In our recent report: Digitalization of Buildings in the Nordics & Baltics, over 95 percent of our interviewees highlight energy-saving solutions as their most prioritized area. Energy is one of the largest variable costs in any building. In the Nordic and Baltic climates, heating is viewed as the main cost driver. Inefficient Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems can be very expensive.
This is an extract from: Digitalization of Buildings in the Nordics & Baltics.
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Traditionally, heating has been regulated by a combination of ‘best-guess’ and resident feedback. Thermostats allow for automatic adjustments based on predefined thresholds but lack the intelligence to adapt to real-time changes in occupancy. The result is that the heating is on at all times – wasting energy during times when there is nobody in the premises.
Traditional Pain Points
Inefficient HVAC system
DESCRIPTION: HVAC systems set at fixed levels leading to unneces- sarily high heating costs and wasted energy consumption
- Single thermostats that trigger on/off HVAC upon localized changes in temperature
- Predefined temperature levels based on best guesses of tenants’ preferences, changed seasonally
High spend on electricity costs
DESCRIPTION: Increasingly electrified assets (e.g. electric charging stations, roof panels, heat pumps, battery storage capacity) account for a large share of the cost base
- Reducing intensity of high consuming devices
- Scheduling usage of devices in certain time intervals
- Investing in energy efficient assets, e.g. LED lights, motors and heating pump controls
Water leakages/ high consumption
DESCRIPTION: Leakages in water pipes and excessive water consumption (e.g. gardening, sinks, showers and sewage) lead to low water efficiency and high costs
- Reactive and planned maintenance intervals to assess conditions, detect failures and remedy leakages
- Reduce the power of water flow (in e.g. dispensers, nozzles and sprinklers) to reduce the water consumption per unit of time
By connecting sensors within a building to monitor real-time requirements, it is possible to optimize resource consumption to reduce wastage andincrease comfort. This has a positive effect on both cost reduction and sustainability.
Water monitoring & management
Example solution: Smart meters enable remote measurement of water consumption to detect water loss from leaks and help tenants understand and reduce their own usage
Other similar solutions: Smart water taps Automated irrigation
Electricity monitoring & management
Example solution: Smart electric vehicle charging systems enable monitoring and management of charging and may influence prices and restrictions that optimize energy use, given demand and usage patterns
Other similar solutions:
• Smart meters (electricity)
• Smart outlets
• Load control and outage mitigation
HVAC monitoring and management
Example solution: Smart thermostats typically use sensing abilities to detect and even predict when they need to trigger temperature adjustments, which in turn means energy savings
Other similar solutions: Smart vents
MONITOR & OPTIMIZE
Solutions that enable a building’s component systems to be monitored in real time, make it possible to optimize their efficiency. Given that many of these solutions align with cost saving and environmental sustainability goals, they appeal to industry players. In fact, over 95 percent of our interviewees highlight energy-saving solutions as their most prioritized area.
Another use case area, HVAC monitoring and management, includes the example of smart thermostats that sense different parameters within a building ranging from air temperature and humidity to room occupancy and air quality. At room level, this enables temperature to be kept at pre-determined comfort levels set by occupants. The thermostats can also sense when rooms are empty and reduce the temperature accordingly.
At building level, HVAC monitoring and management makes it possible to combine multiple sources of data to fine-tune energy consumption. As well as current temperature, current and predicted occupancy are taken into account. How will a high-occupancy rate affect the temperature? Are there areas where the heating can be turned down during weekends or holidays? Current and predicted weather conditions can also be factored in to take advantage of natural heating or cooling.
Air quality monitoring can sense hazards or levels of carbon dioxide and organic compounds in the air in office buildings or apartment buildings to ensure health and comfort as well as regulatory compliance.
Even fully manual systems can provide valuable insights when connected. Connected water mixers can show how much water runs through each tap and determine the daily usage patterns. This enables efficient cleaning schedules and may point to other problems. For example, if toilets in some areas of a building are used less during evenings, it may be because people feel less safe using them during this time. Perhaps additional lighting is needed in those areas.
Global studies indicate that energy consumption and associated costs can be cut by up to 40 percent by integrating digitalized systems, such as smart thermostats.
Solutions that facilitate more efficient use of water include various water leakage detection systems that reduces water waste. This is achieved by monitoring assets such as taps, blenders, toilets and sinks for leaks. Implemented solutions have reduced water usage above 30 percent by connecting taps.
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