Building automation is a growing trend, where centralised technological systems command the operation of building functions in more efficient ways. Heating, water, ventilation, air conditioning, and electrical systems are the most commonly controlled by building automation systems, but the technology can be put to use controlling almost every aspect of a buildings functions.
Pairing building automation with artificial intelligence and machine learnings is a growing trend across the construction sector, and the results show that such complex systems can significantly lower the energy and water consumption of buildings, reducing their environmental impact, and saving on utility costs.
1. Reduce energy consumption
Large office buildings can waste a lot of energy. People regularly forget to turn off lights when they leave rooms, and traditional heating and air conditioning timers cannot take into account whether people are actually using the rooms that are being heated or cooled.
Building automation systems can utilise sensors, so that the lights come on as people enter a room and then automatically switch them off when they leave. They can also take into account whether people are using rooms, such as by monitoring motion, and only maintain the temperature so closely when the rooms are in use, moving to a lower level of heat regulation throughout the rest of the day and at night when the building is unoccupied.
The most advanced systems also monitor the location of the sun in the sky and can automatically raise and lower the blinds to keep the room at a more steady temperature reducing the reliance on technologies like central heating and air conditioning.
2. Leak detection
A small water leak can cause significant damage to a building if not fixed immediately, but it can be difficult for building managers to know about the leak before it starts dripping through the ceiling. However, a smart water monitoring system could tell that more water was being used than normal and water was flowing outside of normal work hours, and then flag the problem to the maintenance team.
The water flow monitoring system could also see which area of which floor was showing the unusual water activity, and save the maintenance staff a significant amount of time hunting down the issue. And when leaks are fixed more quickly that is both good for the environment and a company’s bottom line.
3. Reduced machinery wear and tear
Machinery wears out of time, and if heating and air conditioning systems are constantly in use they will start to fail far sooner than if they are utilised more efficiently.
If we consider that a standard HVAC system might last for 10 years of “normal” always-on use in a traditional building, if such systems were only used as needed for eight hours per day, this could double or better their service lives, which both saves money and the environment.
Building automation systems are constantly becoming smarter and providing new data on how businesses can reduce their environmental impact and save money at the same time. The more widely adopted these systems become, the easier it will be for us all to reduce are carbon footprints and help save the planet.
Photograph by SevenStorm