Getting To Smart Buildings: Six Keys To Implement IoT

Getting To Smart Buildings: Six Keys To Implement IoT

As technologies continue to evolve in 2018, consider the connection between building energy management systems and IoT.

Over the years, buildings have become more complex and dynamic than ever — housing multiple systems, standards, and vendors. Some of these newer so-called “smart” buildings also feature systems that weren’t commonplace even five years ago, such as water reclamation, sun-tracking, and rainwater harvesting.

Complexity, unfortunately, can also lead to inefficiencies. Systems may not be able to communicate to one another — instead operating in silo, meaning operations staff may not get a holistic view of the building’s performance. Building energy management systems (BEMS) emerged more than a decade ago to help companies and organizations cut their utility costs and make better strategic decisions around energy use. These early systems, while able to run diagnostics and send alerts if they find a problem, did not have the capabilities to be predictive.IoT

As our buildings have aged, the rate of change has sped up in the facilities industry. This lends to a positive forecast, since up to 75% of a building’s lifetime costs are spent on maintenance and operations, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The BEMS market is evolving along with the ecosystem of intelligent building technologies such as control systems and wireless technologies, according to Navigant Research. Energy management was the initial focus of BEMS, but now companies and organizations want these solutions to optimize sustainability, space utilization, operational efficiency, and employee productivity.

As a result, BEMS are starting to leverage items such as the Internet of Things (IoT), solar energy storage, and building information modeling (BIM) to integrate various systems and connect them to a centralized technology “backbone.” These technologies can provide real-time performance data and analysis to the BEMS, helping facility managers identify problems before they occur and make their buildings more productive and efficient.

These new technologies are increasingly important as the power and efficiency demands of buildings evolve. Energy consumption around the world will increase by 56% by 2040, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Our global population is expected to increase by 38% from 6.9 billion in 2010 to 9.6 billion in 2050, and our electricity needs are projected to skyrocket in this “always on” digital economy. Buildings currently consume about 53% percent of the world’s available energy. By 2040, that consumption will increase to 80% of our electricity.

Consequently, organizations need a more analytical, data-driven approach to building management to maximize efficiency, cut energy waste, and lower cost. We will also increasingly need such “smart” buildings so organizations and people can work more effectively.

Buildings of all sizes can benefit from this more technological and analytical approach. According to research, the small and medium-size commercial building market is poised to grow by more than 60% — to $38 billion — by the year 2025. In fact, these small and medium-sized enterprises can save 20% on their energy bills through more effective monitoring.

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