Data is playing an increasingly important role in smart buildings. Analysis of building system data is guiding an expansion of capabilities in the smart building environment, making building systems - including HVAC - more efficient, effective and smarter. The growth of intelligence in the HVAC market was among the more prominent industry trends in 2020. This article will revisit some of the year’s most popular articles on HVACinformed.com that focused on the trend toward more intelligent systems.
"I don’t think many would disagree that the most talked about trend in the HVAC market is smart technology,” says Chris Windass of Incentiv Tec in an HVACinformed.com Expert Panel Roundtable article. “Smart technology like mobile apps allow building managers to control HVAC technology from one centralized point. With this smart technology, HVAC will be able to identify and alert building managers when maintenance is needed or assets have failed to operate.”
smarter building technology
A Johnson Controls survey found that 77% of organizations planned to make investments in energy efficiency and smarter building technology in 2020.
“A complete overhaul of legacy systems is not necessary as small investments today can help position a facility to more easily adopt technologies at scale in the future,” says Lisa Brown, Senior National Director of Municipal Infrastructure and Smart Cities at Johnson Controls.
More Intelligence in Home Systems
Google’s Nest smart thermostat is offering a new capability that will alert homeowners of problems
“As a first step, it’s important for building owners to conduct an assessment and establish a strategy that defines a comprehensive set of requirements and prioritizes use-cases and implementations. From there, incremental investments and updates can be made over a realistic timeline.”
Smart systems are also a big part of residential HVAC systems. For example, Google’s Nest smart thermostat is offering a new capability that will alert homeowners of problems with the operation of their HVAC systems based on artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that analyze system performance. The technology will empower Nest Learning thermostats to provide “early warning” of HVAC problems and even direct homeowners to a repair company.
Remote Troubleshooting Emerges
Sensors are another element of smart buildings. The Internet of Things (IoT) has enabled more sensors of different types to be deployed in more locations throughout the building easier than ever before. The point of installing and using IoT sensors is to gain deeper insight into how buildings are performing, and ensure buildings are healthier, more productive for people to work in, more effective to run and more energy efficient.
In-room sensors, such as temperature, air quality and occupancy, work with the IoT to improve building performance. The benefits of IoT sensors are that they are easy to install, both physically and from a commissioning perspective. Remote troubleshooting is another smart capability that is generating interest. CoolAutomation’s Remote HVAC Service Solution enables HVAC service providers to remotely troubleshoot issues by analyzing real-time and historic data trends and analysis.
Communicating in Smart Buildings
They receive automatic error and anomaly notifications in their office or on their mobile phones
They receive automatic error and anomaly notifications in their office or on their mobile phones. “The remote service solution provides the tools that HVAC service providers need to offer remote services to their existing clients while attracting new customers who understand the value of remote service for their business,” says Roy Muchtar, VP of Products at CoolAutomation.
Communication is a central aspect of smart building systems, and now there’s a better option: a high-speed wireline communication standard called HD-PLC that is developed specifically for today’s industrial IoT and smart building applications. In 2017, after careful evaluation of various technologies, LonMark International adopted HD-PLC as its new channel standard.
smart home standards
And last October, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) approved ANSI/CTA 709.8 LON HD-PLC (High Definition Power Line Communication) as a new standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Also related to communication, the Zigbee Alliance seeks to promote collaboration in the Internet of Things by creating, evolving, and promoting universal open standards that enable all objects to connect and interact.
A quick search also provides a manual, wiring diagram and video training content for that specific unit
Their effort took off when Amazon, Apple, Google and the Zigbee Alliance announced an industry working group in December 2019 to take the “best of market” technologies from leading smart home standards, portfolios and ecosystems and to develop a “super spec” that will be open, inclusive and a significant industry shift in the smart home market. The Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP) is looking to unify the environment, under one technology, one certification program and one logo.
Training Technicians Using Technology
Technology is also helping to fill the skills gap in the HVAC market. The XOi Vision platform helps on-site HVAC technicians in three ways. One is to “capture” images and videos.
A technician can take a picture (with a smart phone or tablet), and the system’s machine learning can extract the text from the nameplate of a unit in the field, interpret the type of name plate, and provide full model number, serial number and other information about the unit, which is relayed automatically to the technician in a text message. A quick search also provides a manual, wiring diagram and video training content for that specific unit.