How to save in smart buildings
16 May 2021
Retrofit of existing buildings
For an existing building that uses a traditional type of lighting or heating, we have several ways to innovate and achieve savings. To avoid having to deal with cabling in the building, a wireless solution can be used.
First of all, let's think about the type of lighting and then whether remote control would be appropriate. If the replacement of existing lights with LED luminaires is the choice, we can also use a system of remote management of these lights. It is possible to choose lights that have remotely controlled DALI drivers or directly integrated communication transceivers, thanks to which it is possible to monitor both the state of the lights and remotely control them. For remote, wireless light control, IQRF technology is perfect. It allows bidirectional communication, ie both control and monitoring of lights (see the technology website www.iqrf.org). Communication is secure and very robust thanks to the ability to work in a mesh topology.
Monitoring of lights is advantageous especially from the point of view of the necessary service. If there is a problem somewhere, it can be detected in a timely and accurate manner using a wireless control system, and there is no need to send a technician to determine what type of fault has occurred.
Today, there are a large number of manufacturers and integrators of smart lighting who can work with IQRF® technology, which is an ideal choice for lights. This communication is used for both interior lighting and emergency lighting, as well as for street lighting. You can see the case studies at www.iqrfalliance.org.
Room lighting can be modified according to the current light intensity in the room, which can again lead to significant savings. The lights can thus directly include light intensity sensors or independent sensors can be present in the room, which provide data to the central control application.
Nowadays, in addition to switching the lights on and off, the light intensity is also normally set, or the color of the light can be changed depending on the time of day or the type of activity performed.
Lights that are connected to the mains and therefore do not need to put the communication modules to sleep due to battery life can also be used as a communication infrastructure for other devices.
Sensors in buildings
If you are working on renovating an existing building, you can again use a wireless type of sensor. Air quality sensors can monitor temperature, relative humidity, carbon dioxide (the concentration of which increases with each exhalation of people and reduces concentration and physical well-being), and other organic pollutants, and possibly dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide, etc.
Some manufacturers offer ready-made sensor assemblies that can be installed immediately without the need for time-consuming preparation. The wireless sensors are only activated, deployed to monitoring locations, and the current topology is automatically detected and optimized from the central gateway. You can find one of these systems under the name IQAROS (www.iqaros.cz).
The system then automatically monitors whether the set limits, such as temperature or humidity, are met and can send an alert in case of exceeding, or daily messages to document compliance with the monitored parameters.
The values from the sensors can be obtained remotely and work with them in the central system. If you install a remotely controlled heating system in a building, or a system with ventilation or heat recovery, you can control it depending on the current state of the air in the building.
Professional partners of the IQRF Alliance with many years of experience can consult your needs and questions on the possibilities of installing remote-controlled heating systems. The standard includes remote-controlled thermostatic heads, battery-powered, and operating without battery replacement for several years. IQRF® transmission technology can also be used in buildings and heating systems, which, thanks to its excellent physical properties, has no problem transmitting control commands to the farthest points in the building. In addition, both lights and sensors and the heating system can be connected to one central system and communicate within the application.
Based on the measured data from the sensors, it is possible to control ventilation and heat distribution, or lighting.
As part of a heating, experts can also work with the phenomenon of open windows. At such times, it is not necessary to heat the rooms to the usual comfort level, but the temperature is automatically reduced so that it is not wasted and this forced the occupants to think about the method of ventilation. Air exchange is more efficient by shock ventilation, which does not significantly cool the walls in the rooms.
Infrared radiators can be used for heating, which can direct heat energy to places where it is needed, and as a result, it can be achieved that a higher, reasonable temperature is mainly in the lower part of the room compared to the more physically common state when high temperature is measured at the ceiling, where it is not needed and wasted.
Furthermore, remotely controllable convectors are used, installed in various ways, for example, floor convectors. From the point of view of service expenses, it is advantageous and economical to be able to remotely obtain service data from these heaters and find out whether they are in order and, if not, what problem has occurred. This will significantly reduce the costs associated with a visit to a service technician who performs such monitoring on-site and save money on destroyed equipment, which could happen without timely detection. This fact is good to take into account when designing the type of heating of new buildings. What may seem like a more expensive investment, in the beginning, will soon pay off in saved service and equipment replacements.
Room heating can be performed on a defined schedule if the use of the rooms is repeated. It can be combined with shock heating in case people appear in the room outside the normal schedule. However, it is necessary to take into account that the heating of the room has a significantly higher delay than, for example, in the case of turning on the lights.
Smart meeting rooms, offices, laboratories
Whether the room is currently in use can also be determined on the basis of current sensory data. And the data can be anonymized, so you will not violate any rights of individuals. It can be, for example, a radar-type sensor, an optical or an infrared sensor. If the central application evaluates on the basis of the provided data that no one is in the room, it is possible to save energy that would otherwise be wasted on unnecessary heating or lighting in such a room.
In addition, you can measure the consumption and other parameters of individual electronic devices. This way you can both recognize the upcoming problem and divide the expenses in the case of shared devices or entire rooms. For this diagnostics, remotely controlled sockets can be used, which can, in addition to monitoring a number of electrical quantities, also restart the connected device, which again saves costs that the owner of the device would otherwise have to spend on human work.
Electromagnetic (EM) field sensors, or other types, can be used to detect the occupancy of parking spaces. Knowledge can help in the problem-free parking of people using the building, and the same type of sensors can be used for outdoor or paid parking.
EM field sensors connected to the control application can provide data not only on the use of the parking space but also on the speed or length of the vehicles, with high accuracy.
The network of sensors works locally autonomously using IQRF® wireless transmission, with the possibility of remote connection, eg via the Internet. The application for navigation within the car park can then work with this data.
Even against rodents
Smart technologies can also be used to monitor the number of unwanted rodents in buildings. Capture traps equipped with a wireless transmission will send capture information to a central application, so the administrator immediately knows that the pest needs to be removed from the trap.
If such a system did not exist and the DDD company would go around its facilities only once every few months, everyone can imagine the condition in which they would find captured rodents, and in addition, several months is a very long time in terms of pest multiplication, when their number may increase several times. Based on the monitoring, an appropriate and proportionate approach can then be implemented.
All the above-mentioned approaches can also be used for newly designed buildings. It is useful to be able to remotely monitor and control equipment in the building.
At the same time, be sure that in the event of a failure of the Internet connection, the building will remain fully functional and autonomously functioning.
The IQRF® technology mentioned here can provide all this.
If you are interested in any of the solutions outlined, you can explore the details on the IQRF Alliance website (www.iqrfalliance.org) or ask the author of the article (email@example.com) for links to integrators or individual companies that address the issue.