What role does energy harvesting play in the construction industry? As more corporate owners are looking to use things such as solar or wind to supply energy to buildings, contractors will need to know the associated technologies necessary to help capture and store this energy.

Through the process of harvesting, energy is captured from sources such as solar or wind and is stored for future use. Small, wireless devices, such as those within a sensor network, play a big role in helping gather and store energy. For contractors, understanding the role energy-harvesting technology plays in construction will be a factor in helping create greener, more intelligent buildings.

While one of the big themes from last week’s AHR Expo in Chicago was new service management features in software, another big trend seen from the show floor was more energy harvesting technologies for green buildings.

For example, members of EnOcean Alliance, www.enocean-alliance.org, San Ramon, Calif.,—a consortium of companies working to standardize energy-harvesting wireless technology—announced new products for building automation and control.

Titus, www.titus-hvac.com, Plano, Texas, a manufacturer of grilles, registers, diffusers, and terminal units, launched EOS, a self-powered air distribution vent. With an adjustable temperature band, EOS can harvest energy from any light source. Internal sensors monitor the supply of air temperature and automatically adjust the air pattern to cool or heat.

As another example, Gas Sensing Solutions, www.cozir.com, Glasgow, U.K., announced its NDIR Carbon Dioxide sensor, a compact CO2 sensor, which fits easily into handheld portable devices and wall mounted control systems.

These are just a few examples of building-automation technology to come out of last week’s AHR Expo. The movement toward creating more green and sustainable buildings is a big one. It is interesting to watch as manufacturers jump on board, in order to help create products for buildings that are not only more efficient, but also incorporate technologies to automatically monitor and control energy.