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Automated building controls, meet demand response. Australian startup BuildingIQ announced Tuesday that its fully automated system turned down power use at a Perth, Australia city building in response to utility Western Power’s demand response call. It’s the first time a building control system has automatically adjusted power use to meet a utility’s demand to turn down power to manage peak load, BuildingIQ CEO Mike Zimmerman told me last week. Automating demand response in commercial buildings could be a game changer — most of the 40 gigawatts or so of DR capacity in the U.S. today is managed via emails, phone calls, pager messages and other relatively low-tech methods. DR automation is more common in industrial settings, and Berkeley Labs’ OpenADR system is aimed at automating DR across a wide class of buildings. Still, commercial buildings have to take tenant comfort into account when turning down air conditioners on hot afternoons — something BuildingIQ’s “predictive energy optimization” system manages by crunching weather, building sensor and tenant polling data and cranking up AC units to pre-cool buildings before the DR event begins, Zimmerman said.