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Thermostats control HVAC operations to ensure occupant comfort, and they can cut energy costs when used correctly. In recent years a new type of thermostat we call “cloud” (also known as “smart” or “Internet-connected”) entered the market. We expect that cloud thermostats will become the new standard in HVAC controls for commercial buildings due to a combination of convenience and learning features, which make them an appealing replacement for nearly all existing thermostats. What Are the Options? There are three main types of thermostats: electromechanical, digital (also referr…

Building Automation Systems

The building automation system (BAS) has become the accepted technology used in controlling HVAC and other systems in most new commercial and institutional buildings (Figure 1). Existing buildings can be retrofitted with BASs, a change that has been shown to provide economically beneficial improvements in energy efficiency and occupant comfort. Although most BASs are designed primarily for HVAC control, many incorporate additional functions, such as lighting control, computerized maintenance scheduling, life-safety functions (such as smoke control), and access (security) control. Figure 1: Ho…

Hotel Room Automation

Hotel room automation uses a variety of techniques to turn off lights and reduce HVAC operation when a room is unoccupied—the two biggest users of energy in limited-service motels. Because hotel and motel guests typically do not practice good energy conservation behavior when checked into a room, there is significant opportunity for the lodging industry to capture energy and other savings through automation. Based on available studies, automation products can produce a 25 to 44 percent energy savings per room and can be used in virtually any hotel or motel to varying degrees. What Are t…

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