Monitor and Reduce Power in Commercial Buildings
June 19, 2023
There is clearly a need to monitor and reduce power in commercial applications. This is true for several reasons, most notably the environmental impact and the cost savings one would accrue. With 68% of the world's population expected to live in urban areas by 2050, a stat forecasted by the United Nations relating to issues concerning energy consumption and energy demand and the huge challenges facing the world.
Many governments are getting involved in passing regulations and restrictions, but in most cases, existing buildings and factories are excluded from the new regulations. By reducing power, businesses can decrease their carbon emissions and mitigate climate change.
This is clearly a path many are looking for as we try to be “politically correct” as a society. Unfortunately, the energy consumption situation is not getting better, and you can make the argument that it’s getting worse, with more factories coming on-line, and a growing population.
In terms of cost savings, there’s a direct correlation between power consumption and cost. Generally, you pay for what you use, and if you use less, you pay less. In general, equipment that is operated appropriately, not always operating at the highest level, will wear better and last longer.
An Array of Challenges
Two chief culprits, or high energy consumers, are air conditioning and lighting systems used in commercial environments. A host of factors can affect their usage. For example, location, size, layout, and building occupancy can all impact the energy needed to cool and illuminate a building. The usage patterns of the premises have a huge impact and, in many cases, are not optimized.
It’s important for administrators to select the appropriate equipment and controls to optimize performance and reduce energy waste. The ability to remotely diagnose and maintain equipment can be a huge cost saver. And, unfortunately, human error is a major cause of energy waste.
Monitor and Manage HVAC and Lighting
In response to the government's energy-saving policy, users need to manage the air-conditioning and lighting that consume the most energy in their business environments more efficiently, while taking into account a comfortable space for consumers and staff.
From the manufacturers’ perspective, providing equipment that draws less power can have many benefits:
- Energy-efficient equipment requires less power to operate and test.
- Such equipment provides a distinct competitive advantage for suppliers, resulting in enhanced brand reputation and customer loyalty.
- By complying with regulations and standards, OEMs may be entitled to grants and other government-issued funds.
- Market demand should increase thanks to more energy-efficient end products.
- Products are likely to have an extended product lifespan with higher reliability. Manufacturers benefit from reduced warranty claims, repairs, and customer complaints.
- Sustained corporate social responsibility will increase, and most manufacturers want to be seen as being “eco-friendly.”
Taking a Subsystem Approach
One manufacturer, Artila, takes a unique approach to supplying energy-efficient products for commercial applications. Rather than focus on the entire platform, the company takes a subsystem approach that includes both the hardware and the software that’s needed to drive the application in the most efficient manner. For example, they have developed an industrial-grade IoT-based building automation system to monitor and control energy use.
That system can automatically manage and control the building’s lighting to maximize efficiency. It does this by connecting to an array of sensors within the building, including temperature, humidity, and people detection. It also connects directly with the HVAC to provide control, based on the sensor data.
From the building’s owner (and administrator) perspective, there are a host of benefits to be realized from a system such as those from Artila. For example, it allows the administrator to implement an industrial-grade IoT system to monitor and control the building’s energy use. Simultaneously, the building’s lighting systems can be automatically monitored, managed, and controlled to increase efficiency and power-saving capabilities.
These feats are typically handled through the use of versatile sensors, monitoring such criteria as temperature, humidity, people activity, and so on. The various systems would then communicate with the lighting and air conditioners and control those systems using the information received via the sensors for maximum efficiency.
That same would be analyzed to make intelligent decisions down the road, taking into considerations things like the amount of daylight changing throughout the year, aging machinery working differently, and so on. Portions of that analysis occur at the Edge of the IoT, and other portions are done in the Cloud and stored for future use and/or get compared with similar structures for maximum efficiency.
For example, the Artila Matrix-752, based on an Arm Cortex-A7 processor core, is a highly integrated, low-power Linux-ready IoT gateway (Linux kernel 5.10.x or higher). It provides a building block for building automation. Specific features of the Matrix-752 include support for the gcc 9.3.0 + glibc 2.31 toolchain.
Up to 512 Mbytes of LvDDR3 SDRAM can be accommodated. I/O is handled through dual 10/100-Mbit/s Ethernet ports, one USB OTG port, two RS-485/RS-232 ports, and a CAN interface.
A second building block from Artila is the fanless Matrix-310 serial to WiFi/Ethernet gateway designed around an Xtensa single- or dual-core 32-bit LX6 running at 240 MHz and managing the ESP32-WROOM-32U toolchain.
Additional features include 520 kbytes of SRAM and 4 Mbytes of flash memory, support for 2.4-GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n, 10/100-Mbut/s Ethernet, and a host of other I/O. Note that the Matrix-752 and Matrix-310 can be combined in some instances to complete an application.
Finally, rounding out the offerings is the Artila RIO-2010 Modbus/TCP remote digital I/O module, boasting 16 digital inputs and eight digital outputs. The web-based subsystem offers remote I/O monitoring and control. It’s based on a web server and is web-interface ready.
It’s important to note that, while the focus here has been on commercial building automation, the products, expertise, and technologies described can also serve in a host of adjacent applications, that would include industrial control, automation, and mobile gateways, just to name a few. Such applications often have similar criteria.
The Artila Advantage
By implementing Artila’s solutions, customers can not only save energy and money, but also improve the comfort and productivity of their employees and customers, as well as contribute to the environmental and social benefits of reducing carbon emissions and enhancing energy security.
Artila has expertise in the development and manufacturing of embedded computing solutions. Some of the hallmarks of the company’s products include robustness and reliability, including the following highlights: operate in harsh environments, compact size, energy efficiency, extensive I/O and connectivity options, scalability, customization, future-proofing, and rich software support, including OSs, SDKs, libraries, and development tools.
Artila specializes in embedded computing and IoT solutions and has advantages over its competitors. For example, Artila possesses vast expertise and experience in developing embedded computing and IoT solutions, allowing them to understand the unique challenges and requirements of these fields.
This knowledge clearly leads to the development of innovative and reliable products designed through stringent quality-control measures, robust designs, and the use of reliable components.
In addition, long-term support and customer service is a mainstay for Artila. Contact the company now for all your embedded design needs, particularly those in the power-efficient commercial building space.