10 August 2018

Leveraging IoT technology for energy efficient smart buildings

The Internet of Things (IoT) is shaping the future of facilities management, as data-driven FM and energy efficiency strategies are all moving towards the adoption of better connected, smart building technologies.

The Internet of Things (IoT) growth predictions show buildings as a key catalyst in the future of internet connected devices. In the last decade, the term “smart buildings” referred to facilities with building automation systems that allowed them to be managed and controlled remotely. These smart buildings are now connecting to the internet, as new technologies are developed that go beyond control. The IoT allows for data collection and sharing between building components. This infrastructure helps building owners, operators and facilities managers improve the reliability and performance of their building assets, which in turn reduces energy use, and minimises the environmental impact of their buildings. A smart building is one where functions such as lighting, HVAC, lifts etc, can communicate with each other, and adapt to meet the changing needs of the occupants.

One of the benefits of IoT technology is its scalability. Newer buildings are increasingly more connected, but older buildings with legacy systems and equipment that have subsequently been retrofitted with smart building technology, are still constantly evolving. Building owners are seeing the value in implementing IoT initiatives gradually. As electrical, mechanical, and other systems are upgraded, it is possible to integrate them with existing building analytics systems. These systems can then take on additional components at different times in their lifecycles.

Most buildings have large amounts of HVAC equipment that uses a lot of energy. That equipment contains many computer-based devices that control and manage all kinds of physical and mechanical systems from lighting to heating, ventilation and air conditioning. When it’s possible to access real-time data about everything from temperature to equipment effectiveness, it’s easier than ever to control and monitor a facility remotely. It makes managers much more effective in preventing equipment maintenance issues, and reduces the time spent on repairs and regular scheduled maintenance tasks.

Facilities managers are increasing turning to IoT technologies to help them manage the data that they need to effectively reduce operating costs and understand their buildings and how they are used better. One key area where the internet of things is promising is making buildings smarter and making them more energy efficient.

Reducing energy consumption within buildings is still a key consideration for all businesses, however there is also now a growing interest in building automation management. By increasing the functionality and controllability of the equipment within a building, it is possible to maintain optimum conditions for the occupants and at the same time, reduce operating costs.

HVAC is one of the main considerations in any modern building, and to meet the demands of a smart building it is essential it has the flexibility to respond quickly to meet the variable demands, whilst also delivering energy efficiency and reliability. Our GreenTech EC fans are key to delivering optimum performance and flexibility of HVAC equipment. With built in speed control, they can adapt to meet changing demands, they are also able to communicate with each other and with the Building Monitoring System (BMS), giving essential information for ensuring reliability of operation and consistency of service. EC fans also deliver significant energy savings and have an extended life expectancy compared to AC fans.

A specific example of EC fans being used in smart buildings, for both commercial and domestic HVAC equipment, are the new EC tangential blowers from ebm-papst. The tangential blowers are ideally suited to use in convection heaters, where they not only lower the energy consumption but also have variable speed control and connectivity, reduced noise and increased life expectancy. Ideally suited for applications where an even flow of air is needed across a wide surface, such as a heater coil for convection heating. Other key applications include air curtains, and electronics cooling.

The adoption of the IoT in the FM sector is facilitating a shift from reactive to predictive Facilities Management strategies. Building owners and managers are rethinking the way they operate their facilities and using IoT technologies and analytics to transform operations. All of these devices need to be carefully procured, installed, commissioned, operated and maintained. These managers are in turn, able to make easier and more efficient decisions to optimise energy spend, comfort and maintenance at the same time.

Depending on the structural conditions, the technology used and the climate and conditions in your facility, several retrofit solutions will work. If you are unsure what to upgrade in your HVAC system, you can book a free site surveyand we’ll take you through the options for upgrading your legacy HVAC systems with our highly efficient technologies.

Hannah Morphew
Marketing and Commercial Assistant