Smarter Buildings – hand in hand with protecting the climate
Post-pandemic life is still uncertain. Priorities have changed and targets shifted. New and flexible forms of work (“New Work”) as well as the growing importance of employee satisfaction present companies with new challenges. Buildings nowadays are also measured by whether they provide a productivity-enhancing and inspiring environment. Leighton James, Product & Marketing Director, TRILUX and Alex Klein, Director of Sales, wtec tells us more.
We know that the built world is evolving, and that change is accelerating. From the footprint buildings leave on the planet to the space they offer for us to collaborate and their ability to help us feel safe, buildings have never been more critical. Smart buildings are both more sustainable and more economical in operation due to their technical equipment.
Today, lighting infrastructure, combined with intuitive, proven control technology, can provide the backbone for more sensitive, ecological building design and implementation.
The progressive digitalisation and networking of all services in a building offers enormous advantages, especially through communication and coordination. The spectrum ranges from lighting and shading to the automated preparation of a meeting room (light, temperature, and media) as soon as it is booked in the IT system. However, until now, most of the services have acted independently and had to be integrated into a higher-level building control system at great expense.
Today, with the fundamental aspiration to connect people and buildings to generate the utmost energy efficiency and design truly intelligent buildings, the number of companies with innovative technological solutions is rising.
Green IoT and network-powered building automation businesses offer unique technologies to a large commercial real estate market that increasingly demands smart building technology.
Various factors decide suitable systems
Light management is often associated with high-effort installations and complex electronic controls. This is an erroneous assumption because modern light management systems are not only easy to operate but also maximise light comfort and minimise energy costs. Both the spatial conditions as well as personal needs from the lighting are relevant. In the end though, various factors decide about individually suitable light management systems.
Dimming, daylight-dependent control, simple maintenance as well as switching according to occupancy or time provide a wide spectrum of saving possibilities. Intelligent luminaires equipped with sensors not only simplify installation but are immediately ready to operate. In addition, light management systems can be integrated into existing building controls. In larger building complexes they enable completely new options for lighting.
Proven, well-deployed technology enables data centres, universities, retail locations, and companies with office space numerous intelligent applications, providing added value to facility owners, operators, and tenants with hardware, software, and services.
Intelligent and efficient
Combining building intelligence with lighting technology over network infrastructure to minimise lighting costs, generate a healthy working environment, and protect the climate is only the start. The next step is to make entire building complexes intelligent and efficient.
In doing so, a central unit supplies vendor-neutral LED fixtures via sensors with safe, low voltage. More precisely, with low-voltage direct current via a standard IP network infrastructure in which a multifunctional sensor network is integrated. In this process, the fine-meshed sensors track various building-relevant data, such as brightness, temperature, presence, and air quality, and supply this data to the user in real-time.
Moreover, only one data cable is needed for energy and data flow, reducing the amount of cabling required.
At the same time, the question arises what direct impact a network-based lighting technology has on its users. The answer is more flexibility and control to set your work environment as you like it. The light above them adjusts perfectly to their wishes and according to the natural course of the sun. On the screens around them, they can observe the presence and movement of other visitors. In front of them, the windows of a skyscraper are suddenly tinted. Behind other windows, the light is automatically switched on and off – depending on whether it is needed or not.
Saving natural resources
These are examples of how smart technology is already being used today, how they replace common power infrastructure worldwide and help operate buildings intelligently and sustainably while saving natural resources.
In addition to the previously mentioned technology, various additional modules can be integrated to manage and enhance the cognitive capabilities of a building.
Smart building use cases
When it comes to usage monitoring, wireless utility submeters help deliver consumption data at discrete building areas or even on individual assets – especially energy-intensive ones. Having these insights at their fingertips, facility operators can swiftly identify and locate bottlenecks for counteractive measures.
Many companies have little or no information about how employees, customers, and other users utilise "space." A visualisation of the real-time occupancy and the analysis of historical data are available through software solutions. Based on the collected information, both the current allocation, use of space, and the planning of future requirements, can be optimised.
- Occupancy: how much of your space was utilised and to what intensity
- Utilisation: how well was the capacity of a room or zone utilised
- Development over time and trends
- Most and least used rooms/zones
- Metrics by campus, building, floor, room, room type, time of the day, and so on
- Clustering according to similar patterns
Intelligent building control can go a long way in enticing employees back into the workplace, after years of working from home. Its all about creating the right environment. Employees who feel comfortable in their office are not only more motivated, but also more productive. Intelligent applications, utilisation concepts, pleasant lighting and an optimum room climate can make a decisive contribution in creating an ideal working atmosphere. In addition, this also increases the attractiveness of an employer.
Furthermore, making every day working task more straightforward, holds huge appeal. Easy to find meeting rooms or workspaces, increase the performance and motivation of employees in their daily work. With the help of real-time motion data, employees can search and book free workstations and meeting rooms. With this data, search times can be significantly reduced.
Implementing Sensors with Bluetooth beacons with indoor navigation, asset tracking, and people-finding applications can also improve this effect.
Heat mapping allows for meeting rooms and workplaces to be occupied flexibly. Customer flow can be analysed and optimised.
Additionally in industrial buildings, sensors in the luminaires can determine the paths of people and vehicles in halls to find hot spots and congestion areas. Data is then displayed as graphically prepared frequency distributions on the hall floor plan, helping facilities adapt and reconfigure their layout to avoid the risk of accidents.
Beyond that, Human Centric smart Lighting (HCL) can produce a surrounding naturally aligned with the sun's course throughout the entire day, in terms of brightness and colour temperature. Every fixture is individually adaptable and highly energy efficient.
The requirements for modern real estate in terms of energy efficiency are already very high. Only recently, the EU adopted the "Green Deal. “The ambitious goal: greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050. The deal includes numerous climate protection measures for the real estate sector. By 2050, the building stock is to be largely climate neutral. A property built to current standards is thus generally designed to be sustainable from the outset.
In 2021, to simplify the integration of lighting into the hardware and software infrastructure of digitalised buildings, TRILUX invested in the IT expert wtec. wtec specialises in building automation and IT infrastructure. Its innovative smartengine technology enables the complete lighting network to be implemented via data cabling and seamlessly integrate into the building management system – making complex building infrastructures a thing of the past and lays the foundation for individual Human Centric Smart Lighting that combines maximum efficiency with user orientation.
Leighton James is Product & Marketing Director at TRILUX and Alex Klein is Director of Sales at wtec