As the technology becomes more accessible and affordable, and the benefits become more widely known, the number of smart buildings and homes looks set to grow significantly in the next few years. So, if you’re wondering what makes a building smart and how the technology affects HVAC systems, read on for a quick overview.
Smart Buildings Explained
A smart building takes advantage of the latest technologies and the internet of things (IoT) to intelligently control its lighting, security, fire prevention, air conditioning, cooling, heating and other operations. Smart buildings offer efficiency and connectivity on a whole new level by coordinating all the technology within a building,and controlling it from a central point.
Sensors are integrated with the building’s automation systems, to collect data which can then be utilised to improve efficiency and comfort throughout the building or home. Smart buildings can perform functions as diverse as keyless entry, switching lights off when a room is not in use, or adjusting the level of heating or cooling to achieve an ideal climate.
How Smart HVAC Works
With the ability to reduce energy costs, provide more comfortable conditions for occupants and lessen the maintenance workload, it’s no wonder smart HVAC technology is on the radar of so many organisations and home owners. Smart HVAC uses sensors to collect data on the conditions of zones throughout the building. This data can then be communicated to other specialised HVAC equipment within the building to adjust temperature, humidity and air flow in different zones to reduce energy consumption and provide the optimum level of comfort.
Some of the HVAC components found in a smart building may include:
- Thermal sensors
- CO2 sensors
- Occupancy sensors
- Light sensors
- Demand controlled ventilation
- Variable speed fans
- VRF systems.
The Benefits of Smart HVAC
One of the key benefits of smart buildings is the ability to gather data and use it to improve the performance of the systems within the building. Smart integration can help to reduce the running costs of HVAC systems through intelligent automation, which uses a series of sensors to maintain temperatures based on usage patterns.
Smart infrastructure can also use the IoT and a combination of real-time and historical data to potentially predict malfunctions before they happen. This is huge for businesses, as it could avoid the higher repair costs and loss of income due to productivity downturn that can occur when hardware fails.
The Future of Smart Buildings
Like all technology, smart buildings will continue to evolve, with new capabilities and functions to make life at home and work more comfortable and efficient. There’s no doubt that smart building technology, including smart HVAC, is a big step in the right direction for organisations who are looking to reduce energy costs, lessen their environmental impact and improve employee productivity and satisfaction. Home owners are also embracing smart HVAC as a way to improve energy efficiency, reduce power bills and increase their comfort levels.
So be sure to keep up with the latest developments in smart HVAC, both in commercial buildings and residential homes. Because you never know - your next call out might just be a smart building.
Over to You
Have you worked in a smart building and have a story to share? We’d love to hear from you!