Smart buildings and energy management

NHP Electrical Engineering Products Pty Ltd

By Justin Charlot, Product Marketing Manager – EMCS & Building Automation
Wednesday, 06 February, 2019


Smart buildings and energy management

Across the globe, it’s estimated more than 100 new devices connect to the internet every second. People are more connected than ever, with an average of four internet-connected devices per person, and the numbers are estimated to grow even faster over the next five years. The future is here and it’s time to get smart about how we adapt to it.

Widely referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), this third wave of technology, following computers and the internet, refers to the connection between people and digital data. From our smartphones and wearables to everyday appliances, the way we live and work is changing at a rapid pace and this technology explosion is creating enormous pressure on existing infrastructure and energy resources.

From mixed overall demand to a lack of consistent standards, adoption of IoT has been slower than expected, but with a growing emphasis on best practice and critical insights, smart buildings are leading the way in delivering the change necessary.

Intelligent technology managing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), lighting and fire safety that was once considered groundbreaking is increasingly becoming the norm in most buildings. And as the demand grows, so has the means of using data to make better decisions. It’s no longer enough for smart buildings to simply contain intelligent systems. Everything must be connected in an integrated, dynamic and functional way.

With the commercial building sector responsible for approximately 10% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improving building energy efficiency with an energy management plan is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to reduce operational costs while decreasing harmful emissions.

Energy management is not just about installing energy-efficient equipment. It is the ongoing process of identifying, planning and implementing improvements by establishing enduring processes to monitor and achieve best practice in the use of energy. Whether you are a developer, building owner, product manufacturer or building occupant, the delivery of a more sustainable building environment is the top priority.

In addition to the inherent benefit of reducing the environmental impact and financial benefits associated with reducing energy bills and optimising internal operations, an energy management plan also provides value where there are legislation requirements, particularly when it comes to energy ratings and CO2 emission reporting.

From measurement through energy metering, to energy management controllers and software, the innovative systems log data and provide valuable insights into building operations and performance including advanced analytics, fault detection, smart alerts and in-built reporting capabilities. NHP’s cloud hosted energy management platform, InfoSyte, empowers users to identify energy efficiency and process improvement opportunities.

When it comes to the construction sector, the importance placed on energy conservation, efficiency and reduction of emissions while maintaining operational performance is of the upmost priority. This was reflected in a project undertaken by Perigon and NHP at the Student One building in Brisbane. Designed to house 727 students who were not required to pay electricity as part of their housing, there was no financial incentive to conserve energy, meaning the overall energy footprint of the building was at risk.

To combat the likelihood of negligent energy use and reduce overall power consumption, an initiative was introduced to promote good practice by incentivising the building occupants with a discretionary reward if they kept their energy consumption under a certain threshold during a set timeframe.

An intuitive VMU-C energy meter combined with the EM2 web-server was installed to enable Student One to manage the overall building, including remote access as required. In addition to the web-based energy monitoring system, NHP supplied Concept distribution boards specifically designed to improve and assist with acquiring the NABERS and Greenstar based requirements the building owner aimed to achieve.

On a smaller scale, the developer of the 5x4 Hayes Lane Project in Melbourne wanted to challenge the inefficiencies that often exist within the Australian construction industry by delivering a more sustainable and efficient way to build in an urban environment.

This unique, inner-city dwelling only occupies a five by four metre footprint. Within this small confinement, the narrow house is able to generate, store and control its own power through solar panels. The building’s peak energy load was also reduced by 20–30% by using a variety of initiatives like the Allen-Bradley PanelView human machine interface to monitor and run the heating and cooling, hot water and hot tub temperature.

Smart buildings make occupants more productive and lower the cost and environmental impact over the life cycle of the building. They are just one way we are building a truly intelligent, innovative and smart future.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/tonefotografia

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