IoT: a key route to green building
As we talked recently about different ways to build green buildings, we have not yet discussed an important part: IoT in the green building sector. “In 2021, around 41.9% of US households owned a smart building device, this number is predicted to increase to 48.4% by 2025.”
As said by the Insider Intelligence, there are more and more so-called "smart" houses. In fact, you surely already heard about Smart Buildings. But what is exactly the objective behind this concept? And how is it linked to green buildings?
A smart building is a building using IoT devices, sensors, or software to collect data information and generate insights to optimize and improve building performance such as reducing its energy and water consumption, enhancing its air quality or en daylight proportion. Indeed, smart buildings contribute to the same objectives of green buildings and can support them in achieving net zero goals.
IoT means Internet of Things, it interconnects devices in a network where they can communicate with the internet. These devices can be sensors, smartphones, tablets, TVs… By communicating together the building can improve its performance.
By implementing sensors for temperature, humidity, and meters for energy and water utilities occupants can access real-time data and be informed of their energy, water usage and overall indoor environmental quality. It gives us insights of how they use the energy and helps them reduce their energy consumption by adapting their building devices.
Occupants can then ensure to not waste energy or water. For example, they can collect the data from the water used in the shower and see how they can optimize and not waste more water. For the energy consumption the owners can verify if a space is being cooled or heated unnecessarily. They can also control indoor air quality to see if they should change a ventilation system that no longer works or just install a better one.
Indeed, this system can help occupants to gain insight into their monthly consumption and understand when and where they are over-consuming.
Another solution is to install smart lights. In fact, 10% of energy consumed in an ordinary building comes from lighting, so it becomes important to improve the building's energy efficiency by focusing first on the lighting. With a light controller occupants can adjust the light intensity according to the times of the day.
They can also install a smart controller which regulates the light level by itself according to the natural daylight sensors capture.
Building Management Systems
More broadly, every Green Building should be equipped with BMS (Building Management Systems). BMS allows occupants to be alerted when a sensor captures an unusual parameter. It can detect an imminent failure from humidity, temperature, compressor vibrations… and then a problem can be avoided before it occurs (for example fire and gas leakage).
In fact, using IoT to centralize BMS allows sensors and devices to communicate and then resolve problems. If the light sensor says the light is too bright it will send a message to the light controller and will lower the intensity.
The HVAC system can also be programmed for the day, and cool or heat a room when it's only necessary at predefined temperature. If occupants want to heat their home before they get home, they can also program it from their phone.
Sensors also exist to warn if the CO2 level is too high and then activate the ventilation to regulate it. This allows occupants to save energy and money while preserving their health and wellbeing.
The Importance for Building’s Certification
If occupants want to pursue a LEED or WELL Certification, an IoT system will help them collect data on the building and see how the building’s performance can be improved through energy consumption, water use and air quality.
During the building life it allows them to collect data to keep the certification, they may have to prove their building performance is still the same.