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Crowdsourcing office energy saving

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Crowdsourcing office energy saving

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It’s estimated that commercial buildings consume around 20% of a nations energy.  What’s more, studies have also suggested that this level could be reduced by as much as 30% by more effective monitoring.  Mostly this takes an algorithmic form, but a new site has launched that hopes to achieve the same benefits via a crowdsourced approach.

CrowdComfort is a site that aims to create a crowdsourced thermostat for offices and other commercial buildings.  The rationale behind the site is that different people feel the cold in different ways, and that applying the wisdom of crowds can help to better manage temperatures in offices.

The site is a relatively simple one.  Any user of a facility, be they office workers or school children, or even residents in a tower block, can download the CrowdComfort app.  They can then rate their personal level of comfort via their smartphones, reporting to building operators whether they are too hot or too cold.  This data is then sent to managers alongside a timestamp and geolocation details so managers can determine where in the building the ratings are coming from.

This data can then be used to hopefully apply smarter heating levels according to this new information.  You can see more about the concept via the video below.

Of course, the system only works when there are sufficient numbers of people giving it their feedback.  Is it likely to prove more effective than an automated sensor network therefore?  I personally have my doubts, as it will always be a challenge to find the perfect temperature for everyone.  It seems a more practical approach to require people to adapt more to their surroundings, which in energy saving terms would simply mean putting on a jumper.

Having said that, some big companies have signed up with the app, so it will be interesting to see how it transpires.

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