for a bespoke analytical engine, rather than an ‘off-the-peg’ option. Able to link heating alerts with e-mail notifications, the university can alert staff to a problem before it becomes costly. 

Tom Lanzilotta, Campus Sustainability and Energy Manager, stated that creating heat maps for the facility has revolutionised the university’s everyday operations.

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“The building heat maps are used daily to ensure buildings are operating as efficiently as possible and do not drift out of range. We are also using the analytics to confirm the effectiveness of recent campus-wide energy projects,” he explained.

“We’ve already seen savings provided by this program, and it has proven to be an invaluable tool for us and will be going forward.”

Integrating sustainability

In a previous article, CSO Magazine explored Microsoft’s partnership with Schneider Electric and Bentley Systems on the Frasers Tower in Singapore - a building which gives an indication of what the offices, schools and homes of tomorrow might be like:

Citing research from IDC, which estimates that there will be 40bn devices generating close to 80ZB of data by the year 2025, Microsoft is pushing the wider technology and construction industry to take note of the advantages facilitated by digital design and integration. 

The company chose an ideal location to exhibit its new philosophy: Singapore has been recognised as the most sustainable city in Asia and the fourth overall. 

With the adoption of 5G gradually becoming the new industry standard, the possibilities for optimising the sustainability of modern buildings are very exciting and may lead to significant breakthroughs which make ambitious ‘carbon-neutral by 2050’ targets feasible. 

Stony Brook University’s adoption of environmentally-conscious, energy-efficient heat mapping is another example of how our everyday lives can be imbued with a sustainable ideology. 

The mutually beneficial aspects of incorporating data, analytics, technology and sustainability are apparent and could lead to both cost-saving and saving the environment.