Balfour Beatty Communities and WattzOn participated in the White House-sponsored “Energy Datapalooza” to showcase the Switch4Good™ Living Buildings program as an innovative approach to help reduce community energy consumption by deploying usage data in creative and powerful ways. The Switch4Good™ program allows building and home occupants to access their energy consumption data and relevant tips through social media in a personalised and timely manner.
As part of the Energy Data Initiative, led by the U.S. Department of Energy in close partnership with the White House and other agencies, “Energy Datapalooza” highlighted innovators from the private and academic sectors who have utilised previously untapped government and non-government data to build products, services and applications that help American families and businesses save money on utility bills, protect the environment, create jobs, and ensure a safe and reliable energy future. The event took place at the White House on 1 October.
Developing ‘green’ buildings—LEED, ENERGY STAR® and others—is just one step in becoming more sustainable. Even with certification, it is the building occupants who ultimately drive the building’s energy performance, as poor habits can drive up energy use and offset any green label intentions. Switch4Good™ Living Buildings provides the technology, protocols and cues to support smart energy saving habits with building occupants through use of social media.
The first phase of the Switch4Good™ Living Buildings program targets energy use in buildings managed by Balfour Beatty Communities throughout its privatised military housing portfolio. Fort Carson (CO) and Fort Bliss (TX), which are both Army ‘NetZero’ installations, were showcased in the White House demonstration. Over time, Fort Detrick (MD) and USMA West Point (NY) will also participate in the program. Community Centres at the installations will measure energy consumption using smart meters that transmit real-time data and trigger targeted energy messages to building occupants via text or Twitter®. Community Centre occupants can respond to the messages and take action to reduce the immediate energy load when necessary such as turning off unused lights and copy machines and changing thermostat settings. The program goes beyond traditional Energy Management Systems aimed at transmitting information to building engineers and engages all building occupants on a level relevant to them. The information from Living Buildings is also available publically, so residents throughout the community can monitor progress.
Balfour Beatty Communities has partnered with WattzOn, an experienced energy conservation company based in Silicon Valley, to administer this program. WattzOn has developed a behavior-based program to coach residents on how to reduce utility consumption. A 2010 pilot of this program at Balfour Beatty Communities’ Travis AFB housing community resulted in an average decrease in energy consumption of 18%.
“Balfour Beatty Communities is committed to developing and managing residential communities that maximise value for both our partners and residents. Increasingly that value is focused on sustainability. As a strategic partner to the U.S. Department of the Army, we are continuously searching for new and innovative ways to support their vision of installations that operate on a Net Zero basis for energy, water and waste,” said Chris Williams, President of Balfour Beatty Communities. “The Switch4Good™ program alters habits and saves energy through the empowerment of residents and other building occupants. Because nearly 20-25% of a military installation’s energy use is consumed by housing, the Switch4Good™ program is an important step in mitigating the energy security risks for our military.”
"WattzOn is always looking for new ways to reach communities and encourage people to reduce their energy use. The Switch4Good™ Living Buildings program provides people with easily actionable energy reducing recommendations that can have a significant impact," said Martha Amram, CEO of WattzOn. "We've seen great success with the pilot of this program and are enthusiastic to roll it out into new communities, to further reduce energy use and support energy reduction programs."
Balfour Beatty Capital Group Inc.
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Notes to Editors:
- WattzOn (www.WattzOn.com) is a personal energy management platform that helps people save money, save energy and go green. In addition to direct-to-consumer offerings, WattzOn also enables partners to offer personalised recommendations on how to save money and energy to their customers and communities
- Balfour Beatty Communities, LLC, a subsidiary of Balfour Beatty Capital Group Inc., is responsible for the development, renovation, operation and management of military privatisation housing projects for the U.S. Departments of the Army, Navy and Air Force. Setting the industry standard, the company is committed to sustainable business practices and is a leader in the military housing Public-Private Partnership (PPP or P3) industry, currently providing services to members of the U.S. military and their families residing at 48 military communities in 26 states and Washington D.C.
- Balfour Beatty Capital Group Inc. specialises in partnering with government entities and high performing public sector firms to implement their strategic plans through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP/P3) model. Through the Company’s three divisions, Balfour Beatty Communities LLC, Balfour Beatty Capital Inc., and Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions LLC, it is one of the leading providers of PPP projects in the United States with more than 1,200 employees nationwide. Balfour Beatty Capital Group is a part of Balfour Beatty plc, the largest UK-based international infrastructure group operating in construction services, professional services, support services and infrastructure investments, with a 100-year history. Balfour Beatty Capital Group’s affiliated companies in the U.S. include Balfour Beatty Construction Group Inc., Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc., Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Inc. and Balfour Beatty Rail Inc.
- Balfour Beatty (www.balfourbeatty.com) is a world-class infrastructure group with capabilities in professional services, construction services, support services and infrastructure investments.
- We work in partnership with our customers principally in the UK, continental Europe, the US, South-East Asia, Australia and the Middle East, who value the highest levels of quality, safety and technical expertise.
- Key infrastructure markets include transportation (roads, rail and airports); social infrastructure (education, specialist healthcare, and various types of accommodation); utilities (water, gas and power transmission and generation) and commercial (offices, leisure and retail).
- The Group delivers services essential to the development, creation and care of these infrastructure assets including project design, financing and management, engineering and construction, and facilities management services.
- Balfour Beatty employs 50,000 people around the world.