Because energy costs are expected to rise through 2023, building owners and operators have more than one good reason to increase their project’s energy efficiency.
New high-quality building materials that provide better thermal performance or energy production systems (photovoltaic panels, wind turbines…) are some of the tools to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. Smart buildings and smart homes are the other part of the solution to this problem.
Building automation has been proven as a cost-effective solution because it makes decisions over the building systems with important energy consumptions, automatically based on data instead of waiting for the user’s reaction to their perceptions. This way, it provides significant energy savings for both consumers and businesses.
How can smart buildings help save energy?
These are some automation that could lead to a reduction in the energy bill in smart buildings:
- Energy production and consumption monitoring: being aware of energy consumption is the first step to changing habits and operation procedures. In addition, monitoring energy production helps design automation to adapt energy consumption to the energy production patterns. This way most of the consumed energy is renewable energy produced by the own building, which is the principle of a net zero energy building.
- Occupancy detection: rather than spying on people, the use of surveillance cameras, door controllers, or presence sensors can detect anonymously where the users of the building are located, to adapt the energy consumption to the real needs. For example, in offices with a hybrid workforce, areas or even floors can be empty for extended periods. Shutting down the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems (HVAC), or lighting, could reduce the monthly energy bill.
- Climate control: heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems consume 47% of the total energy in commercial buildings. Adjusting the temperature of the areas according to the users’ needs to regulate the heating or cooling demand is essential for the users’ comfort, but also energy saving. Scheduled changes of setpoints according to the times of use for the different areas in a building is one of the automation that smart buildings allow for an efficient operation.
- Solar shading: controlling the shutter or blinds not only helps with glare avoidance when using natural light, but it also has an important role in the thermal performance of the building. Collecting the heat or protecting it from the sun, depending on the season, can reduce the heating or cooling demand, as well as the artificial lighting needs.
- Lighting control: dimming light to adapt to the activity needs can reduce the lighting electric consumption, but also regulating the color temperature of light from warm to cool light, can have an important effect on the electricity bill. If this regulation is done automatically all day long to mimic sunlight, such as the KUMUX lighting solution, it also has an additional positive influence on the users’ internal clock, balancing the sleep and wake cycles, which affects people’s overall health, productivity, and wellness.
Even though building automation is seen as an extra expense in a building project, the economic gains due to energy saving make their payback time 2-3 years on average.
To finish, building automation not only saves money but also affects the comfort of users, improving their productivity in workplaces or their customer experience in hospitality buildings. But the most important is that smart buildings make more sustainable use of the resources of our planet, which in the long term, should be one of our main priorities.
Let’s take care of our money and our planet with building automation.