Using smart building technology to reach your net zero goals
With the recent COP26 summit laying bare the stark realities of climate change, businesses large and small will be urgently reviewing their carbon reduction commitments.
Where once it may have been seen as a ‘nice to do’ there is no longer any escaping the fact that each and every one of us has a responsibility to do our bit to save the planet.
The conference heard that if the world is to stand any chance of meeting current climate change targets– a 45% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050 – much more needs to be done . If the targets fail to be met, temperatures could rise well in excess of the 2C deemed to be ‘safe’, with irreversible damage done to the planet.
As the drive to reach net zero by 2050 ramps up, it will no longer be something reserved for big businesses. For many businesses this will mean a renewed focus on energy management strategies and a greater need to be able to demonstrate progress against targets – which is where the role of smart building technology becomes ever more important.
Smart building technology is the name for sensor devices that can collect and transmit data to a centrally stored hub. This hub can be local to the organisation but, increasingly, will be part of the cloud – information stored on a secure area of the internet, without the need for external servers. The data can be used for monitoring values, or trends over time, to alert facility managers or automate building controls.
Advances in the technology used mean it is becoming more accessible and affordable for all and will be a key part of many companies’ carbon reduction toolkits, helping them to run their buildings as efficiently as possible and producing data that shows progress towards energy saving targets.
What can smart building sensors measure?
Energy usage: CT clamps or current sensors are placed on cables and monitor how much power is running to and through them. They can measure energy consumption at a circuit, zone or machine level.
Temperature: Temperature sensors can be placed on machinery or within a room to ensure heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems are working efficiently and a comfortable environment is maintained.
Air quality: Sensors can monitor carbon dioxide levels, as well as particulate matter and volatile organic compounds (VOCS), all of which can have a detrimental effect on health if too high. This is again a good indication of any potential issues with HVAC systems.
Occupancy: Motion (PIR) and people flow sensors can show you whether a room is being used, by how many people and give an overview of how people are using a space, helping ensure your estate is used as efficiently as possible.
Humidity: Sensors can record humidity percentage levels. Between 40-60% is ideal for slowing the transmission of germs. High humidity levels could indicate a problem with air-handling units.
How does this help with our carbon footprint?
Aside from the obvious benefits of measuring energy consumption itself, smart technology can help to make your building as efficient as possible in a number of ways:
- Continuous monitoring in real-time: Using smart technology means you have a continuous view of what is happening within your buildings. Data collected by sensors can be fed back to a central dashboard and, at any given point in time, you can see a clear picture of what’s going on.
- Ability to make instant changes: You can react instantly to implement changes. For example, energy sensors can identify machines left running when they shouldn’t be or equipment that isn’t performing as it should – meaning you can spot maintenance issues early.
- Ensures your buildings are running at their most efficient levels: When Cavendish Engineers used Pressac’s CO2 sensors in the buildings of one of their clients they revealed the ventilation system was highly inefficient. It was running across their buildings, at full speed, throughout the working day, with energy being used to supply fresh air regardless of need. This led them to design a system to automate ventilation controls, which resulted in a 42% reduction in air handling.
- Reporting and planning becomes easier: Data produced by the systems means you can easily produce reports for your organisation – something that will be crucial when being measured against ambitious carbon reduction targets.
If you’re interested in finding out how smart sensor technology could help you meet your carbon reduction targets visit www.pressac.com for more details.