A smart building is one in which critical equipment and assets such as air handlers, chillers, boilers, and lighting can communicate with one another. A sophisticated management system is in place to monitor and optimize all of the components.
A Smart Building aims to provide useful services that assist occupants in being more productive and safe, while also minimizing environmental impact. A smart building optimizes and minimizes energy consumption and can be powered entirely by renewable energy sources. It prioritizes occupant security and quality of life. These priorities include not only physical security measures such as networked fire suppression and alarm systems, but also health security measures such as clean air and water.
A Smart Building’s equipment and systems must be connected and capable of communicating with one another. For instance, a chiller in a building could receive weather data from the outside and occupancy data from the inside, allowing it to operate only when necessary to maintain the occupants’ optimal temperature.
What enables all of this to occur? The availability of small, sophisticated, and affordable sensors connected via the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as building automation software that analyzes and utilizes the data generated by these sensors to manage and optimize operations. The data generated by smart building systems can be used to monitor performance, track the physical location of assets, identify potential operational problems, and improve preventive maintenance efforts.
The evolution of smart buildings begins with the earliest structures ever constructed, which were primitive shelters made of stones, sticks, animal skins, and other natural materials. While these early structures bore little resemblance to the steel and glass that make up a modern city skyline, they served the same purpose – to provide a comfortable space for the inhabitants.
Today’s buildings are complex assemblages of structures, systems, and technology. Each component of a building has evolved and improved over time, allowing modern building owners to choose lighting, security, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems independently, just as they would with a home entertainment system.
As a matter of principle, we seek to construct, work in, and live in smart buildings today. Numerous governments and industry regulators establish standards for the design and operation of facilities to ensure that they meet environmental, safety, and sustainability requirements. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and SMaRT (Sustainable Materials Rating) are two certification programs that building owners and managers use to certify their intent to adhere to government and self-imposed requirements.
In 2025, Smart Buildings, one of the eight Smart principles underlying Smart Cities, are expected to account for 7% of the global smart city market. Smart Cities, which monitor the health of all critical infrastructure components, including bridges, streets, water, and electric systems, are also on the rise. According to Frost & Sullivan, there will be more than 26 of them worldwide by 2025.
Sensor technology and Internet of Things (IoT) devices are becoming more prevalent in commercial building management. This intelligent building management technology provides building owners and occupants with real-time data that can be used to drive or automate decisions, resulting in cost savings and resource conservation.
For example, the growing trend of remote, telecommuting office workers can be addressed through occupancy sensors that detect the presence or absence of employees in work areas, ensuring that the building is lit, cooled, or heated only when necessary. According to a recent study, smart technologies can help the average office building save 18% of its energy consumption. 1
Several of these systems can also take into account tenant or office worker feedback. Comfy, a smart workplace phone or computer app, collects user preferences for workplace temperature settings, aggregates the data, and then instructs the building’s smart energy system to adjust temperatures automatically to maintain a comfortable working environment.
Why is Smart Water Management gaining traction?
While the primary focus of IoT devices in smart building management has been on energy savings, their ability to save water is gaining traction. Ecova found that 57% of energy, facility, finance, and sustainability managers had invested in water conservation measures in 2016. Water conservation efforts, such as irrigation controls and behavioral change, were viewed as low- or no-cost priorities by the surveyed group. 2
Today’s investments in smart water management are simple to implement and quickly pay for themselves.
By 2025, the water management technology market is expected to reach $2.8 billion.
Following irrigation, the next step is to integrate smart water technologies into facility management, which is the direction in which the industry is headed, according to a Navigant Research report.
Trends in Intelligent Water Management
Global investment in water management technologies and services is expected to double to $2.8 billion by 2025, the report states, as water management becomes a standard component of smart buildings. As corporate sustainability and energy efficiency become more important, vendors of smart building technology are demonstrating more comprehensive tools, including some designed specifically for water conservation and management.
Significant corporations are under increased pressure from shareholders and customers to demonstrate sustainability action. Customers are seizing the opportunity to manage their water consumption through targeted actions that make economic sense, as the bottom line remains the primary driver of business investment today. Three emerging technology areas are water-efficient plumbing, irrigation management, and monitoring software.
Manage Facility Water Use Effectively Using Smart Water Management Technology
Smart water management technology provides the data and tools necessary to manage water use more effectively. The data collected by smart water devices is integrated with building management systems to demonstrate how much water is being used and to identify areas where water can be used more efficiently.
Here are some ways that HydroPoint’s smart water management tools can assist you in reducing water waste:
- Integrated dashboards that display real-time water use data assist you in adhering to water restrictions or budgets for outdoor irrigation.
- Water leaks, large and small, indoors and outdoors, can be detected and reported 24 hours a day with 24-hour water usage monitoring and reporting. Alerts can be sent to a computer or a mobile device in the event of a leak.
- Automated irrigation schedules based on weather or soil moisture data promote plant health and prevent overwatering landscapes, resulting in decreased plant loss, hardscape damage, common area hazards, and stormwater runoff.
- Controlling the system remotely via computer or mobile device eliminates the need for site visits and wet checks.
Significant Issues Addressed:
- What is motivating interest in intelligent building water management?
- Which of the following are the primary impediments to investing in intelligent building water management?
- What are the advantages of intelligent building water management?
- Which customer segments stand to gain the most from intelligent building water management?
- Which technology segments in the intelligent building water management market will experience the fastest growth?
- Which water management solutions are gaining the most traction?
Here are some key aspects of water management in intelligent buildings:
Monitoring and Data Analysis: Intelligent buildings use sensors and meters to continuously monitor water usage in real-time. This data is collected and analyzed to identify patterns, trends, and potential areas for improvement. By gaining insights into water consumption patterns, building managers can identify inefficiencies and take targeted actions to reduce usage.
Leak Detection: Advanced sensors and analytics systems can detect and alert building managers about leaks or abnormal water flow in pipes, fixtures, and irrigation systems. Early detection helps prevent water waste, minimize damage, and reduce the associated costs.
Automated Controls: Intelligent buildings utilize automation systems to regulate water flow and usage based on predefined schedules, occupancy patterns, and demand. For instance, automated irrigation systems can adjust watering schedules based on weather conditions, soil moisture levels, and plant requirements, thus optimizing water usage.
Water Recycling and Reuse: Intelligent buildings implement water treatment and filtration systems to recycle and reuse water for non-potable purposes such as flushing toilets, irrigation, and cooling systems. Greywater (wastewater from sinks, showers, etc.) and rainwater harvesting systems are commonly employed to reduce reliance on fresh water sources.
Smart Fixtures and Appliances: Water-efficient fixtures such as low-flow faucets, showerheads, and toilets are installed in intelligent buildings to minimize water consumption without compromising functionality. These fixtures can be further enhanced with smart technologies that adjust flow rates based on user needs or occupancy.
Occupant Awareness and Engagement: Intelligent buildings often provide real-time feedback and information to occupants regarding their water usage. This promotes awareness and encourages responsible behavior, such as shorter showers, turning off taps when not in use, and reporting leaks promptly.
Integration with Building Management Systems: Water management systems in intelligent buildings can be integrated with overall building management systems to ensure coordination and optimization across various utility systems. This integration allows for centralized control, monitoring, and data analysis, enabling more efficient resource allocation.
Water management in intelligent buildings aims to achieve sustainable water usage, reduce water wastage, and lower operational costs. By leveraging smart technologies and data-driven strategies, these buildings can contribute to water conservation efforts and promote environmentally friendly practices.