What is it?
Intelligent control of building HVAC equipment requires information. Typically, this information comes from hard wired sensor technology that is connected and powered by a standard controller. New sensors are skipping the wires and communicating wirelessly.
How does it work?
Wireless sensors come in two varieties: battery powered and self-powering. Battery powered sensors can operate between one and ten years (according to their manufacturers) without battery replacement. Self-powering devices harvest energy from their environment and can run perpetually (theoretically).
What are the most appropriate applications?
Many retrofit applications will benefit from these sensors. Since they don’t require wiring and power, these sensors can be retrofitted into existing spaces with lower costs than their wired counterparts. They also have good applicability to lighting systems where occupancy or daylighting sensors can provide additional control, but running wires is expensive.
What are the savings?
Savings are available depending on how the technology is being used. It opens up the possibility of doing more sophisticated control work, such as demand based resets or fault detection and diagnostics (alerting customers when something breaks or goes wrong).
What are the non-energy benefits?
These sensors can bring space temperature comfort improvements into spaces where it was difficult to get good control before. Difficult spaces to control may include spaces such as those in old buildings with limited access between rooms, or customers that don’t want visible conduit in spaces and don’t have the budget for putting the wires in the walls.
What is the cost?
Depending on the application and the number of sensors, costs for the battery-powered wireless sensors are comparable to slightly less expensive wired technologies, after the additional costs of labor and wiring are factored in.
What is the status/availability of the technology?
Battery powered sensor technology is readily available through multiple vendors. However, self-powering sensors are still being developed and are not widely available today.
What kinds of incentives/programs are available?
Currently, this technology would be evaluated under Custom Rebate programs. Incentives will vary depending on project specifics.