Energy efficiency programs have been around for decades. According to the U.S. Department of Energy: If all existing commercial buildings implemented the best technologies available today, energy consumption would be reduced by 46%.
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But with growing calls for corporate sustainability and rising demand for electricity, there’s a lot more work to be done. (Even investors are looking for evidence of operational efficiency at the companies they invest in.) And thanks to technology advancements, there’s a lot of untapped potential still to be had.
So what is the newest available energy-saving technology, and how are companies using it to achieve their efficiency goals? Keep reading to find out more about how Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and analytics make two of today’s most popular energy management practices—demand response and demand control ventilation—possible.
IoT Sensors & Analytics: Intelligent Data Acquisition
The energy consumption of a commercial building continuously changes based on a number of dynamic conditions—there is no static model of energy use. Therefore, the most effective energy management approaches are adaptable to current conditions.
This kind of flexible approach has two main components: data gathering and advanced data analytics.
1. Data Gathering With Wireless IoT Sensors
Your building’s intricate operations depend on multiple parallel processes happening both inside and outside your building, all of which must be examined in relation to one another before significant insights can be gleaned. At any given time, one or more of the following factors might impact an operational decision for the purpose of saving energy:
- Building data—Wireless IoT sensors can measure anything about your building, from environmental conditions (CO2 level, air temperature, humidity, luminosity, etc.) to which pieces of equipment are using the most energy, when.
- Energy usage patterns—Sensors can also help you understand how and when your building uses energy (also known as your energy profile).
- Occupants’ behavior—Activity levels, behavior patterns, and comfort preferences of occupants are a consideration for many energy efficiency measures; IoT sensors can help gather some of this information.
- Energy prices—Avoiding high-priced time periods is a common way to generate savings.
- Weather data—Collecting, compiling, and analyzing weather data in connection with other building information gives you a way to be proactive about energy use on especially hot or cold days.
The IoT is capable of monitoring and measuring various aspects of your building, and bringing in these various data inputs to extrapolate anomalies and make correlations.
2. Advanced IoT Analytics
Even with an abundance of great data, if you can’t act on it, then isn’t worth your time to collect it in the first place. Most IoT monitoring systems have an advanced analytics component that helps you unlock real business value from your data.
IoT analytics platforms give your data points context so they can be easily interpreted. Some of the data points above will only be useful when analyzed in the context of other data—for example, examining the operating times of energy-intensive equipment along with energy prices. Analysis of those data points in connection with one another makes it possible to produce a customized action plan that avoids peak energy rates, thus saving money.
You can start optimizing your energy use now.
Many organizations are already taking advantage of IoT sensors and analytics to cut costs and become more energy efficient, primarily through strategies like demand response and demand control ventilation. With the right IoT partner, they are easy to implement and cost-effective—and within reach of most companies today.