Mar 17, 2020

Stony Brook University: managing energy with data

William Girling
3 min
Stony Brook University, a New York-based institution, has announced its receipt of a 2020 Innovation Award from Smart Energy Decisions
Stony Brook University, a New York-based institution, has

Stony Brook University, a New York-based institution, has announced its receipt of a 2020 Innovation Award from Smart Energy Decisions

The award was received in recognition for the university’s Office of Energy Management, which has an in-house data analytics platform - a sophisticated tool which pools data from 400 sensor points and utilises a visual heat map to assist visual analysis of the information.  

Able to detect anomalies around the campus quickly and deal with them efficiently, the university’s programme has been in place since 2018. Although initially only configured to monitor electricity usage, the application was soon expanded to heating and cooling. 

Integrating efficiency

The evolution of IoT (internet of things) and analytics software is providing broad opportunities for optimising a building’s consumption of energy.

A significant decision made by Stony Brook was its preference for a bespoke analytical engine, rather than an ‘off-the-peg’ option. Able to link heating alerts with e-mail notifications, the university can alert staff to a problem before it becomes costly. 

Tom Lanzilotta, Campus Sustainability and Energy Manager, stated that creating heat maps for the facility has revolutionised the university’s everyday operations.

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“The building heat maps are used daily to ensure buildings are operating as efficiently as possible and do not drift out of range. We are also using the analytics to confirm the effectiveness of recent campus-wide energy projects,” he explained.

“We’ve already seen savings provided by this program, and it has proven to be an invaluable tool for us and will be going forward.”

Integrating sustainability

In a previous article, CSO Magazine explored Microsoft’s partnership with Schneider Electric and Bentley Systems on the Frasers Tower in Singapore - a building which gives an indication of what the offices, schools and homes of tomorrow might be like:

Citing research from IDC, which estimates that there will be 40bn devices generating close to 80ZB of data by the year 2025, Microsoft is pushing the wider technology and construction industry to take note of the advantages facilitated by digital design and integration. 

The company chose an ideal location to exhibit its new philosophy: Singapore has been recognised as the most sustainable city in Asia and the fourth overall. 

With the adoption of 5G gradually becoming the new industry standard, the possibilities for optimising the sustainability of modern buildings are very exciting and may lead to significant breakthroughs which make ambitious ‘carbon-neutral by 2050’ targets feasible. 

Stony Brook University’s adoption of environmentally-conscious, energy-efficient heat mapping is another example of how our everyday lives can be imbued with a sustainable ideology. 

The mutually beneficial aspects of incorporating data, analytics, technology and sustainability are apparent and could lead to both cost-saving and saving the environment.

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May 5, 2021

AES Corp seals 10-year carbon-free energy deal with Google

AESCorp
Google
datacenters
Dominic Ellis
3 min
AES Corporation will ensure energy powering Google's Virginia data centers will be '90% carbon free'

The AES Corporation has struck a 10-year supply contract with Google to provide near-carbon-free energy to power its Virginia-based data centers which will start later this year.

Claiming the first clean energy procurement deal in the world of its kind, AES will help ensure that the energy powering those data centers will be 90% carbon-free when measured on an hourly basis.

AES will become the sole supplier of the data centers' carbon-free energy needs on an annual basis, sourcing energy from a portfolio of wind, solar, hydro and battery storage resources to be developed or contracted by AES.

The agreement marks an important step in meeting Google's previously announced goal to run its business on 100% carbon-free energy on an hourly basis by 2030.

"Last year, Google set an ambitious sustainability goal of committing to 100% 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030. Today, we are proud that through our collaboration with Google, we are making 24/7 carbon-free energy a reality for their data centers in Virginia," said Andrés Gluski, AES President and CEO. "This first-of-its-kind solution, which we co-created with Google, will set a new sustainability standard for companies and organizations seeking to eliminate carbon from their energy supply."

"Not only is this partnership with AES an important step towards achieving Google's 24/7 carbon-free energy goal, it also lays a blueprint for other companies looking to decarbonize their own operations," says Michael Terrell, Director of Energy at Google. "Our hope is that this model can be replicated to accelerate the clean energy transition, both for companies and, eventually, for power grids." 

AES assembled the 500MW portfolio from a combination of AES' own renewable energy projects and those of third-party developers, which were selected, sized and contracted to meet Google's energy needs across a number of considerations, including cost efficiency, additionality and carbon-free energy profile.

The portfolio assembled by AES is expected to require approximately $600 million of investment and generate 1,200 jobs, both permanent and construction, in the host communities. These efforts will greatly simplify Google's energy procurement and management at a competitive price while decarbonizing Google's load and the broader PJM grid.

This supply agreement follows on the strategic alliance AES and Google formed in November 2019 to leverage Google Cloud technology to accelerate innovation in energy distribution and management and advance the adoption of clean energy. AES is pioneering greener, smarter energy innovations, with the goal of expanding the services available to large-scale corporate customers.

The Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate commits €10M to fund bold ideas that aim to use technology to accelerate Europe’s progress toward a greener, more resilient future. Selected organisations may receive up to €2M in funding and possible customised post-grant support from the Google for Startups Accelerator to help bring their ideas to life.

Last year it issued $5.75 billion in sustainability bonds to fund ongoing and new environmentally or socially responsible projects. To read its 2020 Environment report, click here.

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