For the last several decades, businesses and organizations across the globe have been looking for new and innovative ways to reduce their energy costs. Efficiency is always the watch-word but there is a delicate balance between practical frugality and unnecessary inconvenience. When it comes to conserving energy, success has is often hit or miss based on the techniques used and the intelligence with which they are applied.
Installing LED lights, for instance, is never a bad idea, but having lights that turn themselves off on a predetermined timer is a good way to leave late-working teachers in the dark. However, leaving the switching off of lights, HVAC systems, and appliances up to the last employee to leave also has a fairly unsuccessful track record resulting in unnecessary energy usage over nights and weekends. So what’s the true solution? Fortunately, as the development of new technology marches on, so too does our chance to save energy through the creative use of IoT devices and the sensors they have popularized.
Controlling Your Lights with IoT Technology
No matter what age you teach or region you’re from, every school needs lights and nothing eats energy quite like illumination. The power and heat required to make lights burn brightly consume a large percentage of any company’s power bill and so they have, quite understandably, become the focus of most energy-saving efforts. While friendly signs and timers have a certain amount of effectiveness, the Internet of Things has brought about a new way to control lights throughout an entire school and you don’t even need to install new light fixtures. IoT LED light bulbs respond to a remote signal. For users, a remote control or smartphone app can be used to control individual lights or lights in pre-determined groups. However, the true energy-saving control occurs when you incorporate automation through sensors.
Energy Efficiency Through Sensors
While motion sensors have been used with mixed results in companies in the past, modern IoT smart sensors have the ability to track individual employees and can know exactly how many people are on each floor and even where they are in the building. This allows you to both leave the lights on wherever they are needed and to turn them off when the building is finally empty. With smart grouping, you can even choose which segments of each building, floor, and classroom to switch on or off to ensure that only the needed lights will be used, providing the most efficient light control technology has to offer.
Expanding the Efficiency to HVAC Control
Schedule automated HVAC systems are a classic way that schools can try to control energy costs. After all, there’s no need to run the air conditioner or heater when no one’s in the building. However, we’ve all heard and many have experienced the horrors of an impersonal and badly programmed HVAC automation. All too often, people working late or attending weekend events at the school find themselves freezing or sweating because the HVAC changed modes without consideration for the people still in the building.
However, just as you can use smart sensors to give your staff light when they need it and not when they don’t, those same sensors can ensure that your HVAC system keeps every teacher and student at the optimal temperature and then switches itself off when the building is empty for the night or weekend. When combined with an intelligent array of thermostats to detect when each room hits the ideal temperature, you can be sure that your staff or students will never freeze or melt ever again. You can even keep some of the scheduling features to make sure the thermostat boots back up about an hour before early morning Monday teachers start to arrive so that the building is comfortable and ready for class every week.
Stay tuned for the second half of this two-part article where we’ll talk about your choice of sensors, badge sensors, and how to monitor your own power consumption through IoT innovation. For more interesting, useful, and innovative advice or a consultation on viable energy efficient strategies for your school, contact us today!