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FMs Must Embrace IoT to Make Efficiency Savings

FMs Must Embrace IoT to Make Efficiency Savings
06 May 2021

Facilities managers that don’t embrace IoT will be left behind in the race to optimise services and make efficiency savings, warns Shields Energy.

Over 30 per cent of energy is wasted from poorly performing or operating equipment within a building and IoT can provide several solutions to this.

Bodies such as the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) agree that it is more important than ever that building energy management systems are correctly installed and maintained. They predict an uptick in the use of occupancy analytics and BeMS systems will be central to the future of energy-efficient buildings.


Digital Transformation in Business


British business is set for a digital revolution according to a survey from Crown Records management, which indicates that 56 per cent of companies are speeding up plans because of the pandemic.

With so many employees working from home, and a battle to get back on track after a year of turbulence, businesses are realising their processes and systems are potentially outdated and in need of an overhaul.

The survey revealed that 32 per cent are planning digital transformation in the next 12 months to cope with the new normal and a further 24 per cent plan to act within five years.


Managing Assets with IoT


Dan Shields, CEO of Shields Energy, who specialise in IoT and Big Data-based technologies, explains how IoT has the ability to understand in real-time what is happening throughout every aspect of a building, opening up a world of untapped savings:

“At the forefront of every facilities managers’ mind is the need to improve efficiency and save energy, these are not new pressures but with the added requirement of cost savings the modern FM can realise instant benefits by managing assets more efficiently with IoT which ultimately build a better experience for tenants.”

Shields Energy advises that evidence-based data from IoT can inform better decisions and cost and carbon savings, the benefits of IoT benefits for facilities managers include:


  1. Delivery of the service – IoT will make the FM more informed so they can make decisions based on the data they receive from the IoT sensors and systems deployed within a client site.
  2. Digital twin platforms provide FMs with the layout of the building, the location of the system, the details of the system, historic and real-time insights into performance and operations. A true log of the system and an exact location within the building. A digital twin is an exact replica of the building and systems within, locating the faulty system on a digital twin right down to the system fault codes, allows them to physically – on-site – locate the issue and rectify.
  3. Operation management and fault identification – For FMs, having insights into building and equipment operations 24/7/365 through the use of IoT and interactive cloud-based software platforms empowers FMs to be more informed, to identify a fault before it becomes a costly issue to the client or a health and safety issue for the building occupiers. They can go to a site knowing fully the extent of the fault and can locate and identify the issues immediately as they have already viewed the location through the digital twin software. 
  4. Remote management and fault rectification – IoT empowers FMs to make adjustments to equipment performance and operations remotely, fix faults remotely and thereby cut down service and maintenance times and in many instances, do all this remotely cutting down on time and cost and carbon from regular planned maintenance visits.
  5. Predictive maintenance – IoT allows FMs to gain deeper insights into systems and equipment performance, identifying operations and run times that may lead to a fault or request for service allowing them to predict when maintenance is required and be more proactive as opposed to reactive. 
  6. Extending the life cycle of equipment and buildings – With IoT data, FMs can establish cause and effect in equipment operation and lifecycle. Being able to manage, operate and maintain the equipment with the purpose of extending its life and reducing cost or repair or replace for the client. 
  7. Asset register and system location – IoT provides FMs with an asset register, they know exactly where systems are and what systems are doing and how they’re performing, the age and maintenance schedule, the historic log of faults and issues – a full-service history available all through a cloud platform. 
  8. Delivers off-grid solutions – IoT empowers the FMs to work with their clients in delivering off-grid solutions such as battery and solar PV – data from IoT quantifies the benefits of moving some building load off-grid and onto the battery or solar PV thereby reducing the building’s demand on the Grid at certain times of the day.
  9. Supports COVID-secure environments –  IoT sensors provide insights into IAQ. Understanding the carbon dioxide levels, temperature and humidity gives insights into air quality within the building and whether it's covid secure for the occupants. Add in the data from ventilation systems, FMs can create and provide data and insights to the client validating the internal air quality is safe and managed according to government and CIBSE guidelines. Wellness and wellbeing are no longer just about internal temperatures. Humidity and carbon dioxide levels are important to monitor, the former could create a breeding ground for covid and other known pathogens, the latter would suggest high occupancy levels or lack of ventilation. 

Picture: a photograph of a skyscraper building

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 06 May 2021


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