10 Opportunities for Controlling energy using Smart building solutions


Saving energy with smart building solutions
Saving energy with smart building solutions

1. Heating is the most common energy end-use, especially in residential structures. Improved control options include not only improved programming and temperature management but also increasingly better plant control, such as lowering return water temperatures to condensing boilers and optimising the performance of systems with multiple heat sources.


2. Hot Water. Many systems are now operated continuously at 60 °C, frequently unnecessarily, due to the demand for Legionella sterilisation. In some offices known to the authors of this paper, this can increase energy use by a factor of three or more. Control systems that give an effective yet cost-effective periodic sterilisation programme, but alert management when it isn't followed, could be extremely beneficial. Poor integration with boilers and electric heaters, as well as poor user interfaces and diagnostics, can all degrade the efficacy of solar water heaters.


HVAC systems Prediction
HVAC systems Prediction

3. Ventilation. There are numerous options for more effective and efficient ventilation that adapts to demand, such as people walk around a building. Heating and ventilation systems can also be inadequately linked, resulting in ventilation turning on to cool a place while the heating is still on. Heat recovery systems, if installed, can also benefit from careful monitoring to ensure that they are functioning properly and are not causing unneeded heating or cooling.


4. Cooling. The conflict between heating, cooling, and ventilation wastes a lot of energy. When control-related issues are fixed, heating, ventilation, & air conditioning (HVAC) energy use is decreased by a proportion of more than three, according to research papers. Setting a suitable dead band between heating and cooling can be as simple as that.


Demand for control systems
Demand for control systems

5. Controlling the humidity. While humidity management is found in a small percentage of buildings, when it is, it can be a major source of energy waste if not properly managed.


6. Lighting. Automatic lighting controls are already widely utilised, although they often save less energy than expected, and in certain cases, usage even rises. The following are three key relevant factors:

i. Inadequate and misunderstood user interfaces

ii. Tendency to turn on much more lights than are required (e.g., all the lights in a room when only a few are required, or all the lights to the standard specification when the occupants would have preferred fewer lights/less lighting)

iii. all distribution lights turning on when any space is occupied; in particular, more work needs to be done to ensure that more systems respond to demand and avoid wasting energy.


7. Systems for control and communication. These are usually on all year, but they aren't always necessary. Controls must utilise some of their ingenuity to limit their own energy consumption.


8. Equipment for the office and information technology (IT). Much needless use may be avoided with improved control, yet this is frequently perceived as having little to do with the building providers. Isolating switches with a ‘last out' feature can save a lot of electricity.


9. Equipment for audio-visual (AV) and entertainment. Most of this apparatus is set to ‘on' by default.


10. Catering and vending machines. This seems to be an area that is often connected with a lot of waste, such as vending machines that are chose to leave on all day or where a catering kitchen's ventilation starts at a high speed at the start of the day, cooling the room too much and causing staff to respond by lighting the hobs and other appliances long before they are needed.


Buildings utilise energy for the above ten main uses, each of which has its own set of issues and potential for energy conservation. Focussing on them will definitely help us to conserve energy, minimising the costs.


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