Energy-efficient digitization expert Tim Burke says we can go greener for much less
Our society is increasingly expected to be much greener. This expectation has fueled a desire for more efficient services, energy systems, buildings and office space, and increased pressure on all industries, public and private, to reduce waste and consider their environmental impact. In the aftermath of the pandemic, money is tight for many organizations, but thanks to advances in digital technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), the buildings we work in can now become greener for much less.
Old buildings, new technology
Digitization can play a key role in meeting consumer demands while unlocking many business benefits, such as lower costs and reduced carbon footprint. By seizing the real opportunities of digital transformation, organizations can take a new step in energy efficiency and create more environmentally friendly buildings.
So how does the IoT help save energy and create smarter, more sustainable buildings? An effective IoT solution can provide enhanced visibility and enable real-time monitoring and management of assets, by overlaying IoT technology over existing infrastructure and systems to collect data on everything from air conditioning to systems. lighting. IoT software uses millions of data points collected daily to identify opportunities and inefficiencies, which can then be converted into real energy savings through informed action and real-time automation. This approach, from tracking data to identifying opportunities, to taking action, can lead to a rapid transformation in building energy efficiency and deliver both environmental and financial benefits.
By using IoT technology not only to identify, but also to contextualize other relevant factors such as weather, building occupancy and utility tariffs, advanced software solutions can be used to fully optimize assets and buildings. With a single fully integrated platform, building management teams can deploy energy saving optimizations with the push of a button.
Take lighting as an example: Using IoT software, an analysis of the current lighting infrastructure can be undertaken, identifying faulty lights, staggered schedules, or serious inefficiencies. These problems can then be corrected with small automatic adjustments or drastic manual overrides, for example, by replacing unreliable sensor-driven programs with software-driven programs and aligning them with astronomical clock data. This improves the user experience, increases energy efficiency, reduces maintenance requirements, and has been shown to deliver energy savings of millions of dollars almost immediately.
All of this technology sounds great, but the cost is prohibitive, right? Not necessarily.
Much of the thinking behind IoT is based on the principle of a blank slate, where modern, environmentally friendly technology can be introduced and activated. Traditionally, introducing new infrastructure into an existing IoT solution would require careful planning, high upfront costs, and downtime of assets during installation and maintenance. But things are changing thanks to innovations in “plug and play” approaches to sustainability.
Control-independent software solutions can integrate with almost any existing connected machine, creating a software layer on top of all existing data and sensors a building has installed. In practical terms, this means that organizations can digitize their stores without having to tear out old machines and replace them with expensive building automation systems. For example, a control independent solution could connect to the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) infrastructure of a building, regardless of brand or age, reading data from machines and determining how that could. change their behavior. in order to become more efficient. This data analysis is fast, which can result in not only a rapid decarbonization of a building, but also a rapid return on investment for the organizations that install them.
With broad societal recognition that we need to improve sustainability and reduce energy use, organizations will look to new solutions as they seek to address old challenges in an era of post-pandemic belt-tightening. Advances in IoT technology are making the buildings we work in more sustainable than ever before, and for a lot less money than you might think.