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Algorithm Looks to Optimize Thermostats and Reduce Emissions

By Empa

January 12, 2022

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The founders of viboo, an Empa spin-off, developed an algorithm that controls building temperatures predictively based on only two weeks of data. Using valve positions and room temperature measurements in combination with predictions of outside temperature and global solar radiation, the algorithm calculates the ideal energy input for heating or cooling the building up to 12 hours in advance.

The approach is expected to consume significantly less energy than conventional thermostats that only react when the temperature falls below or exceeds a certain threshold.

"The potential is huge," says Felix Bünning, who cofounded viboo with Benjamin Huber. Experiments show that the approach "can achieve energy savings of between 26 and 49 percent," Bünning says. "With our algorithm, we want to help as many households as possible to save energy and thus make our contribution to reducing [CO2] emissions."

Thermostat manufacturer Danfoss and viboo are implementing a pilot project that will replace conventional thermostats in Empa's administrative building with smart thermostats running the viboo algorithm. The startup will also integrate the algorithm directly into the building automation system of a new building in Zurich to optimize heating and cooling control.

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