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A blog about software development best practices, how-tos, and tips from practitioners.

Facilities Management And Iot: Connecting Data For Smart & Efficient Energy Management

Facilities Management And Iot: Connecting Data For Smart & Efficient Energy Management

Have you heard about the “The Edge” building in Amsterdam? If you look at it from the outside, you will think of it as just another commercial office building. But it is a Smart Building. Let me describe what it means. It has a smart LED lighting system with 30,000 sensors. IoT connects these sensors to the building management system. This lighting system automatically optimizes the energy usage by measuring and monitoring the motions, radiation, temperature, and light levels. When there is nobody on a floor, the lights switch off automatically and the heating and cooling is adjusted to the minimum. The occupants can also personalize temperature and light settings through an app. It shouldn’t surprise you that The Edge uses 70 percent less electricity than other commercial office buildings! That’s the power of IoT-enabled energy management.

 

IoT is no more just a fashionable concept – It is being implemented across sectors and is presenting new opportunities to create smart environments. Today, while energy is one of the highest manufacturing costs, it is also not easy to track down the energy utilization and wastage. The good news is, though the advances in the Internet of Things (IoT) can bring significant benefits for energy efficiency.

Studies show that if the energy efficiency of commercial and industrial buildings is improved even by 10 percent, the total cost saving will be approx. $20 billion. (Source)

 

Energy Management: Needs and Challenges

In today’s tough economic and competitive business environment, businesses are forced to look at areas for cost saving. One of the prime areas of focus is the cost of energy – businesses are seriously rethinking strategies for energy saving and environmental sustainability. Organizations are working towards minimizing their energy consumption without hampering the comfort and other considerations such as fresh air, level of carbon dioxide, humidity etc. The ultimate goal is to optimize energy consumption across heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems (which consume 30-50 percent of the energy in buildings), lights, refrigeration, and other systems such as security or fire systems.

However, there are some challenges in energy management. These include:

  • Difficulty in optimizing the building resources
  • Disparate data sources providing data in multiple formats (online, offline, manual inputs etc.)
  • Manual consolidation and analysis of data 
  • No Correlation and analysis of multifaced data 
  • Difficulties in multi-facility performance benchmarking  


 

IoT-Enabled Energy Management and Efficiency Monitoring -

A few years ago, we had helped a very large IT park in developing an IoT-enabled smart energy management solution. Also, propositions for various commercial buildings (and malls, chain of movie theatres) in metro cities. Apart from a Building Management System, the park and the commercial building had other decentralized and manual systems for monitoring boilers, chillers, water supply, gas pipelines, and generators. One of the main issues which the IT park, as well as commercial buildings and chain of movie theatres, was facing was the continuous complaints from the occupants on comfort levels maintained by the HVAC systems. The HVAC operators were stressed about maintaining the comfortable levels while optimizing the energy consumption. Other issues in context to OEE (Overall equipment effectiveness) of OEM supplied equipment, and further productivity and efficiency o the workforce too.

An IoT-enabled smart energy management solution we developed included a cloud-based remote monitoring, control and analytics, and with focus on big data analytics solution to analyze indoor air quality (IAQ) and HVAC energy consumption.

The dashboards offered by the solution provided real-time analysis of actual temperature vs. moisture ratio plotted per ASHRAE standard 55 comfort chart. These dashboards helped the HVAC operators in optimizing the energy consumption. The HVAC operators could reduce the energy consumption by 2% - 3% - resulting in a huge cost saving.

 

The Scope of the Solution

Typically, the smart energy management solution helps in the monitoring of industrial equipment, processes, discrete equipment, waste water effluent disposal, and utilities. It also helps in Continuous Measurement and Verification (CMV) and management of energy, inventory and workforce optimization.

 

Data Management

The smart energy management solution gathers, transfers, stores and uses the data for further processing. The data is gathered from multiple sources and transferred to the cloud for storage and further processing.

 

Analytics

The goal of analytics offered by the smart energy management solution is to identify gaps, measure the performance against set goals, and optimize the resources to reduce the carbon footprint. Provide the benchmarking provision and ultimately help for overall decision support systems.

 

Reporting

The energy consumption reports offered by the smart energy management solution –

  • Provide detailed insights on energy consumption patterns based on equipment, season, department, etc.
  • Help in tracking the energy-intensive equipment which contributes to maximum energy consumption
  • Identify energy consumption patterns to help in identifying possible areas of load distribution                
  • Help in verifying the billed consumption and identify irregularities in billing
  • Evaluate performance of energy efficiency across multiple facilities and compare energy consumption statistics

 

Maintenance Monitor

Maintenance Monitor is one of the crucial components of the smart energy management solution. It provides information on interlock, trips, and alarm analysis.

 

Benefits of Smart Energy Management

Let us have a quick look at some of the numerous benefits of smart energy management -

  • Reduction in Carbon Emission: Through carbon emission analysis, commercial establishments can implement energy management standards and minimize the overall carbon emissions.
  • Root Cause Analysis: IoT enabled systems can help in doing the root cause analysis in case of higher energy consumption and help in identifying the real issues.
  • Asset Efficiency and Maintenance: With IoT, businesses can do the real-time analysis of asset efficiency data. This helps in quickly identifying the non-optimal assets and prioritize the maintenance of those assets.
  • Correction Analysis: The right power correction can help in massive reduction of energy costs. With smart energy management, one can identify the operational discrepancies by doing the analysis of alarms. The big data analysis can help in identifying the possible reasons of deviation and required preventive actions.
  • Power Optimization: Energy consumption can be reduced or in some cases, entirely avoided by turning off the devices when not needed. This can be achieved through the deployment of sensors which turn off the lights in the unoccupied areas.
  • Demand/ Supply Optimization: Based on the analysis of consumption patterns and the demands, through predictive analysis, IoT solution can help in identifying the future needs which can then be better addressed through appropriate management of the supply.

Sounds interesting, isn’t it? While I described all this for small establishments such as IT parks or malls, such massive scale energy optimization is being done for the whole of Las Vegas city.  NV Energy has integrated predictive energy optimization in 2013 through its program called mPowered. With this, the famous casinos and resorts at Vegas have become Smart Buildings. Through an IoT-enabled solution, NV Energy manages the energy distribution based on the real-time demand for energy, resulting in tremendous energy optimization. This is just an example of what all is possible for a building or even a city.

The technology is already available for you to avail. We are all set to welcome the world of smart buildings, smart facilities and smart cities. Are you ready?

If you want to discuss how you can leverage the IoT revolution in facilities management, just connect to me OR drop me an e-mail or message me on LinkedIN, and I will be happy to get in touch with you.

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