SMART Buildings IoT FAQ's

There are many areas in IoT - aka Internet of Things that need explaining in greater detail, especially when it comes to how and where they can and should be used as well as addressing Cyber security, Use cases, sensor types and what can and should be monitored. See the list of topics/questions below:

 

What Mechanical, Electrical or Plumbing systems can I monitor?

What benefit is there to me and my business?

 

Which sensors do I need?

Where are the sensors fitted?

How is the system installed?

How is the system paid for?

What information will I receive and how?

Who can see the information?

How secure is your system and has it been tested?

How sustainable is your system?

What Mechanical, Electrical or Plumbing systems can I monitor?

In short every M&E system in a Commercial office or industrial building can be monitored, the most common items include:

  • Heating, Hot Water and Cooling Flow and Return Temperatures and on/off status

  • Refrigerant Pressures - to identify expensive refrigerant leaks & impending compressor failures.

  • AHU Filter Status

  • Water Leaks from Toilets, Sinks etc.

  • Water Temperatures from stored hot/cold water systems

  • Cold & Frozen Storage Temperatures

  • Water Temperatures from Tanks and Taps for L8 Compliance

  • Indoor Air Quality in occupied areas

  • Energy Consumption of individual items of equipment

  • Energy Consumption based on Occupancy

 

What benefit is there to me and my business?

  • Being notified when there is a refrigerant or water leak helps me to know when something isn't right with my building(s) and saves me money from expensive refrigerant and compressor bills and the damage it can cost from a water leak.

  • If I and my contractor(s) get notified about a problem, then there is a good chance i can get it fixed before it affects the occupants. i.e. If the heating or hot water isn't working, I will instantly know so I can make a quick repair decision.

  • If the heating or cooling plant is running at strange times, then I can investigate why and how its affecting my energy bills

  • It helps me to know about the Indoor Air Quality so I can report it to my Building occupants. 

  • It can save food waste and lost sales from fridge/freezer failures

  • It minimises disruption and complaints from tenants because I can fix issues quicker and keeps staff more comfortable by knowing when things will get fixed

 

Which sensors do I need?

We have many sensors that can be used in multiple locations and on many different pieces of Mechanical and Electrical Equipment. Its probably a good idea to see them all by reading this sensor catalogue below.

 
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Where are the sensors fitted?

  • The sensors are mostly battery powered, which means they can be installed anywhere, however refrigerant pressure sensors need to be connected to the high/low service ports (Schrader valves) on each refrigerant circuit, whether that's a Chillers, VRF unit or Freezer.

  • Water leak sensors are small battery powered and inobtrusive and need to be installed wherever there is a potential for a leak. i.e. under a sink or bath, behind a cistern or anywhere where water can cause a problem.

  • Water Temperature sensors can be fitted on the outside of flow/return water pipes, however air temperature sensors can be sited anywhere where the space temperature needs to be monitored.

  • IAQ sensors need to be wall or ceiling mounted within the occupied space and each one can monitor multiple factors which will determine a potential virus risk but can also monitor occupancy to enable equipment to be switched off in low or non-occupied areas.

  • All the sensors connect to our gateway or hub using an RF network operating on the LoraWan network. This is low powered wide area network which enables the comms between devices to penetrate basement floors, walls etc. Because our system uses the best local cellular network and does not connect to the buildings infrastructure, we can locate the gateway wherever the best signal can be achieved. Additional sensors can be added to the same gateway (up to circa 200) on the same network

 

How is the system installed?

  • A site survey is required for every property to agree on the best location for the gateway (hub) to identify which network is best and which items are to be monitored. This is carried out FOC by the EnviroLogik team

  • Sensor types, the equipment to be monitored and quantities are then agreed and then the installation can commence

  • Equipment does not need to be switched off and the sensors will be fitted - most of which are battery powered.

  • Thresholds for the alarms are agreed and then we identify who will receive the alarms and at which level. i.e. A security Guard will only need a high level notification that e.g. the heating  has failed, whereas a building manager or technician will want a higher degree and more technical information.

  • These thresholds will be set for the custom building dashboard which is uniquely created per individual site. The site and equipment will be commissioned and tested by EnviroLogik.

  • Site surveys and Installations can be carried out by other contractors once they have been trained by EnviroLogik, however commissioning must be completed by EnviroLogik to ensure that the installation is correct and is functioning.

