5 key benefits of smart building automation
31 May 2017 Energy
In the modern world, which is full of connected objects and smart accessories, buildings are destined to share the same fate: smart buildings are already here. Smart buildings have arrived to provide solutions, improve efficiency and reduce consumption in our society thanks to the new technologies and hand-in-hand with the growing advantages of the Internet of Things.
The badge of smart buildings
What is a smart building? Only a decade ago we would never have thought it possible to automatically control the conditions in an entire huge building. Fortunately, technological development and context of the IoT have led to the emergence of smart Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems. Commonly known as HVAC systems, they offer the possibility of controlling the HVAC units in order to maintain an optimum temperature inside buildings and, most importantly, in real time. How is this possible? The use of sensors and continuous monitoring allow the system to accurately control the climate, humidity and other environmental parameters in smart buildings.
In order to do so, these sensors must be interconnected with the intelligent HVAC system via an information network. This is where the IoT plays its essential role by providing the network with the means to maintain sensors and interconnected units at all times. In addition, in state-of-the-art smart buildings, HVAC Systems allow users to see and manage usage patterns. These systems can gather information, analyse it and define patterns to anticipate particular needs at all times, providing a great degree of comfort. But, more importantly, they also bring a very important series of benefits.
Probably the greatest benefit of these HVAC Systems in smart buildings is optimisation. Increasing a building’s efficiency means having active control of its conditions. But what specific kind of efficiency does this include? Energy efficiency, of course, by checking that the temperature, along with other conditions, is adequate at all times, regardless of outside conditions and depending on the number of users at any given time. This is one of the biggest challenges (and also achievements) of smart HVAC systems.
Greater efficiency comes with lower consumption, of course. You can reduce the costs of the energy that a building consumes by up to 35%. This is a very significant amount if we consider that 80% of the total energy consumption in buildings is consumed by HVAC. Therefore, investments in smart buildings can bring considerable savings.
More efficient audits
One of the main problems when optimising the climate of a building is the difficulty controlling the parameters, and doing this is simply impossible with the most obsolete HVAC systems. In contrast, the systems in smart buildings allow all parameters to be monitored in real-time. These data are stored for further analysis to improve the control and monitoring system. In addition, all this information is collected centrally. Plus, from these analyses we can obtain data on the energy and consumption patterns in buildings, which allows both existing systems to be substantially improved and efficient new ones to be designed.
Just like with audits, smart HVAC systems allow for almost complete control over the entire system. Therefore, it is possible to keep track of the parts and systems to detect malfunctions and repair them immediately. Thus, not only are error warnings sent, but the system also collects information that could help determine the reasons for the malfunction. It also allows the system to automatically adapt to the problem by managing the remaining components.
Today, consumption must ensure that energy is managed in line with ecological responsibility. This spirit is precisely what sustains these smart control systems. They allow the optimal climatic conditions to be maintained to avoid an unnecessary waste of energy. Smart buildings offer the opportunity to manage consumption in a way that is much more in line with the most current ecological consumption guidelines.
These are just five of the benefits. Smart buildings will be a key component, but not only one, in connected cities. More comfortable, more efficient and more advanced spaces will be the backdrop of a life in which information will be accessible at all times, cars will not need drivers, and energy will be cleaner and better managed. In short, the cities of the future, a future closer than we ever imagined.