UCD tech firm cuts business energy costs by 30pc

7 Mar 2007

An energy management and control system developed by NovaUCD-based Lightwave Technologies claims to be capable of saving up to 30pc of the gas and up to 20pc of the electricity consumption associated with operating commercial buildings

Lightwave’s Intelligent Control of Energy (ICE) system works in conjunction with existing building management systems and uses advanced artificial intelligence techniques to make real-time and efficient decisions for controlling the energy consumption in buildings while maintaining comfort levels.

The savings on energy that the system can produce have the potential to significantly impact the carbon emissions of commercial buildings that are contributing to global warming whilst also reducing energy bills, no doubt keeping bean counters happy.

The system has already been installed at the 12,000 square metre Q-Centre in Blanchardstown, which is owned by the Quinn Group as well as several large commercial buildings in London and Manchester.

Lightwave says it plans to install the ICE system in over 70 buildings across the UK this year.

The company has partnered with one of the world’s largest facility management companies OCS to facilitate the installation and support of the system during the expansion into the UK.

“We now have a world class product capable of making very significant real-time thermal energy savings thereby reducing energy costs in all kinds of large commercial real estate while also making significant reductions in associated CO2 emissions,” explained Lightwave’s chief executive Nicholas McNulty.

The ICE system works in the following manner: it communicates with the existing building management systems in a building via the internet or any other IP network.

It collects the data remotely from the building (e.g. inside/outside air temperatures, solar radiation etc), and after analysing this data learns the building’s unique thermodynamic footprint and how the building behaves over various external weather conditions.

The ICE system then communicates in real-time with the BMS to, for example, optimally control the start/stop times of boilers, chillers and air-handling units for every floor and zone within the building while maintaining existing comfort levels and at the same time significantly reducing energy consumption and reducing the energy costs.

NovaUCD director Pat Frain said it was exciting to see an innovative technology by an Irish company that took a number of years to develop enter the marketplace commercially at a time when there is a growing awareness of critically important environmental issues.

By John Kennedy