The arrival of the United Nations’ annual climate change conference (COP26) in Scotland at the end of October has inspired many business owners to consider the long-term impact that their companies are having on the environment. With the added pressures of stricter greenhouse gas reduction targets introduced by the Government, UK businesses are having to take the decarbonisation movement more seriously than ever before.
Reducing a business’ energy consumption should always start in the office. Transforming an office block into a fully integrated smart building is the first important step towards becoming carbon net-zero, a commitment that many UK businesses are working to achieve by 2030.
So, what is a smart building?
Although the technology involved is complex, the purpose behind a smart building is deceptively simple; to integrate all of a building’s operations into a single system that can be monitored 24/7 by its occupants.
A smart building uses various interconnected IoT (Internet of Things) devices to monitor a building’s energy use, tapping into features like heating, ventilation, and lighting. These devices are attached to various pieces of a building’s equipment, ranging from water pipes and machinery to ceilings and air ducts. Once the IoT devices have been installed, real-time data is automatically shared across the system, and is accessible to the occupants at all times.
What can it do?
In the grand scheme of things, it’s probably easier to ask what it can’t do.
Smart technology can be utilised to monitor virtually every source of energy in a building, as well as optimising the office environment to encourage peak productivity amongst employees.
An integrated smart system can, for example, manipulate the air conditioning to make sure that employees have a constant supply of clean air. At the same time, it can also control the temperature of the building and how many of its rooms have lights switched on.
Given that buildings are often the second-highest cost for a business, the ability to spot which areas of an office are costing larger sums of money to maintain is invaluable. A smart building has the power to change the way a business uses its resources, making the process far more efficient and economical.
What are the benefits of turning my building ‘smart’?
Upgrading to a smart building gives business owners more control over their company’s energy usage, enabling them to determine which operations can run more efficiently. If an electricity bill seems particularly high, for example, occupancy monitoring devices can be used to detect whether lights and devices are being kept on in rooms that are regularly unoccupied. A smart system can use this data to reduce a business’s lighting usage by switching the lights off in any rooms that it registers as empty.
With all of a building’s core systems being combined into a single network, a business can create the optimum environment for its employees. Air quality, ventilation, and lighting all have an impact on an employee’s wellbeing, particularly the level of CO2 in the office. Long-term exposure to high levels of CO2 (1,000ppm and above) is likely to have negative health implications, including tiredness and headaches- neither being ideal for a 9-5 day in the office!
What can Carbon Numbers do to help?
Our cloud-based system gives clients real-time updates of each room in their building, including live reports on any environmental changes such as CO2 levels, temperature, lighting, and occupancy. Our integrated approach allows the best technologies on the market to be used together seamlessly. Not only can our team identify any issues as they occur, but we also work closely with clients to resolve any problems in real-time and ensure that policies and regulations are always met.
Want to find out how your business could start saving energy? Contact our experts today.