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The challenge

Improving efficiency of buildings

Buildings are responsible for more than a third of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and have been identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as the largest and most cost-effective sector for achieving reductions.

Our response

Developing smart management systems

The system intelligently alters the operation of a building's HVAC control system according to settings for cost savings, occupant comfort and energy efficiency.

To do this, the CSIRO OptiCOOL technology, as commercialised by BuildingIQ, uses feedback from occupants submitted online – saying whether they are too hot or too cold. The intelligent air-conditioning controller, which can be fitted onto any existing HVAC control system, then uses this data, weather data, energy market pricing to alter the operation of the building's air-conditioning to:

  • reduce energy consumption
  • reduce greenhouse gases
  • save money
  • increase productivity through
  • improved staff comfort.

[Upbeat music plays and a question mark appears on screen, it moves to the side and numbers, increasing from 5 % to 31 %, play on screen]

Narrator: There’s one kind of manmade object that is responsible for a third of energy related greenhouse gas emissions and they’re also tipped to be the largest and cheapest source of reductions in emissions.

[Image changes to show a row of question marks that turn to reveal a picture of each of the items the narrator mentions below]

It’s not cars, ships or planes, it’s buildings, specifically the commercial air-conditioning and heating requirements that keep us comfortable.

[Image changes to show a row of buildings, all with cooling systems on the roof. Six faces pop out of the windows of the buildings and alternate between a sad and smiling face]

To work toward reducing this huge energy demand we created a system called OptiCOOl, which was then commercialized as BuildingIQ.

[Image changes to show a bar graph with three columns representing low energy efficiency and high energy consumption and cost rates of current cooling systems]

[Image changes to show a bar graph with three columns now representing high energy efficiency and low energy consumption and cost rates of the BuildingIQ cooling system]

It’s an air-conditioning control system that increases energy efficiency, lowers energy consumption by up to 30 per cent and saves money.

[An animation of the effectiveness of the BuildingIQ system plays out on screen, with representative icons of each of the things the narrator explains below appearing on screen]

BuildingIQ attaches to any existing commercial heating, ventilation and air-conditioning control system and intelligently monitors and adjusts building conditions based on real-time information such as weather data, energy pricing, comfort models and real-time feedback from the building occupants, who can say, online, if they’re too hot or too cold.

[Image changes to show a bar graph where the lines are decreasing or increasing depending on which dot point the narrator is referring to – decreasing for energy consumption, costs and greenhouse gases and increasing for productivity and comfort]

It results in reduced energy consumption, lower costs, reduced greenhouse gases and increased productivity through improved occupant comfort.

[Image changes to show a world map, Sydney is marked out with a red dot and dashes move across the ocean and land on a section labeled New York]

BuildingIQ is being used in a range of buildings from a hospital in Sydney, to the Rockefeller Centre in New York.

[Image changes to show an outline of the U.S. in the colours of their flag. This picture turns into rows of money representing the increasing dollar figure that’s counting upwards from 1-billion dollars to 26-billion dollars]

The U.S. building market spends about 26-billion dollars on energy every year; BuildingIQ could reduce that by ten per cent, a saving of 2.6-billion dollars.

[Image changes to show rows of buildings with the BuildingIQ logo appearing on all of them]

Once again, CSIRO has developed and led to market a new product that cannot only improve the world around us, but save money, too.

[CSIRO logo appears on screen with text: Australia’s innovation catalyst]

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The results

Installation in iconic buildings

BuildingIQ is helping building owners across Australia and the United States to reduce their energy consumption from 12 to 30 per cent.

Argonne National Laboratory (United States) independently tested BuildingIQ and found that the system reduced HVAC energy consumption by up to 45 per cent.

The CSIRO Energy Centre in Newcastle has achieved energy savings of up to 30 per cent using this technology. It is also being used at the Rockefeller Center in New York.

Australian start-up BuildingIQ commercialised the technology in 2009. Four years later, they announced $9m in venture funding, accelerating the technology's uptake. BuildingIQ is now up to 60 million square feet of commercial real estate coverage.

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