Technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), automated control systems, and remote control access are transforming HVAC equipment.
Beyond the well-established benefit of energy efficiency, today’s smart HVAC systems leverage better connectivity, analytics access, remote control, advanced monitoring, and predictive maintenance tools to deliver seven surprising benefits:
1. Achieve interoperability.
Most of today’s equipment comes with its own building automation controls. However, many facilities have more than one type of control system. A skilled BAS integrator, such as CM3, can make these disparate systems “talk” to each other. This enables facility managers to use one interface to obtain information about all points on the system, regardless of their manufacturer or building automation programming language (BACnet, LonWorks, Modbus).
2. Provide a more comfortable atmosphere for building occupants.
Buildings and building areas are like fingerprints – no two are exactly alike. Smart HVAC systems enable customization, potentially down to the occupant level for air temperature, humidity levels, and even lighting.
3. Comply more easily with regulations.
The advanced monitoring and analytics capabilities of smart HVAC systems mean that CDC, municipal, and corporate guidelines for temperature, humidity levels, and ventilation are more readily achieved and that compliance documentation is readily available.
4. Reduce equipment downtime.
Built-in diagnostics can predict points of failure, so building managers can proactively address issues before they become an issue. This also enables planned maintenance for cost-effective intervention and continuous operation. Additionally, the ability to quickly see alarms or operating conditions allows the operator to respond immediately to whatever issue arises. In a large plant or facility, this can be especially helpful and allows for minimal downtime to diagnose the equipment and get it back on line quickly.
5. Optimize resources.
Analytics enable building operators to track usage, waste, and breakdown, thereby identifying opportunities for improvements. Smart HVAC systems also reduce waste by avoiding oversizing.
6. Reduce employee travel costs.
Remote control access via mobile devices and wireless systems enable facility operators to be essentially on-site at all times – in a virtual manner – resulting in less travel time, reduced travel costs, and improved productivity. For example, on the single BAS interface, operators can view things like leaving hot water temperature, return water temperature, system status, start or stop functions and alarms, in addition to other control or monitoring points. This makes it easy for the building operator to see exactly what the boiler is doing on the computer screen without needing to go to each piece of equipment to check status or run times or alarms.
7. Improve service from maintenance companies.
If an owner provides their HVAC service company (such as CM3) with access to the company network, then service technicians can see building automation data from any IoT device and conduct remote diagnostics.