The Future of Buildings
Every so often, a novel technology emerges that disrupts and propels, both business and society forward. There's no question, that when it comes to HVAC, building and construction, things are evolving, with new technologies developing at an exponential rate.
Buildings are getting smarter, and the next generation of green building materials and technologies are expected to do more than ever. In this article, we share 5 innovative developments we've collected from a variety of sources to give you some new insights to the opportunities ahead for our industry.
1) Networked Sensors
Networked sensors, which pass data through a network to a central location, are becoming an integral part of how we manage our lives and businesses.
A building’s heating, cooling, lighting, and in fact just about everything, is now being connected by a huge network of sensors. Architects are connecting lighting systems within buildings to ethernet cables, so not only can they deliver wi-fi, but every piece of lighting has its own IP address that can sense when space is unoccupied, turning down heat (and light) to conserve energy. This dramatic increase in connectivity is expanding right across the built environment.
2) High Efficiency Air Conditioning
Over the years, air conditioning units have become more efficient and technologically advanced. As an example, with high-efficiency air-conditioning units, condensers are made larger and compression ratios are altered, so they use up to 25% less electricity.
The air filters and cooling coils are also larger to improve the heat transfer process and they can reduce the velocity of air flow through the unit to ensure better cooling with less energy used.
3) Geothermal Heat Pumps
While geothermal HVAC products have been on the market for a long time, geothermal heat pumps in particular, have been growing in popularity only recently due to the move toward greener buildings.
A geothermal heat pump makes use of heat from the Earth through looped piping that is placed into the ground. During cold months, the fluid in this piping loops underground and absorbs the heat, which is then carried back indoors to provide heating. Geothermal systems are now said to be more efficient than traditional HVAC systems, and can also be used to supply cooling.
3) Industrial 3-D Printers
Changes are coming to the construction industry as 3-D printers are getting smaller, lighter, faster and more energy-efficient. It won't be long until construction workers can travel from site to site with a 3D printer in the back of their trucks.
The new Apis Cor 3D printer is designed to print an entire building in a day without construction waste. This 16.4-foot by 5-foot printer is much smaller than other construction 3D printers, making it incredibly mobile, and it doesn't require site prep or testing before use.
4) Transparent Solar Cells
A Michigan State University research team has developed a new fully transparent solar panel designed to enable windows, panes of glass, and even entire buildings to generate solar energy.
Until now, solar cells of this kind have been only partially transparent and tinted. These new solar cells are said to be indistinguishable from a normal pane of glass. This is one example of the movement toward greater solar cell efficiency.
To learn more visit: http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/first-fully-transparent-solar-power-cell/#ixzz3pQb6Pr33
5) Building Energy Storage
Building energy storage is another upcoming trend that has the potential to revolutionise demand-side energy management.
Smart energy storage solutions for commercial buildings will help businesses to better plan their operations and avoid outages while keeping the energy costs low.
Tesla recently announced its move to supply California office buildings with new energy storage batteries, to significantly reduce the demand for electricity during peak hours up to 25 percent and provide backup power at the event of a grid outage. These energy storage solutions are also said to supply about 10 megawatts worth of spare power to Southern California Edison.
If you would like to learn more about a range of new solutions BC Comfort is offering to provide better building performance, contact us today.
Energy Saving Solutions
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BC Comfort is pleased to feature informative videos that improve the performance and sustainability of buildings.
In this video, you'll learn how room controllers improve energy efficiency and optimize comfort without compromising your bottom line. Easy to install and commission, room controllers provide smart energy management in any size building. Click here to learn more.
This month we'd like to congratulate our Service Technician Dean Slade for his commitment to providing excellent service. Here is what one of our customers recently had to say:
How to Enhance the Value of Your Building
As a building owner, you want to save money, secure your building’s long-term value and attract the right tenants. In order to enhance and optimize building value, more and more owners are investing in smart technologies such as wireless infrastructure.
Wireless control systems provide a number of benefits, including lower costs, enhanced safety, and greater flexibility. In this article, we share a few ways wireless systems can benefit your building.
1) Reduced Costs
Wireless infrastructure can reduce energy, labour and overall operating costs. Wireless systems are, in general, are also proving to be more reliable and have better performance than wired systems. In the event that something does go wrong, labor costs are lower because a repair team doesn’t have to access wiring within the walls. This means you’ll waste less time and money on repairs.
Not only that, wireless infrastructure makes your building ready for the future. When your building has the right technology in place, you have the ability to adapt to any of your tenant's future needs.
Wireless systems can also shrink energy costs by using smart sensors. Occupancy and temperature sensors will inform your system when a room is empty or when a room is not at the desired temperature. This enables the system to fine-tune heating and cooling and regulate unneeded energy usage, such as lighting, when a room is empty. This results in better comfort for building occupants and lower energy costs.
2) Improved Safety
Wireless infrastructure can also improve safety by increasing your building security. If, for example, you need to move security cameras around between different rooms, you can do so with a wireless system. Wireless infrastructure also offers the distinct benefit of providing information to police and firefighters in the event of an emergency. Emergency responders can use a building’s wireless system to communicate with building occupants and to gain information about the building. This can help both emergency responders and building occupants to better handle emergency situations.
3) Greater Flexibility
One of the biggest benefits of a wireless system is the immense flexibility it offers. Because the system is not wired into the walls, it can easily be moved around and changed. For example, if you decide to redesign an office, you have greater flexibility because you don’t have to worry about designing around computer ports or phone lines. Generally, you can put computers, phones, copy machines, security cameras, and other technology anywhere you’d like. This can enhance your building’s current productivity and ensure that your building will be able to accommodate any future needs.
If you’re looking to enhance your building and add to its long-term value, we encourage you to contact us today to learn more about how wireless controls can benefit your building.