Smart Buildings: Improving Sustainability and Energy Efficiency

Building transformation results after 6 months

In the emerging world of technology and innovation, the way buildings are being planned, constructed, and managed is changing. Teknisk Ukeblad, Norway’s largest website in the technical sector, focuses on technology for industries and businesses including oil and gas, IT, construction, energy, and manufacturing, to name a few.

Reporting on the latest developments in the construction sector for over 24 years, TU has covered how ClevAir, a building automation system from Smart Plants, transformed buildings of large Swedish furniture retailer into smart ones. Inspired by their article, we created the following post to explain a bit further the technology of a smart building and how a simple solution can transform the ordinary building into the smart one.

ClevAir featured in Teknisk Ukeblad printed article - Saving energy with digital "caretaker"
ClevAir featured in Teknisk Ukeblad printed article – SAVING ENERGY WITH DIGITAL “CARETAKER”

The Changing Building Industry

The technology used to be a sector within a company. In today’s fast-evolving environment, successful organizations understand that technology must be a part of the operation’s bedrock, informing, shaping and monitoring every decision.

The building industry has undergone an unprecedented transformation injecting technology to the forefront in planning, development, and investment, and the credit goes to the Internet of Things (IoT).

The future belongs to construction with sensor networks that can control temperature, monitor power, and water consumption, track sustainability performance in real-time, and much more.

Technology has also changed the way buildings are managed. The latest building management system (BMS) protects investment and creates an optimal first impression. In the simplest terms, smart BMS provides deep insights into the real-time performance of assets, predicts potential issues, employs a predictive approach, and delivers significant data to act on. New design tools, technical solutions, and evolving ecosystems have driven the transition to Smart Buildings.

ClevAir is making a significant impact in this space from building automation system management and predictive maintenance of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, (HVAC) and other building aspects to ensure overall security and safety.

The Transition to Smart Buildings

Transition to smart building

Many buildings have a certain level of in-built intelligence: it could be lighting, HVAC, security, or fire safety. But today, it is possible to achieve much more from the building data, and ultimately, shape future strategies to make better decisions. No matter the type of building—commercial, industrial, residential, education, and healthcare, property managers can benefit from new technologies, IoT, mobile devices, AI, and big data.

Simplifying smart building solutions has enabled to track building systems, maximize efficiency, reducing downtime, and maintain a comfortable, productive environment, regardless of technical experience. These buildings also enhance personal safety, comfort, and security. Because predictive approach anticipates problems even before they occur, the structures are less susceptible to shutdowns during peak hours.

Things That Make Buildings Smarter

1. Energy Efficiency

By accessing actionable data from smart sensors and meters, building management systems provide efficiency through improvements in lighting, HVAC, fire, security systems.

2. Operational Efficiency

The operation covers several aspects of building management, maintenance, and security. Through the automation of building systems and increased control, operational efficiency can be accomplished.

3. Occupant Comfort

Smart buildings can ensure occupant satisfaction by tying lighting and heating systems to behavior patterns, thereby fostering savings.

Why Energy-Efficient, Smart Buildings?

By collecting data and making continuous amendments, smart buildings address the goal of greater energy and operational efficiency.

  • In the majority of cases, the different aspects of a building such as HVAC, fire safety, lighting, and security surveillance, work separately. But in a smart building, these systems feed into a central, cloud-based network and work in sync with each other via the Internet of Things (IoT) technology.
  • Smart buildings can talk to one another. This benefit has compensated for supply fluctuations and reduced overall energy demand. In simple words, a smart building can limit its energy consumption on days when the city power grid sends an alert that it’s near capacity.
  • Smart buildings are much more worth than non-connected buildings. Not only they save money but they also run better. This actively promotes sustainability and efficiency and dramatically reduces consumption and utility costs. These benefits also attract potential tenants, resulting in lower vacancy rates.
  • Smart buildings generate a lot of data, which in itself is an asset. The data reports how the building has performed so far and where the improvements have to be made. This data serves a foundation for stronger building performance and efficiency. It can also help improve productivity and occupant experience through location-based services.

How Smart Plants’ ClevAir transformed buildings of a large Swedish furniture retailer

ClevAir building management software
ClevAir is a plug and play solution. It converts power-hungry buildings to automatized and cost-saving ones!

Smart Plants have demonstrated a technology-based connected building solution, ClevAir, designed to enable momentous cost savings and efficiency gains from automation. Whether it is energy conservation, temperature controls, or communication modes, ClevAir utilizes data and information from assets to predict issues faster and intelligently.

Smart Plants in collaboration with an existing customer did a pilot testing in one of its departmental stores in Norway.

Challenge:

Reduce energy consumption, increase control and monitor HVAC, and improve occupant comfort.

Solution:

ClevAir provides automatic provisioning of sensor networks, enabling automatic discovery of potential issues, and giving recommendations based on algorithmic controls.

The system conducts a ‘health check’ of the entire store, and reports errors, if any, in settings, internal controllers, or ventilation system. ClevAir can also advise on the installation of new equipment, thereby reducing expensive maintenance and replacement costs in the long run.

Result:

smart building six months savings

Comprehensive data on the health and performance of the store is aggregated and analyzed on a cloud-based network, and is, then, made available to store administrators or maintenance department via mobile apps or software installed on their systems.

This data helps monitor the store’s HVAC, proactively recommend real-time adjustments and preventative maintenance. The store managed a reduction of 36% in heating usage with an outdoor temperature of 2,4 degrees. They also reduced overall power consumption with 25% in the last six months.

The store has saved approx. 250,000 kWh of energy in 6 months. These results surely astonished the customer’s sustainability department, which further led to the survey of all departmental stores.

Building Smart with Integrated Technology

Smart Plants focuses on a smart building approach. True smart buildings are controlled by intelligent building management systems capable of making predictive and automated decisions thereby enhancing the inhabitants’ experiences.

Smart Plants work closely with clients to optimize the building performance which helps in decreasing energy use, reducing maintenance costs, increasing asset value, and improving human wellbeing and productivity. By providing the advanced expertise and leading-edge building intelligence tools, Smart Plants empowers the clients in refining and achieving their building performance goals that include residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional properties.

As they say: what gets measured can eventually be fixed and improved upon.

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