Sustainable, building performance: how IoT drives energy efficiency

We explain the key role played by the Internet of Things (IoT) in achieving sustainability goals.
Sustainability in Building Performance: Harnessing IoT for Energy Efficiency

The power of IoT in energy efficiency

Climate pressures mean that sustainability has become an increasingly vital focus for businesses and individuals alike. As we strive to reduce our carbon footprint and make more conscious choices, the role of technology in achieving sustainability goals cannot be overlooked. One such technology revolutionising the way we approach energy efficiency in buildings is the Internet of Things (IoT).

Over the past two decades, IoT technology has gained significant traction by giving building owners and operators a means to make their facilities more energy efficient.

Creating a network of interconnected devices, controllers, and systems, IoT technology enables the automation and optimisation of building operations, transforming built environments across the UK. The relationship between IoT and energy efficiency makes it a key element in creating intelligent, sustainable buildings.

With the exponential growth of connected devices, estimated to have reached over 50 billion in 2020, IoT technology has made energy efficiency more achievable than ever before. By leveraging intelligent building management platforms (IBMPs) that utilise artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms, IoT technology offers one of the most promising solutions to reduce building energy usage.

Harness IoT for energy efficiency

To understand the impact of IoT on building energy efficiency, it is essential to explore how IoT architecture is implemented within commercial buildings. IoT architecture includes sensors, actuators, cloud-based software, and communication protocols, all controlled by a central building management system (BMS). This integrated system optimises building systems, allowing them to communicate with each other and work together seamlessly.

The components of IoT architecture that contribute to energy efficiency include:

Location-based automatic controls:

IoT technology enables automatic controls that optimise energy usage in specific rooms or sections of a building. These controls consider factors such as occupancy patterns, time-based usage, and external weather conditions.

Cloud Computing Platforms:

Cloud-based platforms play a crucial role in storing data and running software applications that evaluate energy usage data. Data analytics software can analyse this data and provide insights to further optimise energy efficiency strategies.

Integration Software:

IoT technology relies on integration software to interpret and communicate data between different building systems. This ensures seamless coordination and maximises energy efficiency.

By leveraging IoT technology and energy efficiency in commercial buildings can be significantly improved. Smart sensors gather data, allowing the BMS to automate actions such as turning off lights in unoccupied rooms, reducing airflow in office buildings on weekends, or automatically adjusting blinds to optimise natural lighting.

Energy-saving IoT devices

Physical hardware devices powered by IoT technology play a crucial role in achieving energy efficiency in buildings. Let's explore some of the key IoT devices that contribute to sustainable building performance:

Daylight sensors

Daylight sensors use photocells to regulate lighting based on the amount of available natural light. These sensors can dim or turn off lights when sufficient daylight is present, optimising energy usage. Studies demonstrate that daylight sensors can achieve energy savings of more than 40%.

IoT controllers

HVAC controllers equipped with IoT technology can significantly reduce energy usage in buildings. These controllers utilise sensors to measure various conditions within a building and regulate output within climate control systems accordingly. By implementing predefined set points and, in some cases, machine learning algorithms, smart HVAC controllers optimise energy usage and provide energy savings of up to 24%.

HVAC economiser controls

Economisers are IoT-enabled devices that pull in cool outside air to reduce the need for electrical cooling in HVAC systems. These devices use sensors to measure air temperature, heat, and humidity, making energy-efficient decisions based on these factors. On average, economisers generate energy savings of 57%, with potential savings ranging from 22% to 90%, depending on various conditions.

Lighting controls

IoT-enabled lighting controls combine sensors and actuators to optimise lighting usage in buildings. These controls can adjust lighting output based on occupancy, daylight availability, and other factors. Studies have reported energy savings ranging from 17% to 94% when compared to manually controlled lighting systems, depending on several variables such as control system type and occupant behaviour.

Occupancy & Co2 sensors

Occupancy sensors automatically turn lights on or off based on room occupancy. These sensors, often utilising infrared or ultrasonic technology, can also be used for managing heating and cooling systems. Occupancy sensors have been proven to generate energy savings ranging from 3% to 60% in lighting systems and up to 20% in HVAC systems.

