We Can Help Building Owners Lower Bills Today!

pasted image 0 (1)BlocMaps is finally in the hands of the New York City residents who need it most, and our customers are ready to save money on their building gas, heating oil, and electric bills. This week, the BlocPower team deployed BlocMaps in the field for a long-time resident of Brooklyn. With the power of our predictive energy consumption model at her fingertips, our customer was able to visualize her building’s performance and better understand her energy needs. Continue reading We Can Help Building Owners Lower Bills Today!

BlocPower’s Chief Engineer talks Data Science on stage at IBM Interconnect 2017!

“The future for us is all about connecting the digital world to the physical world.”   -BlocPower Chief Engineer, Tooraj Arvajeh in his Keynote speech, March 21 on stage at the IBM Interconnect 2017 conference.  Watch the full video:

Continue reading BlocPower’s Chief Engineer talks Data Science on stage at IBM Interconnect 2017!

Check Out BlocPower’s New Mobile App at IBM InterConnect 2017!

BlocPower will be featured in a Keynote at the IBM InterConnect 2017 conference in Las Vegas this week! On March 21 our Chief Engineering Officer, Tooraj Arvajeh, will be on stage at InterConnect to announce BP Analyze, the new mobile application we have been developing with our partners, IBM and Harmony.

Continue reading Check Out BlocPower’s New Mobile App at IBM InterConnect 2017!

Behind the Scenes: Developing Time Series Databases at BlocPower

As a software developer and an undergraduate student from the University of Waterloo, I had been looking for interesting companies where I could intern. As chance would have it, BlocPower was hiring database developers, and as I researched BlocPower, I realized I would be able to do great work here. Luckily, after interviewing with the principle data architect and CTO of BlocPower, I got matched to BlocPower. Continue reading Behind the Scenes: Developing Time Series Databases at BlocPower

Data-Driven Solutions for Our Mission-Driven Organization

BlocPower’s engineers recently asked the question: What tools exist that enable us to quickly apply different machine learning techniques to the data we collected when conducting energy audits of 300 buildings?  And how can we use this tool to predict all of New York City’s energy consumption? Read on to learn how we partnered with IBM for the answer. Continue reading Data-Driven Solutions for Our Mission-Driven Organization

Behind the Scenes: Working as a Data Scientist at BlocPower

I am truly excited and honored to be a data scientist at BlocPower. BlocPower offers me the chance to work in the most exciting job in the 21st century. In my role at BlocPower, I implement data analytics, machine learning and big data to solve building science and energy challenges.

Continue reading Behind the Scenes: Working as a Data Scientist at BlocPower

Behind the Scenes: My Technology Internship at BlocPower

I joined BlocPower because of a program my high school in Scottsdale, AZ offers called the Senior Research Project. The project allows all seniors to, instead of taking classes in their third trimester, research a central question and work for a company related to that topic. My question happened to be concerned with how retrofits like rooftop gardens being implemented in inner city schools affect STEM-based education. As chance would have it, the interplay of retrofits and inner cities is exactly what BlocPower does, so after looking into some sustainability companies, I found myself on BlocPower’s website and knew immediately “this is where I want to intern.” Continue reading Behind the Scenes: My Technology Internship at BlocPower

BlocPower’s Tooraj Arvajeh at IBM Machine Learning Launch Event on February 15

Check out the IBM Machine Learning Launch Event on February 15, 2-6pm to see BlocPower Chief Engineering Officer Tooraj Arvajeh talk about “Transforming inner city renovation with energy efficient projects though the power of analytics and machine learning.”  The free event is at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City and will also be live streamed. 

Sign up here.

Modeling Energy Consumption in NYC

BlocPower collaborates with IBM to launch new energy efficiency analytics product

Cities all over the world are searching for a solution to climate change.

Though the challenge is multifaceted and complex, cities have the opportunity to lead us towards a better, more sustainable future.

In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced New York City’s commitment to climate change, One City Built to Last: Transforming New York City’s Buildings for a Low-Carbon Future. The commitment aims to reduce NYC greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 with an emphasis on reducing the energy consumption of existing building stock. New York City’s buildings constitute nearly two-thirds of the total energy that the city consumes.

With the goal of modeling energy usage in New York City, BlocPower partnered with IBM to help launch their new data product, the IBM Data Science Experience. Our Chief Engineering Officer, Tooraj Arvajeh, was introduced at the June 6th IBM Spark Maker Event to highlight the real world application of this new technology.

The IBM Data Science Experience harnesses crucial functionality that ranges from collaboration to visualization and predictive modeling. In order to simplify the process of cleaning data, IBM has created a library that scales large data sets.

At BlocPower, we are leveraging data analytics, combined with our own building energy audits, to develop predictive measures to identify buildings in New York City that are energy inefficient and in need of energy retrofits. Our collaboration with IBM was just the tip of the melting iceberg.

The Sustainable Engineering Lab at Columbia University estimated annual building energy consumption using mathematical models based on city statistics and generated an interactive map of NYC’s energy consumption. The limitation of this model, however, is that no actual individual building data was used.

BlocPower has precise building level data that is crucial to the refinement of this model. We have performed hundreds of energy audits of schools, multifamily units, and houses of worship over the past 18 months. Although the scope and types of buildings in our audits are focused on small commercial buildings, our analyses serves as a basis from which we can make mathematical and statistical models for similar buildings throughout the city.

Our new tool allows us to generate predictive models of building energy consumption that can be used to target buildings for future retrofits. This technology has the potential to help New York City to reach its sustainability goals by providing insight on where the city and its residents should focus programs, efforts, and funding to reduce carbon emissions through energy efficiency.

Are String Inverters the Future of Solar?

At the brink of innovation, digitalization is often waiting to be harnessed. Digitalization gives users greater control over processes and designs crucial to the success of energy efficiency measures. Solar power has emerged as a frontrunner in the race to reduce human dependance on depleting natural resources like coal and natural gas. The rise in solar power is of no surprise due to its reliability, affordability, and cleanliness. The future of solar lies in further control through digitalization, but is the string inverter the final answer?

Solar industries have experienced a stubborn shift from central inverters to a more distributed system comprised of string inverters. Greater performance control of a solar system comes at the expense of more sophisticated technology and higher costs.

A fair share of industry providers of inverters are hedging their bets in the development of string inverters while relying on the performance of central inverters. Huawei, a leader in information and communication technology, has taken a drastically different route: sole production of string inverters. With Huawei’s commitment to string inverters, we are forced to grapple with the future of solar.

A claim that the future of solar lies solely in string inverters is disingenuous given the technological potential of micro inverters. String inverters will most likely dominate the near future due to compromise. Micro inverters have the potential to invert at the panel level offering greater performance control but are expensive. Central inverters dominate the market with stabilized pricing.

Distributing the inversion points for solar systems has a couple main advantages, which is why string inverters are becoming more popular and why we think that micro inverters will become more popular after some technological advancement and price decreases.  Firstly, it makes the system more robust to panel level losses like shading and soiling.  Secondly, it makes it easier to identify where problems are occurring in the system and prevents one point of failure from causing system wide problems. Ease of installation is also a benefit, but it only really matters once.

The advancements in solar technology is important to the future of BlocPower. With one of our goals being to create a microgrid down the road, a keen eye on the trends in inverter technology are a must. So although string inverters may not be the final destination for solar technology in the future, they are definitely a step in the right direction.