There’s a high likelihood your building’s power distribution system isn’t operating at peak efficiency. The Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and data analytics tools making smart buildings possible are too resource-intensive to be sustainable, even with limited processing and storage capabilities. How can you optimize their energy usage?

 

Your Building’s Power Distribution System Is Inefficient

Most indicators suggest building technology integrations will continue climbing, making smart buildings a staple of modern urban areas. While accelerated adoption exposes new application opportunities and seemingly improves everyday conveniences, you should be aware it has a major downside — smart devices consume too much power to be sustainable.

Smart buildings’ reliance on digital ecosystems often results in excessive power consumption and energy waste. If adoption rates continue rising, the increasingly resource-intensive processing requirements will likely have prolonged economic and environmental impacts.

Even the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) recognizes smart building power consumption is somewhat concerning. Its Energy Director describes flexible energy demand as critical, noting Australia’s grid stability and accelerated renewable energy adoption rely on it.

Buildings already adversely impact the environment and economy when they aren’t equipped with multiple technological integrations. In the United States, they account for an estimated 75% of power consumption and up to 80% of peak demand. In all likelihood, scalable, sustainable smart building adoption is only possible with change.

If you optimize your building’s power distribution system to increase energy efficiency, improve performance and minimize equipment breakdowns, you can permanently reduce power consumption. While many out-of-the-box strategies exist, few focus solely on smart buildings and their unique requirements. In other words, you’ll likely have to develop your own.

 

The Benefits of Optimizing Power in Smart Buildings

Whether you review the efficiency of your building’s power distribution system or adopt a dynamic technology, you can benefit from optimized power consumption.

Energy Savings

When you leverage power optimization tactics and technologies, you conserve a substantial amount of electricity. For example, dynamic HVAC control strategies can achieve 40% energy savings, according to CSIRO. This excess can be directed into surplus storage, making systems more resilient to failure and further reducing resource drain.

Emission Reduction

Leveraging power optimization strategies can reduce your building’s greenhouse gas generation significantly. In fact, grid-interactive efficient buildings could reduce CO2 emissions by 80 million tons annually by 2030, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Cost Savings

Although the upfront cost of energy-efficient technology may be significant — especially if you’re outfitting a large building — you will quickly see a positive return on investment. Reduced power consumption and extended smart device lifespans result in significant cost savings.

Data-Driven Insights

Many smart technologies record and report data in real time to generate actionable insights. For example, advanced meters possess IoT functionality, meaning they can optimize power consumption by exposing which processes are most resource-intensive or automatically adjusting power levels to correspond with usage trends.

 

How to Optimize Smart Building Power Consumption

Aside from the basics — like using energy-efficient devices or distribution management systems — you can optimize your smart building’s power consumption in numerous ways.

1.   Shielded PVC Multiconductor Cables

Shielded polyvinyl chloride (PVC) multiconductor cables can indirectly optimize power consumption. While they are typically only ideal in certain buildings where electromagnetic interference is likely, you can use them elsewhere to improve your energy efficiency. Their shield increases device reliability and performance, resulting in power savings.

2.   IoT-Enabled Electrical Control Systems

You can leverage IoT-enabled electrical control systems to manage an array of devices. Sensors are often ideal over actuators or controllers because they can seamlessly integrate with other smart tech, forming an ecosystem. You can program them to respond to data-based triggers to dynamically optimize power consumption.

3.   Building Energy Management Systems

A building energy management system (BEMS) aggregates multiple data sources — like HVAC, lighting and smart devices — to dynamically adjust power allocation based on usage trends and predictive forecasts.

4.   Automation Technology

Automation streamlines energy management and removes the human element, ensuring consistently optimal power consumption. For example, IoT-enabled artificial lights automatically dim or turn off in response to triggers. These devices are dynamic, adjusting to weather, consumption or occupancy forecasts.

5.   Power Conditioning Devices

Power conditioning devices can indirectly increase energy efficiency by providing stability, preventing smart building components from having to increase power consumption to compensate for surges and voltage fluctuations.

6.   IoT Communication Protocols

Your building’s interconnected devices’ communication protocols may be too resource-intensive. Consider switching to Bluetooth low energy for low-range applications and LoRa for long-range. Alternatively, Lightweight M2M is ideal for large-scale IoT deployments because it’s explicitly designed for sensor networks.

7.   Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings

Grid-interactive efficient buildings transform standard building power distribution infrastructure. They operate in tangent with the electrical grid, dynamically adjusting to demand to optimize power consumption. For instance, non-essential loads are pushed to off-peak hours.

Smart Building Scalability Depends on Power Optimization

Without power optimization, smart buildings are a potential threat to economic and environmental sustainability. The continued widespread adoption of IoT sensors, data analytics and integrated management technologies relies on their ability to become more energy efficient.

 

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