Controlling heating and cooling systems is a tried and true way to save energy—but if you’re managing a conference center, education space, hotel, hospital, or other variable occupancy building, you know that cutting costs isn’t as simple as turning oﬀ the air at 6:00 pm. For buildings that are always in use, optimizing ventilation and space utilization for actual occupancy is the best way to reduce costs, but CO2-based sensors aren’t fast or accurate enough to detect occupancy changes, and video-based counters raise privacy and security concerns.
Feedback Solutions oﬀers a unique, cloud-based solution that integrates seamlessly with building management systems to adjust ventilation rates based on real-time occupancy data. Using thermal-imaging occupancy counters and an intelligent algorithm running on the Intel® IoT Gateway, Feedback Solutions enables managers of variable occupancy buildings to reduce costs and drive ROI while protecting the identities of occupants.
“University of Toronto has been using Feedback Solutions ‘Occupancy Counters’ and ‘Occupancy Controller’ as part of their control strategy to reduce energy consumption in their buildings… In many cases now, we are running fans at 40% speed, saving us huge amounts of energy without impacting motor safety. We easily surpassed our original savings forecast.”
John Walker - Operations & Maintenance Manager, University of Toronto
Real-Time Info and Quick Response: Occupancy as a Key Metric
Feedback Solutions oﬀers a targeted solution that’s focused on real-time occupancy as a key metric to control fan speed in buildings. This highly accurate, cloud-based solution enables real-time, automatic delivery of occupancy-specifc ventilation in order to maintain indoor air quality and occupant comfort, as well as drive ROI.
Thermal-imaging occupancy counters
Thermal-imaging occupancy counters are placed above entrances and provide accurate, real-time counts of people going in and out of buildings, spaces, and rooms, without recording identifying characteristics.
Feedback Solutions’ intelligent algorithm calculates occupancy in real-time and delivers the data over BACnet* IP in user defined time intervals for integration with the building management system.
Occupancy data is used to control fan speed and meet ventilation requirements. Once configured, the system automatically adjusts fan speeds without human intervention — with every 20 percent reduction in fan speed reducing power consumption by around 50 percent1
Intel® IoT Gateway
The Intel® IoT Gateway enables seamless, reliable, and secure data flow between the sensors and the building management system for near real-time fan speed adjustment, and to the cloud for storage and reporting.
Storage and reporting
All occupancy data is pushed to a secure cloud platform for storage and reporting. Collected data can also be used to understand and optimize space utilization.
Why Feedback Solutions?
Reduce costs while increasing utilization efficiency. Feedback Solutions’ thermal imaging occupancy counters consistently deliver more than 95 percent accuracy so you can optimize ventilation, cleaning and maintenance, and space planning based on actual occupancy levels — prolonging the life of HVAC components and lowering costs.
Capture occupancy data without violating anyone’s privacy. Unlike video sensors, thermal-imaging counters capture occupancy data for space utilization planning and ventilation control without capturing imagery.
Respond quickly to changing occupancy. With CO2 sensors, data can be delayed long enough for real occupancy to change before fan speeds are adjusted. Feedback Solutions’ counters data and control variable both operate in real time, so you can meet the needs of current occupancy — not what the room looked like 30 minutes ago.
Feedback Solutions’ counters have a Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF) of more than 25 years, so you rarely need to reconfigure or replace the sensor. And, once configured, the ventilation system adjusts automatically based on occupancy—no human intervention required.
Install sensors in one building or across your entire campus. The Intel® IoT Platform centralizes occupancy data in the cloud, enabling fast, reliable, secure data flow for both small and large installations.
What it Looks Like: Occupancy-based Energy Consumption Means Real Savings
University of Toronto Realizes 40% Energy Savings with Feedback Solutions. As in most large buildings, the University of Toronto’s ventilation systems deliver heating and cooling based on design capacity — or maximum occupancy levels — even when actual occupancy is much lower. As a result, fans are overused, creating a less-than-comfortable environment and wasting energy.
Feedback Solutions installed thermal imaging occupancy counters over entrances in two buildings, including classrooms, lecture halls, offices, and a library. The university then used real-time occupancy values to regulate fan speeds to control ventilation rates — resulting in a 40% energy savings, as determined by 3rd party energy auditors.
ROI: The University of Toronto reduced its energy use in two buildings by 40% — for a savings of about $1.5M a year and a total return on investment of less than two years.
Feedback Solutions Helps University of Alberta Reduce Costs Through Optimized Space Utilization
The University of Alberta was looking for a way optimize space utilization. Feedback Solutions installed occupancy counters throughout the building to capture occupancy. The university compared occupancy data from the counters to course, maintenance, and cleaning schedules and identified opportunities to consolidate classroom usage to a few buildings, while closing others during certain periods. They were also able to create usage efficiency metrics for each classroom and class on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis.
ROI: The University of Alberta reduced maintenance and cleaning costs thanks to improved space utilization.
“Through Feedback Solutions system, the university is better positioned to justify its expansion—and to use the data to form future expansion strategies. Furthermore, the University is now beginning to use the data to identify variances in utilization that ﬂuctuate each semester and are developing a more comprehensive, accurate understanding of actual space usage.”
Rob Pawliuk - Associate Director of Operations, University of Alberta
How Can Real-Time Occupancy Data Save You Money?
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Accelerating the transformation to smarter buildings
The Internet of Things is advancing a new breed of smart buildings that better align with the priorities of property owners and managers. Intel is accelerating this transformation with IoT ingredients that enable better data analytics, simplify communication with the cloud, enhance security, and provide deep insights — driving greater efficiency and ROI.
1. As per fan affinity law - “Fan power varies with the cube of the speed.”