How often have you sat at your desk—at work, in school, at a computer lab—and felt uncomfortable with your indoor environment? Is air too warm and stuffy, or too cold to concentrate? Even worse, the reason we often feel too hot in the winter and too cold in the summer is because of HVAC systems that are wasting energy by over-conditioning the building. While building automation systems (BAS) that deal with these problems have existed for a long time, they currently do not take advantage of the Internet technologies that transformed many other computing domains—and that are user-friendly for office workers, students, and general public alike.
To deal with this dilemma, CollabWorx— known for its signature Web-based real-time collaborative workspaces—has developed a smart building control product that reduces energy costs and increases energy efficiency, improves indoor air quality, increases worker productivity, and creates personalized climate-control environments—all based on the premise that one can build a functional prototype of a BAS assembled exclusively from open-source Internet-based elements. Says Project Investigator Dr. Marek Podgorny, “I am very grateful to the Syracuse Center of Excellence for financial and intellectual support for the project. Technically, we wanted to demonstrate that open-source software technologies can be used to implement all elements of a control system, including internal system communications. This approach allowed us to lower costs of the system so that the product becomes affordable to small businesses and suitable for residential buildings. It creates a new market niche that we expect to fill while creating green jobs in Upstate New York, with significant energy savings as an important bonus.”
Findings of the project have been conclusive; the Web-based BAS offers a nontrivial technological advantage over current proprietary industrial solutions and a sustainable foundation for future collaborative development of Smart Building software by academic and industrial consortia and alliances. In addition, the modular design of the system permits replacement of any of its components by a proprietary or simply different implementation. Presently CollabWorx is working on demonstrating the technology at the SyracuseCoE headquarters building, and continuing to make it a commercially viable technology.