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Moving energy vs. moving information

March 13, 2009

It is more efficient to move information than energy.

One of the challenges (and advantages!) of our ubiquitous use of energy in the form of electricity is the separation of energy generation from consumption.  We generate electricity where there is readily available gravitational, wind, chemical etc. energy then  transport it to high concentrations of people.

For the system to be efficient and robust, the network must have generation, routing and consumption optimizations at many scales.  More on this later, but this requires all parties–including end users–to have appropriate and complete data about energy flows.

Watts Going Down‘s Building Systems Insight tag line is “Energy Intelligence.”  We think energy intelligence lets the users of electrical power self-organize to use energy more efficiently and effectively for their businesses.  Here are some principles we hold to that will enable energy intelligence:

  • Transparency.  It has been lacking in our banking system to dire consequences.  It is lacking in the details of your monthly power bills.  One number for energy and one number for the price is not transparent information.  How can you make better usage decision on that?
  • Moving information is more efficient than moving energy.  This is true today, and BSI WDG will widen the gap in the coming months.
  • Decision support.  Numbers are worth much if they can’t be assembled into a meaningful story.  We don’t learn by concentrating harder on numbers, we learn by integrating what numbers mean into our experience.
  • Energy monitoring is infrastructure. Current solutions are meant to be spot checks.  They are temperamental, expensive and designed to be temporary.  BSI WGD is building a system that is hosted by BSI WGD, uses low-cost Internet-connected sensors and provides the up-time, security and continuously growing capability of a hosted ASP solution dedicated to energy intelligence.
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