It is easy to be confused when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), with so many products and objects being connected and made more intelligent. It sounds overly complex, but one application that is easy to understand is HVAC IoT.
HVAC IoT is made up of a system of smart thermostats placed throughout building zones. The devices, and therefore the zones, are connected over wireless and software and work together as one brain. The brain has a nervous system with sensor endings in every room, hallway or lobby to monitor any environmental changes that could prompt the HVAC system to react.
With boosted smarts, energy use in large buildings can now be limited to heating or cooling for specific zones where it makes people comfortable, and saves the expense of heating or cooling unoccupied and rarely used area.
With boosted smarts, energy use in large buildings can now be limited to heating or cooling for specific zones where it makes people comfortable, and saves the expense of heating or cooling unoccupied and rarely used areas. Furthermore, HVAC IoT can be programmed to automatically apply heat or cooling to a building structure to exacting standards. For instance, it can bring the temperature up by 5 degrees during the summer when a room or entire section of the building is not being used and then quickly lowering it back down once a person is present. Or by responding to the position of the sun, so that on a warmer winter afternoon un-shaded windows help heat rooms.
Once an HVAC IoT system is in place, the data from sensors and programming tasks can easily be routed off site, to a central management center or an IT services company.
To get even greater value, HVAC IoT can go steps further. For example, the system can be programmed and customized to work dynamically as one function of a complete building automation system, along with other “connected things.” These might include IoT-enabled door locks, powered window shades and electrical wall outlets throughout buildings. This way, when someone unlocks a door, flicks on a light, or simply enters a room, a sensor will send the information and there can be an automated response from the HVAC system. Limited only by the imagination and ingenuity, IoT applied to HVAC is flexible, responsive, simple and yields high return on investment (ROI).
The end result is much greater efficiency, generally north of 30% annually, compared to heating and cooling using the traditional, “blunt force” methods of heating and cooling.
Management from a Distance
Getting deeper into the benefit of HVAC IoT means also the tackling the challenge of reducing the time and resources workers on site at a building must spend to upkeep systems and respond to issues. Once an HVAC IoT system is in place, the data from sensors and programming tasks can easily be routed off site, to a central management center or an IT services company. Should a device need adjustment, or report a failure, instead of someone walking the halls to diagnose it, technicians can see the problems and adjust them immediately. Additionally, the system learns every week by recording data and continually optimizing energy use and comparing to standards.
HVAC IoT solutions for buildings, from skyscrapers to large warehouses, are very different from consumer products. They offer economies of scale for the personnel challenged with managing very large environments. One example of an Industrial strength HVAC IoT solution is from TelkoNet, providing wireless thermostats designed to work in symphony and with many smart features and programmability.
Integrating IoT into HVAC creates efficient and customizable heating and cooling systems that take building environments into the future.About the Author Dan Levine serves as CEO and co-founder of CytexOne, integrator of Internet of Things