Cisco Wants to Transform Energy Demand and Use with Smart Buildings

by | Jul 3, 2009

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smartconnectedcommunityBuilding on its smart-grid initiative announced in May, Cisco Systems has unveiled its Smart Connected Buildings solution, at Cisco Live in San Francisco, as a key component for delivering its vision for Smart+Connected Communities.

The networking equipment giant also rolled out the first Smart Connected Building solution, the Network Building Mediator, which will interconnect and enable building systems such as heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC), lighting, electrical, security, and renewables over the IP network.

According to Cisco, Smart+Connected Communities will enable  building operation managers to monitor, measure and act on energy systems while adding renewable technologies such as solar, wind and fuel cells as well as energy-efficiency programs such automated demand-response programs to reduce capital and operating expenditures.

Cisco Systems plans to leverage its networking expertise to improve energy efficiency in buildings as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions by further integrating information technology into Smart Connected Buildings. The networking company also hopes by extending its networked sustainability platform, it will help accelerate energy innovations over IP from energy generation across the grid to commercial buildings and to the home.

As part of its overall effort to reduce energy consumption, Cisco is also ramping up its smart-grid efforts that will address everything from data centers and substations to neighborhood-area networks to businesses and homes.

The recently introduced EnergyWise power management tool is also part of Cisco’s initiative, which allows managers to monitor and manage energy consumption of Internet Protocol devices such as phones, laptops and access points. Cisco estimates that the program will help it save up to 30 percent in energy use and costs.

Cisco also said that more than 20 technology partners will join the Cisco Development Technology Program for the Mediator. The company also plans to introduce an Authorized Technology Provider Program for channel partners and system integrators who will be supporting sales and services for customers.

Commercial builders are also setting their sights on participating in the “green” or smart building sector to help curb energy use. As an example, Project FROG, a manufacturer of smart buildings, recently announced it will break ground on a new home for the Crissy Field Center in San Francisco. The company uses advanced energy-efficient building systems and clean technologies to build healthy buildings that significantly reduce energy consumption and construction waste.

The Center, a joint venture between the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the National Park Service, offers environmental programs that serve youth, schools and community organizations. The project is scheduled for completion in October 2009.

To further help manage energy use and consumption, smart meter services are starting to roll out across the globe. As an example, German utility company Yello Strom is using its customers’ broadband link to manage its smart meter service, reports GigaOM. This means the utility company can offer consumers Web-style smart meter applications, including Google’s PowerMeter energy management tool and potentially a twitter feed of energy consumption, according to the article.

In Germany, where electricity is deregulated unlike the U.S., Yello Strom said in the article that leveraging broadband is cheaper than building a new network or renting space on a phone company’s network, and can engage users more because the system can update data faster and offer more compelling consumer services. Since its rollout seven months ago, the company said it’s selling about 100 to 200 smart meters a day.

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