18 Apr The Internet of Things and Building Automation
Smart devices now run buildings
We’re living in a world of rampant technology—automation, robots, smart devices and instantaneous access to information. Some might argue this all equates to uncontrolled connectivity and information overload. But if you can harness that technology and the power of data you could use it to make positive change. Imagine if our devices not only connect and talk behind our backs…but also behind our walls and under our feet and in the raceways and cables and airwaves of our spaces?
Smart buildings use automated devices to monitor, control, and maintain basic operations. Sensors monitor the building’s spaces and systems, from the temperature to air quality and occupancy, and feed back data to a centralized network of controllers and output devices that actuate commands of the data-processing center. These smart devices run the building.
This interconnection of objects—thermostats, lighting controllers, security sensors, air conditioners—embedded with computing devices that enable them to send and receive data has been termed the Internet of Things. The interconnected things in a building’s automation system are the eyes and ears, and hands, of the building, providing data on systems and remote control of monitoring and adjustment of building management activities.
Machines and devices are more accurate and consistent when communicating with data than humans are. In the case of commercial and institutional buildings, allowing the machines to take over and do what they excel at (efficiency in repetitive tasks) is actually the smart thing to do. It then frees building owners and occupants to unleash their uniquely human capacities in comfortable, safe, and efficiently maintained indoor environments.
Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings
Commercial buildings in the United States use a significant percentage of the nation’s energy supply, more than transportation and more than industry. Efficiency is a key factor in energy savings, so energy efficiency in the commercial building sector, then, makes a huge difference not only to overall energy usage in the nation but also to building owners’ and managers’ bottom lines.
Though many discussions about energy focus on the supply side, it’s smart to flip the focus to consider instead how to save the energy already produced. It costs less to save energy than to produce and distribute new energy, so it makes sense to optimize systems to use energy more efficiently.
Energy-smart solutions are already available, but the challenge is in getting people to use them. Remember, machines are more accurate and consistent. Only the most conscientious of people remember to turn off the lights whenever they leave a room. Few regularly adjust the thermostat based on activity in that space. And only the luckiest building managers can prevent serious and costly faults that interrupt service, and this only if they happen to come across the anomalous event data. Why leave this to chance?
Building automation takes the human behavior factor out of the equation: smart devices operate efficiently in the background, conditioning the air, managing the lighting, analyzing events to optimize energy usage, minimize environmental impact, and achieve cost savings for building managers. The human occupants, relieved of maintenance duties, can go about their lives and activities in optimally maintained indoor spaces.
The Financials of Smart Buildings
From a financial standpoint, it’s smart to build efficient buildings—lower energy costs, better maintained physical plant, earlier fault detection—but builders often have no incentive to do so; after all, they will not occupy the building or pay the energy bills. However, informed consumers demand energy-efficient systems in their construction projects.
Albireo Energy partners with its customers in strategic planning and design to help them incorporate efficiency systems into building construction. We also retro-engineer existing systems to modernize them and integrate third-party systems. We bring to bear a knowledge base assembled from more than 35 years of operating in the commercial and institutional building sector. As part of the value that we provide, we educate and inform our clients about the latest technology in building automation and pair with them to engineer and implement the best long-term solution to fit their individual property. We also train operators.
Cost-effective building automation offers stability for mission-critical facilities, increasing uptime and enabling tenants to get on with business in comfort. Albireo Energy implements cost-effective building automation systems across the nation and has become a preferred partner in smart solutions. Let us show you how to add automated intelligence to your building’s systems. And see your return on investment skyrocket.