IoT 5 mins read

Use IoT to meet sustainability targets in buildings

Your office building can significantly impact greenhouse gas emissions. So can your home. Surprised? The IoT can help mitigate the impact.

Finn Liu Finn Liu

Your office building can significantly impact greenhouse gas emissions. So can your home. Surprised?

Your office building can significantly impact greenhouse gas emissions. So can your home. Surprised?

According to the World Green Building Council, by taking direct action in buildings – like improving energy efficiency or the use of renewable energy – the planet could save as much as 84 gigatons of CO2 (GtCO2) by 2050. What is a gigaton? Roughly the weight of 200 million elephants.

Clearly, taking direct action is a good thing in terms of lowering your environmental impact – whether your organization is looking to meet governmental sustainability targets, or you are building “green” buildings. The Internet of Things (IoT) can help you on that path.

Environmental footprint

In your office building, you have a whole host of things that use energy: elevators, escalators, lights – inside and outside, heating, solar panels, air conditioning, manufacturing equipment, electronic gates to access the building.

In your home there are lights, televisions, a fridge, a freezer, a laptop and more. When any of these “things” go wrong, it requires someone to travel – using energy – to come and replace or fix them. It may be a short distance or, if you are a farmer in Australia, it may be hundreds of miles.

These “things” are using energy and that energy usage can be monitored, analyzed and acted upon to gain efficiencies – including the amount of travel required to fix issues. IoT devices gather important data about how your building is being used at different times of the day. And, the actions taken to be more environmentally friendly as a result of this data often goes hand in hand with cost savings for the business – or home. It’s a double benefit.

IoT can be used to track footfall in different rooms in a building, using motion sensors and analytics to determine trends around energy requirements in different rooms in buildings. For example, you can program lights to go on and off based on people entering the room – or based on trend analysis of when rooms are busy. Heating can be turned up only when the room is booked and ready to be used. The same applies with air conditioning, rather than having either running at full pelt when there is no one in the room.

Centralized building systems management

If you have or manage a lot of buildings, you may be considering putting in centralized control systems. Rather than running all buildings independently, with no analysis or knowledge of trends across the buildings, you can make both energy and cost savings by integrating the data and analyzing trends across multiple buildings.

You can then determine average temperatures, understand usage and derive insights from which building has more foot traffic, or power usage. Building managers can in turn make smarter decisions on which buildings and which times to increase or decrease power consumption. They can identify building subsystems or elements that can be upgraded to optimize efficient energy usage.

Here are some examples:

  • Efficient elevator usage.  You can use the IoT to determine which floors are more popular at which times of the day, so that elevators can be kept resting close to the most popular floors. You use less energy, reduce costs, delay damage due to lower usage and reduce maintenance repairs.
  • Efficient water usage. In water pipes, sensors can be placed to track usage and prepare for spikes and troughs at different times of the day. You can monitor pressure to spot potential leaks and include smart sewage management (smart showers, etc.) to reduce water wastage.
  • Remote maintenance. During the 2020/21 pandemic, getting people to different locations to repair devices was (is) challenging. This has given impetus for companies to invest in technology to help maintain devices remotely, resulting in reduced emissions, by not travelling as much – and of course reduced costs.
  • Predictive maintenance. Analytics can identify what needs to be replaced before it breaks. Remedial work could be made early on before there becomes a bigger problem to the equipment. Predict problems so you might possibly able to repair, rather than have to replace the whole piece of equipment. This is better for the environment – buying less and reusing more.

BSA shows the way

BSA Group, a leading provider of asset management solutions across Australia, is a case in point. BSA has expanded services across building integration and automation, energy management, IoT and renewable energy to provide energy-saving building management solutions for its clients and realized many benefits, including:

  • Quick ROI with savings realized by conserving energy, optimizing HVAC and other systems
  • Lower risk and insurance costs by adding IoT sensors to monitor/check buildings’ systems and asset performance
  • Data-driven maintenance for HVAC units, to see if they are degrading, faulty, need repair or replacement with intention of expanding the concept across services.

So, if you’re considering using IoT in managing your buildings – be it one or many, give us a call. We have an IoT solution accelerator for you.

The earth needs you!