Smarter approaches for sustainable buildings

Smart buildings are becoming more and more popular, gaining attention from facility managers who are increasingly pressured to find new ways of reducing operational costs, improving the experience of the building and meeting sustainability goals. Much of the attention has been fuelled by the Internet of Things and growing popularity in integrated technology. In fact, by 2020, Gartner estimates that there will be over 20 billion connected IoT devices with approximately 2.5 billion sensors in smart buildings.

Smart buildings generate a huge amount of data, and the cloud provides the network of servers required to store, manage, and process the information. However, data and the cloud is not enough to create value. If the data is directed in a digestible way to building experts, they can detect anomalies ahead of time to then recommend and implement improvements, with the help of algorithms and visualisation software. This information from IoT and expertise blend helps to quickly identify any areas where key improvements in energy efficiencies can be made.

Companies can merge different sets of data within the same cloud space, for instance energy data. With this knowledge, equipment usage can be managed accordingly through building owners optimising set points and schedules. Energy usage is cut and unlike in a more traditional building, asset life is actually extended. This shows up on the customer’s balance sheet, providing them with a competitive advantage as well as a greater return for their shareholders simply by working smarter, not harder.

For example, research into IoT device deployment for HVAC systems, lighting systems, and some types of electrical loads by Intel has shown that in a 75,000 sq. foot building with energy bills averaging $2.32 per sq. foot per year, companies can save anywhere between $15,000 and $50,000 per year.

Energy data acquisition becomes increasingly important task, especially in relation to sampling rates and number of simultaneously measured loads. Total cost of ownership is crucial and usually relates to energy submeter’s size, ease of installation and wireless nature, combined with reliability, accuracy and scalability.

Historically, installing a metering system in an existing building has required expensive hardwiring, retrofitting and new software. For many energy management applications, the investment in metering is too significant to be cost effective, thus leaving energy conservation opportunities unaddressed.

The U.S. Department of Energy issued the Low-Cost Wireless Metering Challenge encouraging manufacturers to produce a cost-effective, accurate, wireless system capable of measuring various electric loads within a building and wirelessly communicating the data. On May 15, 2017, DOE recognized Meazon for exemplary performance in meeting the specifications. Meazon was the only company to meet the specification.

Often called as energy digitization, the energy data acquisition from the field, followed by connectivity and transport to various asset management and energy applications becomes increasingly important. Baselining and trending of consumption itself, at a granular level, provides the basis for gaining up-to-date insight on progress toward goals at the building, portfolio or city level.

Honeywell, a global leader in Internet of Things technologies, integrated Meazon technology in their Enacto Energy Management platform, creating a unique offering for their energy efficiency savvy enterprise customers. The solution enables the real time energy data acquisition from thousands of geographically distributed electrical loads in an extremely cost efficient and reliable manner and forwards them to the Enacto platform to provide valuable insights and support energy efficiency decisions and investments.

Meazon technology can support new and innovative business models. Energy Performance Contracting type of projects clearly need a “proof of concept” phase followed by an energy monitoring infrastructure roll out phase. This energy data acquisition technology could potentially turn out to be an inflection point for such kind of services.

After all, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”.

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