When you connect a building to the Internet of Things (IoT), what you get is so much greater than the sum of its parts. By retrofitting an office with connected sensors that integrate greater compute capabilities, with intelligent gateways that gather and filter data, then utilizing big data analytics to extract value from that data, you transform building efficiency and comfort, as well as realize big savings. I recently had the chance to talk smart buildings with Camille Morhardt (Manager, IoT Product Marketing, IoT Group) and Scott Shull (Director, Strategic Business Development, IoT Solutions Division, Intel). It’s fascinating to realize how IoT is bringing greater intelligence to building operations, enhancing operational efficiencies, and tenant comfort. ~ Terri Blake
Working with a world-class ecosystem, Intel delivers interoperable hardware and software solutions, integrated security, and simplified management capabilities that make smart buildings a reality today. Let’s take a look at some great examples of how IoT and smart buildings are changing the way we think about reducing energy consumption and delivering savings in new and surprising ways.
Too Cool: Bringing IoT to HVAC
If you want to make a big impact on electricity budgets—and take a load off of electrical grids—HVACs (Heating, Ventilation and AC units) are a great place to apply IoT technologies. An HVAC unit has hundreds of sensors that can be used to optimize its performance, work in harmony with building occupancy, and anticipate and react to weather events in order to reduce energy consumption while smartly delivering comfort and savings.
Intel works directly with Daikin Applied, the world’s largest commercial HVAC manufacturer, to make these solutions a reality. Daikin was already producing the world’s most efficient systems—but they knew IoT presented an opportunity to do more.
As a result of the collaboration, Daikin deployed a complete end-to-end solution for commercial HVAC equipment, installing Intel® Gateway Solutions for IoT into every one of their Rebel* HVAC units. The gateways and sensors monitor and tune all aspects of performance—compressors, supply fans, outdoor air fans, etc. With edge-to-cloud data capture and filtering, Daikin provides useful analytics, including real-time HVAC unit performance, remote diagnostics, monitoring and control, advanced energy management, and third-party content integration services to its customers and technicians. It also offers fault detection that can predict upcoming maintenance issues before they happen.
Conquering the Grid: Demand/Response
If you are able to control an entire fleet of HVACs, you can schedule a building to use less power during peak energy times, and then sell that unused power back to the grid. This technique, known as Demand/Response, is one of the key solutions many end-user customers want to deploy.
In a nutshell, the local energy utility may predict insufficient electrical capacity a day in advance. Customers under “Demand/Response” contracts to the utility agree to shed their demand for electricity in response to an automated signal. Daikin and Intel are working with several U.S. national energy utilities to equip HVACs with the capability to play into this Demand/Response scenario, aggregating an end customer’s entire fleet of HVACs with the ability to pre-cool a building in advance of the peak power event, then throttling back the HVACs, shedding electrical load.
Knowledge + Smart Glass and Solar Panels
With an intelligent gateway, you can coordinate info from Intel® Services (such as the Intel® MasheryTM portfolio of products and professional services) and make great use of details like weather, time of day, and seasons to adjust systems on a building, such as a solar panels, window blinds, or smart glass for improved efficiency. For example, the amount of energy that could be saved when you turn “off” a 500 m2 south-facing smart glass area window on hot summer afternoons (i.e. make the glass opaque) amounts to 209 kWh/day—that’s roughly the equivalent of powering 145 incandescent light bulbs, or nearly $10,000 in energy savings annually.1
Smart Buildings at Work
In Taiwan, Intel, Tatung, and Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) are working together on an IoT application focused on smart energy savings for businesses. The newly developed intelligent gateway integrates an Intel® Quark™ SoC and combines the I/O board to provide a smart connection between energy management systems and other commercial building devices. The smart, energy-saving conference room is already up and running (with excellent results):
1. Calculation derived from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_tracker