  • Once the site has been fully tested its then handed over to the stakeholders

 

How is the system paid for?

  • All sites will require both hardware and a monitoring contract to make it work. The hardware (sensors, nodes, gateways etc. will be subject to a one off cost depending on the quantity required

  • A monitoring contract will be required so that the system will function, receive alarms and display everything on a web based dashboard. The contract allows for all historical data and reports to be created. Contracts can be for 12, 24 or 36 months and can be cancelled at any time

  • Equipment does not need to be switched off and the sensors will be fitted - most of which are battery powered.

  • Thresholds for the alarms are agreed and then we identify who will receive the alarms and at which level. i.e. A security Guard will only need a high level notification that e.g. the heating  has failed, whereas a building manager or technician will want a higher degree and more technical information.

  • These thresholds will be set for the custom building dashboard which is uniquely created per individual site. The site and equipment will be commissioned and tested by EnviroLogik.

  • Site surveys and Installations can be carried out by other contractors once they have been trained by EnviroLogik, however commissioning must be completed by EnviroLogik to ensure that the installation is correct and is functioning.

  • Once the site has been fully tested its then handed over to the stakeholders

 
 

What information will I receive and how?

  • Alerts are triggered whenever an exception has occurred. They can be anything from a water leak or high/low temperature or high/low refrigerant pressures, plus many more etc. 

  • An exception needs to occur 3 times before an alert is raised, and then an email is sent to the stakeholder(s)

  • Stakeholders can then log-in to their web based dashboards to view and acknowledge the relevant alerts.

  • Depending on the severity of the alerts will determine whether further action is needed by a technician to attend the site and fix the cause of the problem.

  • The condition of the sensor/status is automatically updated once any repairs have been completed.

Who can see the information?

  • The individuals required to receive the alerts will vary from site to site. Un-occupied sites may need the information sent to a security company and/or Property Management.

  • Occupied sites may need a basic screen for reception/security showing a generic failure i.e. a Heating or Hot Water issue. A higher level of detail maybe required by the FM or Building/Facility Management.

  • Our IoT system has the ability to interact with Job/Field management software, so that a job can be raised against a specific asset.

  • Specific sub-contract specialists may need a detailed technical view of equipment. i.e. Chiller, Lift or Water Treatment which will give them information about the equipment in advance of attending.

 

How secure is your system and has it been tested?

  • Cybersecurity and connections is of concern amongst commercial property landlords and property management businesses and this is holding opportunities back. Signing up to our IoT systems means we have had to prove our systems integrity, especially when it comes to storing and analysing data and privacy protection. 

  • Our systems are tried and tested by many of the worlds largest companies especially when it comes to retrofitting systems into legacy buildings and their systems. We are Building Automation and IoT specialists

  • We aren't a systems integrator or a smart buildings consultancy, but our senior management are experts with over 60 years combined experience in working with MEP systems in commercial properties, so we posses the expertise in networked systems. Backed up with our software company who posses the knowledge of systems integration and data security.

  • The Envirologik IoT solution is hosted on the Enterprise class infrastructure of the simPRO cloud and uses a globally recognised standard for IoT communications in LoRaWAN to ensure maximum security, redundancy and reliability of data and platform. 

 

  • A detailed look at the simPRO Cloud and LoraWan security can be found within the attached documents.

 

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Lorawan Security.PNG
 

How sustainable is your system?

  • ​Energy Savings and cost reductions from existing buildings are a key component of IoT systems. The insights and data available allows businesses to identify areas where savings can be achieved. With everyone aiming for net zero by 2050, we can assist here, especially as 80% of those buildings that will exist in 2050 have already been built.

  • We work on a collaborative basis with our clients to identify the short-term quick wins, but also long-term strategies to help reduce emissions by looking at occupancy - especially with reduced levels due to hybrid working patterns meaning that M&E system can operate at lower levels which also means reduced maintenance - especially when looking at it from a condition based maintenance perspective.

  • Keeping older building stock sustainable isn't difficult to achieve especially with sensors providing feedback. Now that there is legislation in place giving tenants the ability to receive an accurate bill based on their actual heating, cooling and water consumption this will assist them in applying live energy savings to their staffing levels

 

  • Equipped with these sensors, your buildings can provide real-time updates on building usage, energy consumption, maintenance, cleanliness, air quality, viral risk, and more.

  • Smart building solutions give you greater visibility than ever before on the health of your commercial buildings.