Energy meters

Smart meters are essential tools for tracking energy usage in buildings. They provide real-time data on energy consumption, offering immediate savings of about 10%. Over time, smart meters can deliver up to 30% savings when utilised properly. Additionally, smart electric submeters can track energy consumption according to tenants, systems, or even individual plugs, helping identify anomalies and optimise energy usage.

Boiler control

Smart thermostats enable remote monitoring and control of temperature within built environments. These advanced devices provide analytics on energy usage and savings, offering valuable insights into optimising heating and cooling systems. Studies have shown that customers using smart thermostats can save up to 15% on cooling and 10-12% on heating.

Variable speed drives

Variable speed drives, also known as adjustable speed drives, play a crucial role in optimising energy usage in HVAC systems. These drives allow fans to operate at varying speeds, according to the energy requirements, reducing energy usage for heating and cooling by 24% to 35%.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy estimated potential energy savings ranging from 15% to 50% with the implementation of variable speed drives.

By integrating these IoT devices into building systems, owners and operators can achieve significant energy savings and improve overall sustainability.

Sensors for predictive building performance

In addition to energy efficiency, IoT technology also plays a crucial role in predictive building maintenance. By incorporating networks of IoT sensors connected to building systems and equipment, facility managers can optimise building performance, reduce downtime, and avoid catastrophic system failures.

IoT sensors used for predictive building maintenance

Early fault detection sensors

These sensors identify potential faults before they cause system failures. By proactively detecting issues, facility managers can address maintenance needs and prevent costly breakdowns.

Failure detection sensors

Failure detection sensors play a crucial role in preventing wider failures. These sensors detect faults and disable machinery to prevent further damage, ensuring the safety of occupants and minimal downtime.

Predictive maintenance drives energy efficiency while offering significant cost savings and productivity improvements. According to the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), predictive maintenance reduces downtime by 35-40%, decreases breakdowns by 70-75%, increases productivity by 20-25%, and provides a tenfold return on investment.

By detecting maintenance issues early on, facility managers can keep energy-consuming systems, such as HVAC and lighting, working optimally, leading to reduced maintenance costs and improved energy efficiency.

How Novacene transforms buildings with IoT technology

Novacene is at the forefront of harnessing IoT technology to transform buildings into sustainable, energy-efficient spaces.

With a strong focus on sustainability and innovation, Novacene offers a range of products and services designed to optimise energy efficiency in buildings.

Our team of experts utilises IoT architecture and intelligent building management platforms to create customised solutions for each client.

By integrating IoT devices, such as daylight sensors, HVAC controllers, lighting controls, occupancy sensors, smart meters, smart thermostats, and variable speed drives, we help our clients achieve significant energy savings and improve building performance.

Novacene's approach to sustainability extends beyond energy efficiency. We understand the importance of predictive maintenance in ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of building systems.

By utilising IoT sensors for early fault detection and failure prevention, we help our clients reduce downtime, lower maintenance costs, and create safer, more efficient buildings.

Don't just take our word for it. Here's what one of our esteemed clients says about our transformative solutions:

"The predictive maintenance capabilities provided by Novacene have been a game-changer for our facility. We have experienced a dramatic reduction in downtime and maintenance costs, allowing us to focus on our core business."

At Novacene, we believe that sustainability and optimal building performance go hand in hand.

With our expertise in IoT technology and a commitment to innovation, we empower our clients to create intelligent, sustainable buildings that benefit both the environment and the bottom line.

Join the revolution

IoT technology is revolutionising the way we approach energy efficiency in buildings. By leveraging IoT devices and intelligent building management platforms, building owners and operators can achieve significant energy savings, improve building performance, and contribute to sustainability goals.

Devices such as daylight sensors, HVAC controllers, lighting controls, occupancy sensors, smart meters, smart thermostats, and variable speed drives play a crucial role in optimising energy usage and reducing environmental impact.

Additionally, IoT sensors for predictive maintenance enable facility managers to proactively address maintenance needs, reducing downtime and optimising energy-consuming systems.

Novacene stands at the forefront of this transformative movement, offering innovative solutions to optimise energy efficiency in buildings. By integrating IoT technology and leveraging predictive maintenance capabilities, Novacene empowers clients to create intelligent, sustainable buildings that benefit the environment, the occupants, and the bottom line.

Contact our team of experts today to embark on your journey towards a more sustainable future.

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