A Sneak Peak into How Smart Buildings Work
Technology is rapidly moving forward, and we are already seeing how far the IoT world has come. Not only is it now possible to make your own smart home, but companies are looking into making smart buildings.
If you are wondering how all this is made possible, keep reading, because we are going to take a sneak peak into how smart buildings actually work. The most important things we are going to mention are sensors, and the role of big data in the whole process. Let’s dig in a little bit, and take a look at what makes smart buildings tick.
A foundation of sensors
In order for a building to become a “smart” building, it is necessary to deploy a wide array of sensors across the whole structure. The advent of Internet of Things, and the drastic transformation it has introduced in the segment of technology and connected machines, has a lot to do with how different types of IoT sensors developed over the recent times have helped IoT platforms function and deliver valorous kind of intelligence and data.
Some sensors check whether the person is in the apartment or not. Others measure the inside and outside temperature. Some sensors can measure how many people are going in and out of the building, whereas more of them can be used for tracking the number of free parking spaces.
There are literally thousands of places where sensors can be deployed. The more sensors there are, the “smarter” the building is going to be. They are used to collect various data about the interior and exterior conditions. This collection of data is crucial for the functioning of the whole system, which brings us to another element of the “smart” structure.
How does the whole puzzle fit together?
As you can see in the image above, a smart building relies on a series of systems and sensors that enable it to function.
- Solar panel - At the top of the building, solar panels convert solar energy into power. This energy is used to power the whole building, including the whole smart network.
- LIghting and illumination sensors - These sensors are placed inside the building space, and they provide the right amount of illumination for residents in the building. This ensures optimized power expenditure. Additionally, with motion sensors included, the door function is automated, as well as the whole lighting system.
- Security - Security sensors serve to detect and record any type of motion in the building space.
- Temperature sensors and air-conditioning - A series of sensors such as temperature and humidity, serve to accumulate data about inside thermal conditions. The information is used to feed the air-conditioning system that is always working on ensuring the right living conditions.
- Energy storage systems - Not all of the energy collected through the solar panels is going to be used. In fact, during the days when the most energy is collected, people are usually at work, and this is the period when excess power should be stored somewhere. A smart building needs to have some type of power a storage system, ie. batteries, where energy for the future use is going to be stored.
- Electric vehicles charging system - As technology is moving forward, we can now see a higher presence of electric vehicles in the market. The smart building uses the stored energy to charge the building resident’s vehicles.
Additionally, sensors in the parking lot and charging stations can visually present how many parking spots are available at all times.
- Building management system - All of the abovementioned sensors collect data and store it in the building management systems. There, a manager can visually perceive all of the data about the building. Furthermore, this information storage system is connected to the world wide web, making it possible to feed information to the building residents no matter where they are.
Also, the building system is connected to the whole smart grid, sharing information with other buildings, allowing it to optimize energy expenditure even better in the future.
As you can see, the whole system functions together. The information collected through the sensors is visually presented to the system managers, allowing them to perform settings that allow the whole system to be eco-friendly, by optimizing energy expenditure.
What’s the end result?
The end result of a smart building is optimized expenditure. Over time, the building learns the behavioral patterns of the people living inside, as well as the outside weather patterns. It all leads to lower bills, as you save electricity during this process.
Furthermore, the residents of the building can rely on better automation, and implementation of technologies that makes it easy to lock or unlock their doors. There is more remote control over the apartment appliances, creating better living conditions for the resident.
As you can see, a smart building relies heavily on sensors, networks and data accumulation. Sensors pick up the information, then it is analyzed and used in the future.
The process sounds simple enough, but in fact, a lot of IT knowledge is necessary to set up such a network. This is only a sneak peak into how the smart buildings of the future will work. With the development of AI, automation is surely going to become even better, as AI will have better predictions, further optimizing the energy expenditure of the whole system.
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