2014: Smarter, stronger, faster, greener

We live in a technology consumed world and it doesn’t look like that will be changing anytime soon. So, as we look towards 2014 and what the future holds we see that there are a lot of exciting trends and predictions to look forward to. As experts in advanced automated building control systems and energy management, one trend we’re looking to is more energy efficient systems, which can include anything from light bulbs to thermostats to renewable energy systems.

It may seem small, but one major change in 2014 is light bulbsAs of January 1, 2014, old, inefficient 40- and 60-watt bulbs, which represent over half the market, are no longer manufactured by or imported into the United States. As these are phased out, consumers will instead have three major types of bulbs to choose from: new and improved incandescents that use 28% less energy, CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) and LEDs (light-emitting diodes) that provide energy savings of at least 75% and last longer. Light bulbs are becoming much more efficient – and that’s a great thing for the earth and for saving money!

Another trend that is great for homeowners, building owners, and even renters is “Bring-Your-Own-Thermostat” which are two-way digital thermostats that can be controlled via smartphones. In fact, for people who already have new smart thermostats, a few utilities are offering programs where those customers can enroll in peak-use rebate programs. The connected home is slowly starting to materialize, and energy savings and controls are a part of it. As we move further into 2014, we will be better prepared for the impending union of connecting our internet to our home utilities, something we think will help revolutionize the heating industry – cutting back energy usage and lowering our bills.

Electric vehicles (EV) may not be what come to mind when you think of automated building control systems, but don’t judge too quickly! Forget the heavy duty SUVs we saw in the early 2000s, 2014 is all about the EVs. It seems that every car company is getting on board and according to the New York Times, EVs are becoming even more efficient and innovative, translating into more miles driven and less money spent on gas. EV batteries even have the ability to power buildings, andsolar panels are now being paired with EV’s – it doesn’t get more efficient than that!

 

Last year was a record breaking year for solar energy, which makes us think that 2014 is going to be even bigger. As 2014 rolls in, we should expect more residential and commercial rooftop installations that are light on the wallet and easier to install. Further projections see more innovative ways to incorporate solar, like solar gardens and solar farms in 2014. Additionally, we should anticipate “partnerships and software solutions that will allow energy efficiency companies to help homeowners better match their load to solar production, combined with more solar producers that will have value-added services in the energy efficiency realm.”

Batteries are also expected to have a big year! According to the Harvard Gazette, “Harvard scientists and engineers recently demonstrated a new type of battery that could fundamentally transform the way electricity is stored on the grid, making power from renewable energy sources such as wind and sun far more economical and reliable.” Furthermore, GigaOm is predicting that 2014 is a “big year for next-gen batteries,” as many of us are aware that when it comes to cell phones, laptops and other mobile devices, the battery is a major hurdle. But even bigger than the red low battery warning on our cellphones, the battery is one of the biggest obstacles to many energy-related breakthroughs: for putting more wind and solar farms on the grid and for enabling electric cars to become more competitive with gas-based cars. 2014 may give us a significantly cheaper battery that is more powerful and could revolutionize so many different kinds of technologies.

2014 is going to be a revolutionary year for the industry – think smarter, stronger, faster and more importantly, greener. We are excited to be a part of such an innovative business and look forward to these trends and more in 2014.