The Internet of Things ( IoT) is everywhere today. IoT means the connection of devices over time to a network. IoT environment collects information from devices and enables informed decisions for everyone. In every industry, every gadget, every machine, and every household item, there are elements of the IoT. The world is transforming into a living, breathing ecosystem of machines that can all communicate with each other and deliver on tasks that are much more personal and efficient than before. In the end, it all comes down to the information available to each machine and how it can act on it. That’s all the Internet of Things is one enormous feedback loop that allows each and every facet of a system to perform better with the information at hand. From the small tweaks to the big changes, everything makes a difference and what the business world is interested in most, is that it saves them money and power.
The world’s buildings consume a significant portion of its energy. Residential buildings count for nearly forty percent of energy consumption and commercial buildings which include retail stores, shopping malls, hotels, and hospitals, count for a further thirty percent according to ResearchandMarkets However,
Green Building Council Australia (2013) finds that, on average, Green Star-certified buildings:
- Use 66% less electricity than average Australian buildings
- Produce 62% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than average Australian buildings
The push to reduce this consumption, greenhouse gas emissions with it, to save money through this process is on; hence, the evolution of the energy management system industry. It has been estimated by Research and Markets that the energy management system market will grow to $9.3 billion by 2023.
As mentioned above, the heart of the IoT is data. Much more of it can be harvested than ever before. Hence, the subtleties that were once hidden because data from certain spots weren’t available can now be brought to light.
Take the example of a residential building with a thermostat. While before the average temperature was set for the entire building, now much better climate control can be achieved by keeping in mind the data being harvested. Devices can now be placed at individual spots through which data can be mined from sensors and devices for all sorts of variables like temperature, wind speed, humidity, etc. These can be factored in to make better decisions that will improve energy efficiency. HVAC and air ventilation systems can be manipulated to save power and to provide a great microclimate at the same time.
According to environmental Leaders, steps like these can reduce the overall operating costs of buildings for up to 25%.
Beyond making good choices to increase energy efficiency in existing buildings, data from the Internet of Things can influence choices when creating new buildings. Smart building energy management systems can integrate data that was collected at other buildings into the design choices being made for new ones. From the equipment being used in the buildings to the construction material used to the vents being designed, everything can be manipulated for the sake of energy efficiency. Here is an example of IoT based inavitas energy management system
Figure 1: IoT based Energy Management System
As seen in Figure 1, inavitas energy management system gathers data from IoT devices (MCU RX ) and transform this data into information for its users.
An example is the data that can be collected from existing data centres being used to create better and more organized data centres. This can help avoid hot spots, create hallways and rooms with better ventilation, and can provide a better layout for cabling so that data centre racks and servers can be organized better. The other examples can be found in our previous about why businesses must have EnergyManagement
All in all, it’s a giant feedback loop that can improve energy management in any facility through small iterations.
With better Energy Management more and more devices will automatically influence each other. Buildings that contain smoke alarms, thermostats, security cameras, motion detectors, etc. will all coalesce information to remove problems that they encounter. Smart energy management systems can help improve the quality of the data analysis.
This will increase the overall potential for energy savings and the range of management systems’ involvement.
A simple home can have motion sensors that can detect which room is being occupied at certain moments and can turn the lights and air conditioning on, based on that information. It can switch off the lights during the morning, and turn it on when it gets dark during the evening. On rainy days, when there is a deficiency of light, lights can turn on during the morning as well.
Similarly, during summers, air conditioning can turn on automatically when the mercury rises to a certain degree and can turn off when it’s cold during the winter months. Various small customizations can be made to accommodate the choices of the residents, such as the amount of time an air conditioner can remain operational before it should automatically shut down, or the amount of time the lights can stay on before they shut off when certain rooms aren’t occupied, etc.
This entire slew of decisions will positively affect the entire power management of any building out there. It will inevitably save millions in the long run, and have an overall positive effect on greenhouse gas emissions as well.