The beauty of combining IoT-ready hardware with cloud-based software is that buildings can utilize existing hardwiring connections to quickly install a comprehensive solution to manage energy use, according to Zen Ecosystems, which provides smart energy management solutions for businesses.
Similar to how a residential smart thermostat automatically controls a home environment, a commercial system uses IoT technology to manage an office building’s energy use while requiring little oversight or management.
Zen Ecosystems installs smart thermostats in buildings and collects and analyzes data with its energy management system. Smart thermostats alone are not enough; Zen Ecosystems’ back-end platform allows for customizable controls and generates energy-saving insights.
While many office buildings today have been equipped with high-efficiency lighting like LEDs and occupancy sensors to help conserve energy, a system that synchronizes the individual components should be put in place, in order to amplify the benefits of office building equipment upgrades, said James McPhail, CEO of Zen Ecosystems
“Internet of Things (IoT)-powered energy management platforms offer a holistic strategy that strikes a balance between solutions that are the easiest to implement and those that are most comprehensive,” McPhail noted.
The platform should enable advanced controls so that building operators can “set it and forget it” when it comes to temperature and lighting control, while remaining responsive to occupant needs, said McPhail.
More and more building managers are realizing the benefits of a whole systems approach to save energy. Office buildings are getting an IoT arsenal for data collection while cutting down energy consumption. As a result, an ecosystem of individual smart energy management components is established.
A facility manager may start with one source of data and controls, such as a smart thermostat, and build up from there. For example, adding a return air sensor to the smart thermostat and then going a step further by incorporating real-time energy monitoring.
Implementing these simple systems are stepping stones to much larger energy projects, like solar, battery storage, or even EV chargers, which not only drive savings, but are critical to the stability of our electrical grids. The most effective solutions of the future will be able to integrate all of these energy efficiency elements into a single platform that’s simple to understand and easy to use.
With the latest innovations in cloud-based energy management platforms, a wide range of devices and appliances can be connected and controlled. Since technology capabilities now allow countless integrations, decision-makers should focus on top-priority devices – those that use the most energy on a regular basis, which are lighting and HVAC units, according to Zen Ecosystems.
Advanced energy management technologies can allow more devices to talk to each other through a shared ecosystem. For example, Zen HQ’s intelligent energy management platform can integrate smart dimming switches which allow for not only reducing energy usage, but also providing ambiance that can enhance a customer experience in a retail, hotel or other business environment. These switches can be programmed and scheduled from the same simple interface as is used to manage room temperatures, outdoor lighting, and provide real-time reporting on energy usage.