Expert in a suitcase’ cuts power bills up to 30% in small commercial buildings.

RCx Building Suitcase-Excellence in Technology Transfer award
RCx Building Suitcase was awarded the 2020 Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Excellence in Technology Transfer award
2020 FLC Award Winner

Significant energy is wasted nationally each year by small commercial buildings due to inadequate maintenance and inefficient operation of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment.  The RCx Building Suitcase will address this market need by enabling non-experts to deploy sensors in small- and medium-sized commercial buildings for 4 to 6 weeks and process the data collected to identify and make building-specific low- and no-cost improvements that improve energy efficiency and decrease building operating costs. The suitcase was developed with funding from the Department of Energy (DOE) through a lab partnership between Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  (LBNL) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

The technology will allow the industry to achieve small-building retro-commissioning at scale in the following ways:

  1. By enabling those without engineering expertise to identify energy-saving operational and comfort opportunities and associated cost impacts;
  2. By offering commissioning providers and auditors the means to streamline existing processes and reduce costs, making it possible to expand their market to smaller buildings and;
  3. By enabling nearly-fully automated identification of building performance improvement opportunities via innovations in sensor packaging and installation guidance.

The RCx Building Suitcase technology consists of:

  • Easy-install battery-powered sensors (air temperature, light, and rooftop unit operating status) with on-board data storage.
  • A suitcase to provide a means of transport, storage, charging capability and data transfer to a computer for analysis of the data.
  • A Handheld computer (tablet) to configure the sensors, provide installation guidance, and document installation details such as locations.
  • Diagnostic algorithms to automatically generate recommendations to improve building operations, utility costs, and energy performance. The algorithms target high-impact problems in lighting and HVAC system operations.

RCx Sensor Suitcase was Iisted by E Source Tech Team 2014 Top 20 Technologies and Trends.