Automation: giving building managers greater commercial control

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The rise of the Internet of Things promises a brave new world of connected devices, smart cities and homes, and ultimately better living. According to technology research firm, TechNavio, the number of connected devices is expected to pass 17 billion in the next five years. The ability of devices to connect to each other and feed important information back to us should lay the path for a smarter, more holistic way of managing and interacting with our environments, where continual improvements and efficiencies can be gained.

Tighter control through connected appliances
The commercial and industrial sectors combined account for close to 30 per cent in total final energy consumption in Ireland. Each of these 109,000 commercial buildings has a particular energy and use profile. As part of this, intelligent building systems remain a key part of commercial reality for building owners. Building managers expect to be in control of their energy use, by managing the lighting, heating and all other electrical components in their site from a single point. This marks the new era of smart, connected buildings.

An automated building brings together many control aspects, including lighting. Building managers can clearly manage these appliances and dictate when these devices are online, dormant or turned off. There are different types of systems in the market capable of automating a single product like LEDs or occupancy sensors, but a fully integrated system can incorporate all systems and combine them into one single point of control or an application. All of these connected elements work together to make buildings more energy efficient, more convenient and safer.

Turning down energy usage in line with EU legislationschneider 2887185_SFSXSP_FL

Taking existing policy measures into account such as the EU energy directive, which dictates that the union must be 20 per cent more efficient by 2020, commercial lighting can and should be automated to improve conservation, convenience and safety.

Buildings can benefit more if these automation systems are capable of providing managers with information on their usage trends. Commercial property owners can then optimise their consumption of natural resources whilst being aware of the cost and scale of their use.

Commercial automation systems give buildings a more holistic insight on their energy usage. They allow managers to reduce or shift energy use during peak times, thus saving money and ultimately helping electricity providers reduce load on the grid. A tighter control on fluorescent commercial lighting can help provide energy cost savings, particularly in high rise buildings. In addition, integrating occupancy sensors and daylight level sensors can also provide greater energy efficiency.

Modern management systems also let users program, monitor and operate a building’s lighting, appliances, electronics and security systems while away from the site. Without sacrificing convenience, building managers can now make smart decisions and choices that can achieve savings of up to 30 per cent on annual energy costs.

There’s a growing need for commercial spaces to be more energy efficient than ever before. The recent COP21 conference should serve as further reinforcement of the need for energy savings and lighting automation can be viewed as a key step on the path to energy efficiency. By adopting a more holistic view through an automated building management system, commercial managers can take full control of their lighting and in turn lower their carbon footprint and increase their energy savings for the foreseeable future.

W: Schneider Electric