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NREL develops more intelligent occupancy sensor

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:occupancy detection? motion sensors? NREL? IPOS?

A recent assessment of IPOS's potential by the Bonneville Power Administration found projected savings of up to $144 million with an investment of $250,000 in IPOS technology. That's a return of $576 for every $1 invested.

IPOS is currently being tested in a few environments, including a large retailer in Centennial, Colorado that serves as a test bed for innovations that could later be launched nationwide.

At the store, IPOS devices are trained on the large walk-in freezers and refrigerators in the back. They are helping determine the energy loss when, say, doors are left open after stocking the shelves with food.

Today, lighting represents the largest electric load in U.S. commercial buildings38% of total electricity, equating to $38 billion spent annually (on 349 billion kilowatt hours at $0.11 per kilowatt hour). Low-cost IPOS detectors ($100 to $200 per unit) that replace traditional motion-sensing technology can improve occupancy-detection accuracy by more than 20%, leading to enormous energy savings. Ninety-three per cent of commercial space in the United States has no motion detection system at all, even though such systems now are mandated for new construction.

The moment the NREL team knew it had something special was when Gentile Polese finished quantifying IPOS's performance and realised there was agreement in the high 90 per cent range between what the device detected and what was actually going on in the test rooms.

"One of the really exciting things is that this combines sensing technology with the retail market's need for a security system that can save energy as well," Brackney said.

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