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Virginia Tech Gets Funding for Building-Automation-System Development

March 9, 2015
The goals are to develop an open-source solution allowing major building components to be interconnected and dramatically lower system installation and maintenance costs.

The U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded Virginia Polytechnic and State University Advanced Research Institute (Virginia Tech) nearly $2 million to continue research and development of its Building Energy Management Open Source Software (BEMOSS) for small and medium-sized commercial buildings.

The goal of the project is to develop an open-source solution to improve building automation systems (BAS), allowing major building components, such as HVAC and lighting, to be interconnected. Another goal of the project is to dramatically reduce the cost of installing and maintaining systems.

Building owners and operators will be able to easily monitor and control the automated building control system from a tablet, smartphone, or computer.

The system offers scalability, robustness, plug-and-play capability, an open protocol, interoperability, cost-effectiveness, and local and remote monitoring. This will allow it to work with load-control devices from different manufacturers operating with different communication technologies and protocols.

Small and medium-sized buildings represent more than 95 percent of the floor space and about 50 percent of the energy consumption of commercial buildings in the United States.

Most commercial buildings in the United States are small (less than 5,000 sq ft) or medium-sized (5,000 to 50,000 sq ft) and fall outside the scope of most commercial BAS.

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Scott Arnold | Executive Editor

Described by a colleague as "a cyborg ... requir(ing) virtually no sleep, no time off, and bland nourishment that can be consumed while at his desk" who was sent "back from the future not to terminate anyone, but with the prime directive 'to edit dry technical copy' in order to save the world at a later date," Scott Arnold joined the editorial staff of HPAC Engineering in 1999. Prior to that, he worked as an editor for daily newspapers and a specialty-publications company. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Kent State University.