Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems have revolutionized how we construct our buildings. Smart HVAC systems can help to heat the buildings in winters without fireplaces or stoves. However, one of the challenges for architects is to make buildings energy-efficient. Commercial and residential buildings consume relatively 72% and 41% of electricity in the US. The electricity consumption rapidly increases every year in the US. A great share of this consumption account for the HVAC system. Energy sources’ prices are also rising. To control these costs better and ensure the smart HVAC systems are operating efficiently, the Internet of Things (or simply IoT) was invented. This revolutionizing technology of the fourth industrial revolution can help to optimize the HVAC systems.
How IoT transforms HVAC
IoT is a system of interrelated computing devices and it is commonly used for smart house technology. You can use an IoT technology stack to control any device (lamps, heaters, etc.) remotely. The devices with automated systems help gather information, process and create an action. The devices will learn and perform better with collected data. Devices can be connected to either a wired or wireless network. The wireless solutions are more convenient for you to control your devices. You might just plug in some smart assistant like Alexa or Siri.
Smart HVAC systems
Standard 90.1 is used globally as a benchmark to set minimum energy performance requirements. Those requirements reference wall and ceiling isolation, lighting fixtures, and HVAC equipment productivity. Building Energy Management Systems emerged and applied mini-computers for the automation of HVAC control. This also facilitated modern smart HVAC systems.
IoT-connected HVAC systems
With the help of AI, you can adjust the setting of HVAC systems and remotely control the temperature and humidity via the Internet.
What is included in a typical smart HVAC?
- Sensors to collect the data. It is usually a thermostat in HVAC.
- Motion sensors also help adjust the HVAC setting.
- A hub that receives, stores, and analyses the information.
- Controllers for the HVAC activity.
- A smart evice to access the HVAC system (smartphones/tablets).
- HVAC applications that installed in your smart devices.
Why is smart HVACpopular among customers?
More than 500,000 customers in the UK installed smart thermostats in their homes in 2018. In 2020, the number of customers increased to 1 million. The users are very satisfied and would buy another device in the future. Here are the reasons why:
- It reduces the expenses of consuming energy.
- It optimizes the workload of the energy system, especially during working hours.
- It adapts to user preferences and improves the customer experience.
- It provides maintenance alerts in time; therefore, it saves cost and helps to avoid unexpected situations like a gas leak.
Note when using IoT in HVAC
Be aware of hackers
Each device that is connected to the internet can be hacked. With the help of modern technologies, malefactors can scan the entire internet and target any device whether it is a toaster or a strongly protected server. Malicious hackers can attack and infiltrate thousands or millions of unsecured devices, crippling infrastructure, downing networks, or gaining access to private information. So always put security first in your IoT development journey.
Make sure that devices are compatible with your current IoT system
A user may face up a challenge while installing IoT infrastructure. Although your smart devices can work well individually, they may malfunction when connected to a network. That usually happens due to different communication protocols, like ZigBee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth. Therefore, when you buy a new accessory, you should check whether it is compatible with your current IoT system.
Install the application from the same developer with your devices
The need to learn new ways of interacting with the system creates the same barrier as the non-technical non-compliance of electronic devices. In a smart HVAC system, element menus, pattern designs, or terminology that differ between applications can harm interoperability. Applications can sometimes show conflicting state systems because they query their status at different time intervals. Thus, you can consider installing apps from the same developer to have the best user experience.
Avoid latency in executing commands
Whenever we hear about Internet connection, the first thing that comes to mind is connection speed, and that is an important concept, but there is another factor that you must take into account, matter how fast your internet connection is, if the latency is very high, it will interrupt our work.
Latency is the response time taken by the server to receive and send information about the requested content. It is the time since you requested a packet of information from your smartphone, for instance, and it comes back to show you, the contents of the requested packets to the server destination. You can avoid them by making sure that your IoT devices are synchronous.
You can try to improve the quality of your internet connection by enhancing your signals and making sure that major barriers, like sick walls, don’t shut the signal line. You should always have anti-virus or malware applications installed and updated on your devices.
Many of these malicious programs that abuse your Internet connection will increase latency, which is just something we want to avoid. Also, proxy servers are very useful when it comes to connection security (thanks to encryption), but as in the case of VPNs, using these and their advantages adds a few milliseconds to create the latency. So if it’s not necessary, you will not use it.
Install sensors in the right place
The temperature and the humidity inside the same room may differ due to different factors, for instance, a thermostat over the oven will show a higher temperature than the reality. Selecting the best place to install motion sensors will allow you to cover a larger area with fewer sensors; therefore, it will save you time and money.
Although IoT is a relatively new technology, it has already changed the HVAC industry. IoT technology can provide early detection of problems, allowing time for building owners to proactively plan repairs and replacements. IoT technology collects data that assists systems in analyzing signs of deterioration that could lead to future problems. Recent advancements in IoT technology have shown a positive impact on buildings by optimizing services, energy. efficiency, and ultimately tenant satisfaction. The broad adaptability of smart HVAC systems will soon change the way companies price electricity. Currently, most electricity suppliers have fixed prices regardless of demand fluctuations during the day. The widespread introduction of IoT will enable “time-of-use pricing,” that allows households to buy energy through a supply and demand mechanism. Smart HVAC makes our facilities more sustainable by optimizing energy consumption. However, HVAC automation needs additional solutions to create a green transition for our buildings. Solar-powered HVAC could be another solution.