Buildings are one of the biggest consumers of electricity, responsible for 60% of global consumption. For this reason, there is a notable push towards the development and implementation of efficient building management systems (BMS) that are able to optimise energy usage effectively.
Technology has become a significant enabler in terms of creating a fully integrated, wireless and cloud-connected smart building operating system (BOS) that bridges the gap between a traditional building management system and the deployment of new applications, to enable better automation, information and optimisation of the environment. A smart BMS system is capable of collating powerful intelligence that can be used to drive down operating and energy costs and enhance green credentials, promote sustainability, and create a healthier workspace.
Such technology has become widely known as ‘green technology’ to recognise its contribution to environmental protection.
What is ‘green technology’?
Green technology is a combination of tools, solutions and best practices designed to preserve natural resources, reduce resource consumption, protect the environment, mitigate the negative impacts of human activity, and promote sustainability.
Green technology, also known as clean technology or environmental technology, encompasses the likes of the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics, blockchain, digital twin, cyber security and cloud technology. All these elements are responsible for collecting, integrating and analysing data from an array of real-time sources, including cameras, sensors and GPS.
With such highly accelerated interest in environmental conservation and growing demand for clean energy resources, the green technology and green IoT industry is experiencing significant growth. And with its added ability to reduce building operation and energy costs, it is little wonder that its adoption is being readily welcomed.
How precisely does green technology reduce building energy and operational costs, as well as enhance sustainability and make buildings a healthier place to work?
How can green technology, or more specifically, ‘green IoT’, reduce operational and energy costs?
A building management system (BMS) performance is largely dependent on the collection of significant volumes of data from the various subsystems of a building. This data is then processed by the central BMS, using a range of IoT based signal processing tools.
Sustainability and cost-saving goals are typically set around energy use, water, waste and air quality.
- Energy use is a chief component of sustainability, as it directly contributes to carbon dioxide emissions (CO2).
Energy can be monitored using IoT sensors providing a real-time view of all the energy sources in the building and optimised throughout the building thanks to space usage analysis.
- Water consumption is something that can be measured continuously and improved, too.
- As it is indoor air quality (IAQ), a vital indicator of occupational safety and health, which is based on the HVAC units’ control.
IAQ can be analysed round-the-clock by IoT sensors which are able to detect common pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Indoor air quality management is also a vital weapon in the battle against the spread of deadly viruses.
When a building manager owns data around these aspects, they are in a powerful position to measure and evaluate energy performance and consumption, allowing them to plan an informed route towards improvement.
The inherent power of IoT sensors
Without IoT sensors, rooms have to be heated and ventilated during regular working hours based on the maximum number of people likely to be present.
Lights may be left on even when a workspace is unoccupied. This common practice wastes an incredible amount of energy.
IoT sensors allow building managers to monitor the likes of motion, noise, temperature and humidity and collect human activity information, such as occupancy and heat maps, whilst smart electricity and water flow meters are similarly integrated into the smart control system, allowing a fully holistic view over energy usage.
This opens the door for integrating intelligence into the BMS cost-effectively, allowing it to intelligently control switches and thermostats, analyse workspace health, and efficiently manage the building and all its subsystems in line with pre-set rules and expectations. It also promotes the benefits of giving occupants the means to control and optimise their working environments in terms of optimal light, heat and ventilation.
How landlords can benefit from green technology?
Whereas choosing a workplace used to be all about ‘location, location, location’, trends now sway towards smart buildings, with energy efficiency and workspace health built into the core.
Buildings are in turn, being reinvented to deliver on what has become a crucial consideration for the modern business, adopting cutting edge green technology that puts occupants in full control of their expenses, goals and working environments.
In the US, energy-efficient buildings sell at a 2%-17% premium over more traditional properties and command 8%-35% more in rental income and 9%-18% higher occupancy rates.
For the commercial landlord, then, the future has to be invested in the smart building.
Will green technology deliver a good return on investment?
Naturally, the first order of thought for a business is if the return on investment on a switch to a more sustainable building is worthwhile. Reducing the business environmental impact and investing in green technology may seem very costly and imply intensive work on the building structure.
In many cases, green technology can be very affordable, and more to the point, the energy savings can be substantial.
Smart Spaces, for example, as an integrated smart building operating system, can help reduce building energy consumption by up to 40% by efficiently controlling the HVAC system and indoor air quality.
How can Smart Spaces help drive down energy and operating costs?
Smart Spaces is a secure, cloud-based IoT platform that collates vital data from around a building and all its subsystems. The smart BOS channels data into a cohesive, easy-to-fathom set of intelligence that can be used to achieve energy saving, sustainability and workplace health goals.
Utilising IoT sensors, real-time information on current space usage is provided, allowing under-utilised areas to be optimised and unnecessary lighting, heating and ventilation to be controlled appropriately to save energy. A smart dashboard allows for helpful goal-setting, resulting in improved accountability, whilst automated functionality powered by predictive analytics uses historical data and gathered trends to take all the hard work out of building resource optimisation.
To discover how Smart Spaces could cut your energy and operational costs and bring you a wealth of additional benefits, you are welcome to get in touch or request a demo.