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Evaluating the Benefits of IOT for Chillers, VRF and HVAC systems

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

IOT Refrigerant Pressure & Energy Monitoring
IOT Refrigerant Pressure & Energy Monitoring

BMS (Building Management Systems) are great when installed on larger Buildings but what about those that don’t have one?

IOT is a great low cost quick way of Monitoring Key pieces of HVACR Equipment and how it can benefit building owners.

ENVIROLOGIK is a Smart Technology HVAC Business - committed to delivering a complete range of M&E/HVAC Energy Saving and Business Improvement Technologies in HVACR and Facilities Management.

IOT systems in general terms are designed at optimising customers HVACR equipment and delivering operational saving in Energy and in reduced costs and maintenance needs.

The ENVIROLOGIK IOT system has been specially developed to monitor Chiller HVAC and VRF systems. Our IOT system is an important aid in achieving this, we recognise that how you apply the HVAC IOT hardware, the Dashboards and Reports is where you obtain value from it.

Facilities Business are now entering the IOT space, however many are just evaluating the technology and applications with very little being implemented.

Many companies are struggling to understand how to integrate IoT into their products and services in a valuable and meaningful way. EnviroLogik has been established to design, select and support M&E and Facilities Contractors in installing IOT solutions to key items of equipment

The ENVIROLOGIK IOT system is a fully developed independent (open protocol system) that is a proven tried and tested system that is already monitoring key HVACR equipment across the entire Facilities sector, such as in General Office Air Conditioning/HVAC, Hospitality and Retail Environments. Indeed, we have just completed an installation of one of our systems with our partner Polyteck FM at London’s Royal Exchange.

Multi VRF System
Multi VRF System

Monitoring of key items such as Chillers, VRF’s, Pumps and AHU’s can be undertaken to prevent failures before they happen. Indeed, life is much easier for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors after the addition of live Refrigerant Pressure & Temperature Monitoring of Chillers, VRF and other critical A/C systems.

Buildings without a BMS

Building management systems can “manage and switch” system start/stop times, undertake optimisation, system efficiency, utility consumption, alarms and trouble areas, etc. which can enable a site manager to make smart, informed decisions. BMS systems tend to be installed on larger buildings with more complex and integrated systems.

But what about those Buildings that don’t have a permanent site team or have a BMS? This is where IOT comes into its own.

Older style Remote monitoring has been around for some time but has always relied on hard wiring and connections to potentially unsecure direct connection via a Buildings telephone, WIFI, ethernet or a connected modem – all of which are vulnerable to potential cyber-attacks. Now anything can be connected via battery powered sensors that have no need for vulnerable BMS type connections.

With the development of smart IOT sensors that can connect to Contractors and Customers via the mobile phone network and with connections to the latest technology and interactive and meaningful dashboards we are now able to remove those security issues and predict when equipment isn’t performing as it should and notify both the Contractors as well as the customer of a potential failure.

Imagine being able to see remotely when a Chiller, Fridge or VRF system is going to fail due to a Refrigerant leak, - and then fix it before it fails, or if there is an imminent heating failure due to a gas leak or Valve failure. Not only can you save money by fixing the problem before it fails but you can maintain staff satisfaction and ensure that you don’t lose stock.

Live interactive dashboards show every site, every asset, status, energy consumption, alarms and actions. Most A/C equipment has a hard wired connection capability to a BMS, however for Buildings where there is no BMS it is dumb and has no ability to say, “I’m not feeling well” With the introduction and addition of smart sensors you have the ability to turn these assets into something intelligent that can communicate “feelings”.

Customisable IOT HVAC Dashboard
Customisable IOT HVAC Dashboard

How Does ENVIROLOGIK IOT Monitoring of A/C Equipment Work?

ENVIROLOGIK’s IOT Management and Monitoring system installs special miniature sensors which are fitted at key locations to Chillers, Fridges, VRF systems, Freezers, Back bar Display fridges etc. to monitor temperatures, refrigerant pressures, Water leaks and more.

Operational, Temperature or Pressure Alarms, Water Leaks etc and status data is then sent are regular pre-agreed intervals to the ENVIROLOGIK’s cloud-based Monitoring platform, where it is being constantly monitored by Polytecks staff and on-call technicians, and (if desired) to the customers too where can be accessed remotely at any time.

By interrogating the live performance data, ENVIROLOGIK’s Monitoring service will immediately pinpoint where exceptions occur and recommend a course of action to rectify an issue before it becomes a problem.

What can we monitor?

ENVIROLOGIK’s IOT Monitoring in for Chillers, VRF and HVAC systems can track and record temperatures, refrigerant pressures, humidity, Gas pressures, cellar cooling temperatures, power consumption, Heating & Hot Water systems, Water Pumps, water leaks/temperatures and more. Here are some of our most popular sensors in the HVACR sector:

  • Boiler/Chiller water flow

  • Cellar Temperature

  • Refrigerant Pressure

  • Hot Water Temperature

  • Water Temperature

  • Carbon Monoxide

  • Humidity

  • Water leaks

  • Water Temperatures

  • C02 Gas pressure Dispense

  • Differential pressure sensor

  • Power consumption sensor

The Dashboards

ENVIROLOGIK’s IOT Monitoring cloud-based dashboards are central to the live views and live reporting portal gives you a window into how your buildings assets are performing. You can view live asset performance metrics; see how operational behaviour changes over time and access actionable insights with our in-built reporting features.

The clickable and interactive Dashboards and critical alarms can be set up to alert contractors and any site managers when equipment operates outside of predetermined parameters – for example, if a refrigerant pressure drops below an agreed level – so potential leaks can be resolved quickly, especially as live refrigerant pressures can be accessed remotely

Remote Refrigerant Pressure Monitoring
Remote Refrigerant Pressure Monitoring

All Dashboards are fully customisable and can display any data in a variety of formats.

Particularly important in Chillers, CRAC units and VRF systems are refrigerant liquid line pressures. Key issues are ensuring space temperatures and the need to alarm/raise awareness of potentially blocking or already blocked condensers. A loss of refrigerant can be catastrophic and expensive, so identifying an issue and fixing it before it fails is hugely beneficial.

Works with Heating Systems too

In the cooler months it’s important to keep the premises warm. Central Heating and Hot Water equipment are just as important as cooling equipment, because entering a warm and welcoming environment on a cold day is just as important to your staff/customers as they will not want to sit in a cold office, shop or pub/restaurant, so receiving an alarm that your heating isn’t working quite as it should, is important to get it fixed before any possible failure.

Reports/alarms can be used to provide regular reports on energy consumption and equipment status of the equipment being monitored.

The customer and contractors’ technicians can view these reports via our web portal available on smartphone, tablet and PC.

By having full visibility of the key assets in each venue, will enable rapid decisions and reviews concerning potentially critical issues. In turn this will reduce total failures of vital equipment and the subsequent need for emergency callouts which ultimately creating additional pressure for businesses.

The custom ENVIROLOGIK Dashboards enables the contractors to schedule service visits to prevent the risk of total failure before it happens.

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