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Smart Load Management in Smart Buildings

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There is a buzz around smart cities, and how the provision of better data can help urban communities reduce emissions, lower power consumption and enjoy a greener lifestyle. Some of this is inflated, but smarter buildings can result in energy savings of up to thirty percent. Over an entire country, that is a considerable amount. Smarter buildings can also interact with utilities to assist in the management of loads on the grid.

Using the right technology, building management can control and monitor all the energy used to heat, light, and cool the building, as well as run all the equipment installed there. Using real-time data analytics there can be a considerable improvement.

Typical reductions in energy consumption include:

  • Improved control of building systems and services, particularly HVAC

  • Decreased use of air conditioning and heating by utilizing optimum temperatures

  • Room automation – optimized control of lighting and blinds

  • Automation of blinds and shutters to maximize natural light

  • Management of energy so only occupied areas use power

  • Real-time analysis and monitoring of energy requirements

  • More granular control of use – often down to individual dashboards

  • Load shedding

  • Microgrids can sell energy back to the network when in surplus

As this becomes more normal for all kinds of different buildings, the architecture for energy networking will flourish, enabling further advances in automated and effective control of work spaces or residential areas. Economic factors such as cheaper equipment costs will ensure that they are more widely adopted.

 

Smart Building Management

If a building has a single “operating system” where all technologies are integrated and there is a single point of control, there will be efficiencies in both mechanical and electrical systems. This will have physical and psychological benefits for the occupants: people work better in pleasant environments. They exhibit better motivation, improved motivation and higher performance.

Unnecessary costs can be controlled. For example there is no need to light or heat unused rooms or areas, particularly when they are not being used, for example, at weekends.

A smart building's analytics will be able to identify issues before they become significant. Reports show key indicators, and of course can flag up anomalies, as analytics software is often better at this than human beings. Microgrids using solar, wind, heat pump or other green technologies are useful but also have limitations: wind turbines are no use on a calm day or solar panels at night. But nevertheless advanced buildings are becoming small utilities in their own right: sending power to the grid, and drawing it when they are in need of energy.

Adaptability is built into Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS). If a new annex is built, the software will extend control to this new area. Changes in floor layout or internal partitioning can be incorporated. Many BEMS are highly-scalable and can be extended across an entire estate of buildings. Hospitals are an exemplar of how this can be achieved across multiple buildings with complex energy requirements and shifting personnel parameters.

Data Centers are a big, and increasing energy consumer. German IT service provider DVZ partnered with Siemens to introduce an energy data management system in their facilities. It uses 140 metering points to evaluate electricity, cooling, ventilation and heating. The energy loads on the building are easily optimized and managed by the BEMS. Total power consumption has been reduced by 21 percent, and peak load by 17 percent.

Improved automation in this area is essential, and most building management companies should be aware that, with energy costs soaring, that proper utilization of advanced systems, costs can be kept down and an improved environment created for the people who live or work in the building.

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