Editorial Feature

IOT Building Maintenance

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With automatic and remote controls currently available for temperature, lighting and access, modern buildings are smarter and more connected than ever before, thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT).

The IoT is based on sensors, meters and other internet-connected devices that can send and receive data. IoT devices tend to fit into four categories: energy, equipment, environmental quality and people/spaces. Energy devices monitor energy consumption. Equipment devices facilitate the use of systems and equipment, such as those pertaining to lighting and HVAC. Environmental quality devices track things like particulate matter or CO2 in the air. People/spaces devices are used to determine occupancy, space usage or people passing through an entrance.

With the IoT enabling the access to information on anything from temperature to energy use in real time, it is incredibly easy to manage and monitor facility systems. The information amassed by the IoT allows facility administration teams to become more efficient at preventing maintenance, cutting down on the time invested in maintenance and repairs.

In the early years, IoT building maintenance systems did not communicate with each other. Nowadays, however, so-called ‘smart buildings’ have advanced to include a broader range of interconnected technologies that go past basic management to provide actionable insights.

In most commercial operations, IoT energy management systems are typically associated with lighting, energy usage and mechanical systems. Management can set these systems to function in one setting during hours of operation and a low-power setting during off-hours. Even during business hours, IoT sensors can be used to adjust lights, HVAC and other systems based on occupancy.

Building maintenance systems can also gather information on particular areas and use that information to moderate practices. For example, some teams may work long, irregular hours and occupancy sensors can indicate that they need more support from systems. This capacity allows managers to suit the needs of occupants more effectively than ever before.

More Granular Energy Efficiency

IoT devices also enable building managers to deal with energy efficiency in new, more granular ways. For instance, computers, vending machines and coffee makers are increasingly using plug-and-process load (PPL) energy and this allows facility managers to focus in on greater energy efficiency for these devices.

Modern power strips, occupancy sensors and other devices permit remote and automated control of various systems. Building supervisors can gather information on PPL energy usage and pinpoint particular areas for greater efficiency. Using insights amassed from that information, managers can reduce usage. For example, automation and smart power strips could adjust power settings to computers when they are not in use.

Better Predictive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is a good way to maintain equipment and keep it in top shape. A calendar-based approach to preventative maintenance is a tried-and-true system that has successfully been used to sustain facility equipment with various ages, conditions, maintenance needs and life expectancies.

With IoT, however, a calendar-based approach suddenly seems much less efficient. Managers already have a list of systems and equipment that require preventive maintenance and with IoT they can better ascertain what needs to be maintained as they track various metrics. For instance, the IoT-based predictive maintenance of an HVAC system would monitor airflow, external temperatures and equipment vibrations.

Facility supervisors might evaluate IoT data and call maintenance contractors when the data indicates. Other managers might have a shared-alert system with contractors.

Looking Ahead

As costs for IoT devices decrease, a smart building system will become easier to put into place and more businesses will likely take advantage of the technology. This will increase the need for maintenance technicians to be able to convert system data into insights.

Within the next few years, as businesses overcome cost and other barriers, IoT building maintenance will become less and less unique, becoming the norm in all types of commercial facilities.

References

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Brett Smith

Written by

Brett Smith

Brett Smith is an American freelance writer with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Buffalo State College and has 8 years of experience working in a professional laboratory.

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