Buildings have several systems and subsystems to ensure their proper functioning and safety, security, and comfort of its residents. These systems are necessary for the optimal use of resources such as energy, water, and so on.
In a well-functioning building or establishment - be it residential or commercial - the systems and subsystems operate efficiently and are regularly serviced and maintained. Processes are automated and the chances of errors and risks are low.
In reality, however, system faults and failures due to, say, lack of periodic servicing of equipment are risks that most building face. Especially, in India where building safety and security compliance has been mostly lip service. For example, an undetected fault, say, in the fire alarm system puts the building residents at a high risk. Lack of energy management in a building leads to inefficient use of energy, wastage, and increased costs.
In India, the building sector consumes over 30% of the total electricity consumed annually. It is also the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs) after the industrial sector.
Source: Ministry of Power, Govt. of India
The challenge is - how can we reduce energy wastage and increase efficiency? How can errors be prevented, and even eliminated? How can building owners and stakeholders reduce risks and costs at the same time.
The solution lies, as is the case with most business problems, in technology.
In this blog, we make a case for an IoT-based building automation system for all types of buildings. And no, you don’t need deep pockets to make the switch. VersionX building management system has been built for buildings of all sizes, budgets, and multiple locations.
It is our endeavor to make smart buildings a possibility for all buildings in India.
An IoT building automation system controls the following equipment:
- Lighting system
- HVAC (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, refrigeration)
- UPS room
- Fire alarm panels
- Fire hydrants and sprinklers
- Jockey pump
- Water level
- Access control and security system
- CCTV and lift
- Smart electrical meters
- Water leak detection system
- And others...
Why Buildings Should Get Smart?
Automation Is the Way Forward
It is not possible to keep a manual check on the functioning of buildings' systems and processes - such as energy, fire safety, HVAC systems and so on.
It is impossible to manually detect system faults or keep track of service requirements and history. Say, when a fire hydrant or sprinkler needs servicing.
How would you measure what amount of power was generated by diesel during a specific period?
An IoT-based building management system monitors and detects these automatically and presents them in a dashboard.
Assured Safety & Security
This is a no brainer. If the building automation system detects faults, say, in the fire safety system, on time and alerts the facility and safety managers, the risk of accidents caused by fire is reduced.
Water pumps reserved for emergencies such as fire fighting should maintain an optimum pressure level for its effectiveness. Water levels in tanks should be maintained.
Manual and periodic checking of water pressure and levels is not feasible nor advisable when a BMS can continuously monitor it.
More for Less - Get Energy Efficient
The International Energy Agency (IEA) calls energy efficiency the "first fuel."
The Government of India is making policy level changes and schemes to promote energy conservation and efficiency. For example, it developed the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) - a program that sets minimum energy standards for commercial buildings.
At the unit level, a building automation system constantly monitors and tracks buildings’ energy usage, sources, and so on. It enables buildings to take better decisions, conserve energy, and become energy efficient.
- The Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) was developed by the Government of India to set minimum energy standards for new commercial buildings.
- The ECBC for residential buildings - called the Eco Niwas Samhita - was launched in 2018. Its goal is to achieve enhanced levels of energy efficiency and conservation in residential buildings.
- Did you know? Buildings can get star rated based on actual performance in terms of energy usage. The program was developed by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, under Ministry of Power, Government of India.
Monitor, Track, & Reduce Energy Expenses
Efficient energy use automatically translates to reduced energy expenses.
VersionX building management system tracks the actual energy expenses of a building and presents them in a central dashboard.
75% of the total electricity consumed in the building sector in India is by residential buildings.
In India, two-thirds of the commercial and high-rise buildings that will exist in 2030 are yet to be built.
Reduced Maintenance Costs, Improved Equipment Life Cycle
Periodic and proper servicing is the key to low maintenance costs and improved life cycle of equipment.
A building automation system tracks and alerts service details and history of fire and safety systems and other utilities - otherwise nearly impossible to get done manually.
Comfort for Humans (And Machines)
A BMS automatically detects temperature and air quality inside a room and sends alerts if something is off. This is needed for comfort of residents in a building as well as machines, such as in the UPS room.
An UPS supplies emergency power and is critical for uninterrupted functioning during power failure. Most accidents caused by fire are due to faults in the UPS room.
The temperature, humidity, and air circulation in the UPS room need to be within a certain range. A BMS automates its constant monitoring and sends alerts and notifications.
Remote Operations to Manage Multiple Locations
One of the most useful functions of an IoT-based BMS is that it can monitor buildings remotely from a centralized system.
VersionX building automation system can handle multiple locations, with one central dashboard.
Don't Shoot in the Dark - Use Reports & Analytics
Meaningful data on a building’s energy management, safety, and security issues are crucial to make important decisions and changes.
Without historical data and analytics, any decision or change is akin to shooting in the dark.
Compliance Couldn't Get Any Easier
We’re positive that building compliance need not be a lip service as has always been the case, especially, in India.
With IoT-based BMSs achieving all the goals we discussed above, building compliance is going to be a natural outcome.
It's An Investment
Budgetary constraint is one of the most important hurdles for converting energy inefficient and high-risk buildings into smart, efficient buildings.
Difficulties in technological integration and heavy initial investment is another reason why buildings with traditional BMSs hesitate to make the switch.
VersionX BMS resolves both these issues. Our system has been built in-house by the VersionX team and is based on the latest cloud software and hardware technologies. It is flexible with high integration capabilities.
Read: How VersionX is helping a major retailer and its warehouses become energy efficient?