Company: FirstFuel Software
Sensors and Analytic Software Help Make Buildings More Efficient
Analytics tools helped the General Services Administration, the federal government’s landlord, meet federal mandates for evaluating energy usage in its largest buildings.
Brian L. Wright, a senior mechanical engineer at the GSA, says that sending an engineer through a building like Washington’s Ronald Reagan Building—a 4.1 million-square-foot facility—and preparing a report on it took vast amounts of time, and the 150-page reports were overwhelming for building managers. The GSA adopted analytics software from a Lexington, Mass., startup called FirstFuel Software Inc., and has since saved about $13 million annually, roughly 90%, just in evaluation costs, Mr. Wright says.
He adds that he can now pull up on his computer a single page showing a building’s energy usage every 15 minutes for a 12-month period. The software flags where energy usage varies from a pre-established baseline.
The analysis helped the GSA discover, for instance, that in the Reagan Building, two large exhaust fans in the garage were coming on full strength unnecessarily twice a day and the settings on a part of the air-conditioning system were set too high. Resetting the fans to 50% power and lowering the air-conditioning settings saved $800,000 in energy costs in one year, Mr. Wright says.