How retrofitted IoT sensors and data monitoring features create smart building energy efficiency

ITVET were founded with an eco-conscious purpose. We provide solutions that have a positive impact on our environment and local community. Smart building energy efficiency is one facet of our smart building expertise. When leveraged to its full potential, the ascension of technology can make a positive impact on our environment. We’re transforming our ITVET offices into energy efficient smart buildings by introducing a range of energy efficient IoT features. As specialists in smart building strategy, we retrofit older buildings to incorporate smart building features that support their sustainability goals. In this article, we look at why offices need to be revolutionised with smart energy management using IoT, and the changes ITVET is making to reduce our carbon footprint.

The need for energy efficient smart buildings

Analysing our energy usage is key to reducing the carbon footprint of our offices

Retrofitting smart IoT technology creates energy efficient smart buildings. According to the International Energy Agency, buildings are “accounting for more than 30% of global energy use today and 30% of energy-related CO2 emissions”. Retrofitting should be prioritised over new build projects. This reduces energy demand in the construction sector, an industry with an exponential carbon footprint.

The 2020 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction notes electricity consumption in building operations represents nearly 55% of global electricity consumption. Every day actions from heating entire buildings to leaving screens on overnight, soon add up. Humans are inherently unreliable and forgetful creatures. This unreliability leads to careless waste of electric, water and many more of our planet’s precious resources. The inefficiencies of our manual processes wreak disastrous consequences on our planet.

Consequence of not utilising energy efficiency

Manual processes invite mistakes

It’s hard to set high standards for your office’s sustainability if you rely on human compliance. People frequently forget to switch off the heating, or an office light at the end of the day.

Office temperature is always a heated subject. There’s always that one colleague who feels the need to keep the air conditioning on ‘artic mode’. They turn it up high whilst their colleagues are sat shivering in their coats. They don’t consider how many people are in the office and what spaces are in occupation. With smart technology, you can ensure only the necessary parts of the office are heated up or cooled down. For example, if a few people are working overtime, the IoT sensors will detect their presence. The smart technology ensures perfect working conditions. There is no need to waste energy in parts of the office where no one is present.

Mistakes happen. Whether it’s leaving the light on in the bathroom, not closing the fridge or leaving the tap to drip. With smart building features retrofitted into traditional office infrastructure, human error is minimised.

The financial disadvantages of manual processes

Cooling an entire building uses a huge amount of energy. The Facilities Management Journal reported in January 2020 that “office buildings are losing £60m energy every year.” This energy could power over 100,000 homes.

Not only are office buildings haemorrhaging money, but they are also significantly contributing toward the effects of climate change.

Energy wastage in an empty office

IoT and energy efficiency

The Internet of Things (IoT) and energy efficiency go hand in hand. We are employing a range of IoT sensors and data monitoring features to our offices to improve our sustainability performance.

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

IoT means various objects are connected to the internet, enabling them to network and collect data from each other. The ‘IoT agenda’ describes IoT features as an ecosystem.’ This consists of “web-enabled smart devices that use embedded systems, such as processors, sensors and communication hardware, to collect, send and act on data they acquire from their environments.”

These features, and the data they collect, give you invaluable information about your building. They add functionality to the most mundane items such as bin wastage. For example, a sensor on a bin alerts you when it requires emptying. It logs the data it collects so you understand how much waste your company disposes of. Additionally, IoT brings protection to valuable equipment. For example, with IoT-enabled asset tracking you can locate stolen laptops that contain confidential information.

The capability of a robust IoT strategy

IoT is more than connected appliances. You can manage your building and permit smart building management using IoT. These features ensure our sustainability standards are met even from a remote location.

ITVET’s smart energy management using IoT

A building is considered sustainable if it conserves energy. Energy efficiency in smart buildings also improves employee wellbeing. Here are the smart features ITVET is introducing to our offices.

Building occupancy detection

There is no need to heat an entire building if there are empty rooms. To create the optimum working environment for your employees you need to know where they are. Manually, you monitor CCTV footage or walk around the office to gauge numbers and location. This disrupts your working day and it’s not an efficient process. Most importantly, this can’t be done if you’re out of the office.

IoT sensors detect the presence of people, known as ‘occupancy monitoring’. This is also referred to as ‘people counting’. It detects how many people are in a defined space. Sensors collect the data and an action is triggered. Mobile applications such as UltraHR can also map employee locations live in real-time.

Occupancy monitoring detects the movement of employees

Data triggers an action

Like many heating systems, the ITVET offices previously had just one main thermostat, with thermostatic valves at each radiator location. When nobody was working in a room, it still heated up, unless the individual radiators were manually switched off.

ITVET now ensure all employees are in a comfortable work environment, using IoT sensors to detect how many people are in a room and adjusting radiator heat accordingly.

IoT is now consistently used to collect room temperature, lighting, and ventilation data. This data is used to action triggers, such as automatically turning of any non-essential energy when employees leave for the day..

Consistency with a Building Management System

All of the features outlined above combine to become one BMS (Building Management System) . A modern BMS is an intelligent software platform that monitors the technical systems within a building. This controls temperature centrally. We set parameters to enable the smart management of our heaviest power usage systems. For example, one parameter could be for all lights to switch off when a door is locked each evening. It constantly monitors office activity around the clock to create the most energy efficient work environment. This provides huge savings and minimises energy waste.

Our BMS was designed and custom-made by our ITVET software development team. The custom features ensure it works efficiently for our office and it maximises cost and energy savings. There is a clear dashboard that shows us our energy usage at any time.

Metrics from ITVET's energy efficient BMS system

With our existing experience in the property management sector, our data experts can aggregate data from most systems into one central, usable console and data feed. Making your building’s data accessible is essential if you want to maximise the efficient use of power and utilities in your building

The wider impact of data metrics

With access to these data metrics, we can make more informed decisions. Are employees charging their devices longer than needed? Is the kettle overfilled to make one hot drink? IoT data can show all of this. The data helps us zero in on repeated unsustainable behaviours. We can communicate this with our team using metrics to understand how our actions affect energy usage. This in turn will help us apply sustainable practices at home.

ITVET is a company made up of eco-conscious individuals whose principles are equally balanced between home and work life. Smart building energy efficiency, using IoT features retrofitted in our head office, ensure we meet the high standards we set for ourselves. IoT devices constantly capture data that allows us to understand how our building is used. We can make responsible decisions with this information. We feel at peace knowing the BMS ensures energy is only used when it’s required.

How could IoT features optimise your workplace? Get in touch to find out!