How to achieve fixed targets with intelligent buildings
As global energy consumption continues to rise, the need to manage energy efficiently becomes increasingly important. While the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed global energy consumption, deeper changes are still needed to meet the 2030, 2040 and 2050 tertiary eco-energy decarbonisation targets (40%, 50% and 60%).
In 2020, widespread containment has led to a significant reduction in energy consumption and thus to a decrease in CO2 emissions worldwide. However, these effects are temporary. As companies begin to reopen, energy consumption will increase again. The infographic below summarises the impact of the pandemic on energy use during the 2020 lockdown.
The building sector alone accounts for 40% of global energy consumption. The sector is beginning to transform and modernise by increasingly integrating digital into its actions. In another article, we discussed how interoperability is the key to unlocking the potential of buildings. Interoperability, or the ability to make systems from different suppliers communicate, is slowly developing. There is a wide variety of systems and technologies embedded in buildings. A building may well be equipped with IoT sensors, however, if none of these devices can communicate with each other, or only with devices from one supplier, the building cannot be considered intelligent. Having systems from different suppliers without sufficient interoperability increases the time needed to control them and reduces the chances of achieving energy efficiency targets.
Some buildings are already equipped with appropriate systems, but are still struggling to use their full potential. There is little or no use of data and the behaviour of equipment remains complex. Smart buildings can reduce operating costs by up to 30%. Let's take the example of a piece of equipment with abnormal behaviour in a building :
- Identifying the problem can take days, weeks or even months
- Once the problem has been identified, the information will be passed on to the site manager
- In the end, the site manager will have to undertake costly and time-consuming interventions to repair the malfunctioning equipment
The process takes a long time and during this time the energy bill keeps rising. In addition, there are other problems that are more difficult to notice, such as lighting or air-conditioning systems operating outside of the building's operating hours. Equipment may also be manually activated for a specific and temporary use and then forgotten. Over time, problems multiply due to a lack of intelligent operation, resulting in significant energy losses.
However, with a connected building, all these problems can be solved. The work of many building managers would evolve with a "helicopter" view that allows simplified management and control of equipment in a building stock. They could use interoperability via intelligent connectors to interface with any equipment. By displaying the status, history and behaviour of all equipment, the manager will be instantly alerted to errors and malfunctions so that he can react without missing a beat.
The diagram below models how the use of the right digital tools can detect even the smallest energy loss. In this way, intelligent buildings can reduce energy consumption and:
- identify equipment operating outside the building's occupancy hours
- detect peaks in consumption
- detect abnormal behaviour
- flatten the load curve
Sensinov paves the way for an interoperable and sustainable building sector through solutions for building managers to implement energy efficiency policies. This is an important step towards reducing environmental and energy impact, as the benefits of integrating smart building solutions are significant in optimising building management and reducing energy consumption. It is now necessary to consider the environmental impact of buildings and take the necessary measures.