Like Kids in a Candy Store: Why Logical Buildings Gets a Sugar Rush from Energy-Saving Technologies
By: Abhay Ambati, Chief of Building Technology Services at Logical Buildings, Sylvie Binder, Smart Building and Grid Analytics Account Executive, and Piper Fialkoff, Customer Success Specialist
“We are like a metaphorical kid in the candy shop, trying out enticing new technologies in real buildings, learning which technologies we like, and those which are fickle. We sample new technologies as they inevitably change and improve, adjusting our clients’ building protocols and providing them with the best the market has to offer.”
— Abhay Ambati, Chief of Building Technology Services at Logical Buildings
At Logical Buildings, we believe that energy efficiency solutions to climate change are pretty sweet. Pun intended. That’s because, in the grand scheme of total decarbonization, roughly 40% of emissions come from what are called “demand side emissions,” or emissions from existing building stock carbon footprints. These emissions come from electricity and gas use — from the biggest building portfolios to the tiniest of apartments — from the time of day you turn on the air-conditioning and heating system to even the type of toaster you use. Each day brings more innovation in decarbonization technology, and you can bet we are one of the first in line to get the latest scoop!
Building a Sustainable Sweet of Technology
With mounting pressure to decarbonize the built environment, it’s no wonder individuals and businesses alike can feel overwhelmed, especially when it seems like the number of new products is just as endless as jellybean flavors. Innovation necessitates trial and error, and as such, Logical Building’s services have changed over time. For over ten years, we have tested dozens of different types of building sensors, worked with electric and gas utilities nationwide — including Con Edison, PSEG, and National Grid — to upgrade client meters and service classes to customize their energy bill, and applied state-of-the-art smart building technologies to building-specific needs.
First, we address low- to no-cost solutions through analysis of utility bill data, Green Button meter data, and revenue-generating Grid program participation. Secondly, we work with building managers and real estate companies to take stock of existing appliances and building systems. We use low-cost IOT sensors and actuators, which allow us to analyze the data and effectuate real change in the energy footprint of buildings. Finally, we put the data to further use for sustainability reporting, energy budgeting, energy procurement, and DER (Distributed Energy Resources) utilizing insertions such as batteries, wind, HVAC controls, cogeneration, and additional tools, which puts the buildings on the path of perpetual carbon reduction.
And for new construction, we provide in-depth pre-development services and advise on enabling solid connectivity, load flexibility, grid program participation, and green building certification enablement. Through constant monitoring and evaluation, we guide clients towards full system connectivity and decarbonization.
Exploring the Candyland of Sustainable Building Technology
While we may have our favorite candy bars and go-to sensors, we are always hungry to try something new. From the company’s inception, Logical Buildings has focused on bringing the latest in cutting-edge technologies into our building decarbonization and sustainability product suite. As such, our clients have been at the forefront of sustainability and smart building tech for years, be it through the physical installation of AMI electricity meter upgrades, smart sensors for energy, water quality, and air quality, heat pumps and heat pump dryers or water heaters, state-of-the-art air conditioning, or the utilization of data connectivity technologies such as building-wide WiFi, ZigBee, Zwave, and LoRaWAN networks in concert with our connectivity partner Comcast, whose new Comcast Smart Solutions team is dedicated exclusively to architecting smart technology solutions that improve both building management and constituent experience.
We Have a Confection to Make…
Though we are primarily a demand-side company, we also think holistically about the energy system. Energy markets are rapidly changing, becoming more democratic and transparent as people around the globe take charge of their energy intake. This fluidity in a system that had previously been a traditional case of linear supply and demand has opened the door to countless new avenues in energy distribution and procurement, case in point being the proliferation of the Virtual Power Plant (VPP) and new battery energy storage systems.
By enabling clients to control their consumption via the provision of real-time energy data and insights, we’ve allowed them to dip their toes into supplying energy to the grid through onsite batteries and, when possible, clean energy installations, as well as their own household and community. These onsite energy generation and storage opportunities greatly increase supply-side energy efficiency since they eliminate the inherent inefficiencies in electricity transmission.
Yes, We Can(dy), and We Are!
The tragedy of the kid in the candy shop is being limited by the “rational” adult insistence on moderation. So naturally, every child dreams of the day where they, the little guy, have full control over their sugar consumption. Quite unfortunately for them, their dream would wreak havoc on both their bodies and society. Children would rapidly oscillate between bouncing off the walls with energy and sugar-crashing. Parents everywhere would be ripping their hair out from the stress. And worst of all, Big Candy stands to profit.
But luckily for us, Logical Building’s dream of reducing energy use and decarbonizing the built environment is more than attainable for the average energy consumer through strategic planning and insight. They get to have their candy and eat it too. Our suite of solutions serves society at large rather than traditional utilities and fossil fuel companies as we implement new technologies that reduce energy use, cost, grid congestion, and carbon emissions all at once. A true win-win for our clients and the utility alike.
Tackling climate change through building decarbonization is serious and important work, but it can — and should — be exciting too! Now that we’ve shown you how energy efficiency gives us a sugar rush, we’d love to share our expertise with you. Feel free to send us an email to hear more about our services and how they can help you further your sustainability and smart building goals. We’d love to hear from you!
Heat Pumps: The Razzles of Heating and Cooling Systems
Candy-store visits often come with a budget, one that the savviest of visitors must learn to stretch to get the most out of their confection purchases. The same can be said for initial investments in new technology: we want to find the most efficient, most versatile pieces to ensure our built environment is created with energy efficiency and sustainability in mind, but if costs are going to be high, the new tech should be as cross-functional can be! Like a Razzle — candy and gum all rolled into one.
Heat pumps are revving up to be the biggest star in the cross-functional, cost-effective, and less carbon-intensive scene. They work by pulling heat out of indoor air to cool your home, and in colder months, by pulling heat from outdoor air and bringing it inside. Not only do they combine the need for multiple heating and cooling systems into one product, but they’re also entirely electric — no extra fossil fuel burning required!
The Internet of Things (IoT): Your Candyland Map and Guide
Communication has never been a straight line, nor will it ever be. But the closer we are to that easy, clear path, the closer we are to understanding and carving new and even better paths. Maybe that new path will also lead us to ice cream. You never know.
The Internet of Things is like the most detailed collection of roads and trails, all highlighted and color-coded to get you to the exact location you’ve been searching for, with everything you could want to know about that location — like whether it has ice cream and what flavors are in season. Simply put, IoT is a network — a way for physical objects to communicate with each other and their users seamlessly and at lightning speeds. By outfitting everyday devices and industrial machines with a host of sensors and software, we can monitor, adjust, and learn.