Advanced digital technologies to cut energy and maintenance costs for buildings

To meet the changing needs of our building infrastructure customers, energy distribution and internet connectivity are vital elements. Resilient infrastructure today must be enabled by digitalisation.

Buildings consume more than 30 percent of the world’s energy and contribute almost 40 percent of global carbon emissions. In an effort to tackle these challenges, national governments across the world are imposing tighter restrictions on building use, energy consumption and emissions. Shifting to more energy-efficient buildings is now regarded as central to carbon reduction strategies.

Technological innovation is making our cities more liveable, prosperous and sustainable, and the building sector is taking a lead role in embracing digital solutions that enable great efficiency, sustainability and productivity where we live and work. Today’s smarter buildings, which interconnect digital energy monitoring and control devices, have attained levels of efficiency that were never possible before the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoTs) and scalable technology.

Nowadays buildings are not limited to small-scale solutions such as setting the temperature from a remote device or turning off a light automatically. The real benefit of today’s smart building technology, provided through digital solutions such as ABB Ability™, is the power to control everything remotely. Intelligent solutions not only simplify automation in buildings but enable greater energy efficiency while increasing convenience and security.

Building smart doesn’t have to be a challenge to profitability. In fact, smart technology creates significant opportunity to increase return on investment and meet tough environmental targets. Smart buildings also speed the adoption of green technology such as electric vehicles and solar power with clever integration. And for the far-sighted, technology may even change the role that buildings play in your portfolio.

Building owners can experience reduced energy costs while shrinking their building’s CO2 emission when they cut down energy consumption in buildings. Future buildings will rely more on energy and asset management systems which leverage digital solutions based on common architecture and ‘Internet of Things’ devices connected to dedicated networks and cloud.

Through ABB Ability™, we are utilising such the Industrial Internet of Things to help our customers speed up their process of digital transformation, to be more resilient, sustainable, and efficient. Let’s look at some of the top products that are helping our customers thrive utilising digitalization:

  • Energy Management: Countries across the world are sharpening their focus on sustainable use of energy to tackle the impacts of climate change. ABB Ability™ Energy and Asset Manager, an energy monitoring solution for commercial and industrial buildings, can help businesses save up to 30 percent on operational costs. It identifies waste of energy and reduces energy consumption while also promoting sustainability, helping achieve international certifications of energy management.
  • Asset Management: This plays an integral role in increasing the reliability and availability of assets. ABB Ability™ Asset Health for electrical systems – MyRemoteCare a system that offers condition monitoring of assets and provides access to real-time status of each relay or other appliance within medium voltage switchboard around the world from the comfort of your desk, improving safety and reducing costs.
  • Building Management: In today’s environment, maintaining an efficiently managed building is not enough. Intelligent solutions are more important than ever as they provide real time information to multiple stakeholders who need to take swift decisions to ensure security, safety and comfort of occupants as well as to protect the longevity of assets. ABB Cylon BMS includes best in class HVAC control, flexible lighting control, and extensibility to include ancillary building services. This is combined with real-time information on building conditions and powerful energy management.
  • E-Mobility: The increase in the use of electric vehicles (EVs) also highlights the need for reliable and fast-charging solutions.  ABB Ability™ connected chargers enable fast global service and pro-active maintenance. ABB has years of experience in creating, installing and maintaining charging infrastructure, including several nationwide charger networks.

In the US, leading building designer Catalyst Partners selected ABB Ability™ Energy & Asset Manager to track progress towards their net-zero electricity goal for their Michigan headquarters and showcase the technology needed to achieve sustainability targets. Solar PV generation supplies 20 percent of the site’s power, but Catalyst needed to implement at least three energy conservation measures to reduce their energy use intensity. By using Energy & Asset Manager’s analytics, they were able to understand what electricity is supplied by the utility versus that by their solar panels, and optimise operations of the solar plant in relation to energy use in the building.

Digital building automation is changing the way we perceive buildings, enabling a new era of comfort, health, and sustainability. With more consideration given into how we feel within them, these buildings will become a place we want to be, where we feel productive, safe, and energised. All this is complemented with a reassurance in knowing that the power behind it is distributed in the most sustainable way possible.

Learn more about ABB’s digital building solutions. Keep up-to-date with trends and technology within the smart building segment. Subscribe to our smart buildings newsletter.

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About the author

Ian Richardson

Ian Richardson is the Building Solutions Technical Specialist within ABB Australia's Electrification business. Ian leads the product life-cycle of energy distribution solutions for developing and product engineering through to marketing strategies. Ian has more than 40 years of industry experience in the building automation and energy distribution sectors. He is also Chairman/Director of the KNX National Group Australia since 2011. KNX is the only worldwide standard for home and building automation, adopted by Standards Australia as a technical specification. KNX devices can manage lighting, blinds and shutters, HVAC, security systems, energy management, renewable energy, audio video, whitegoods, visualisation, remote monitoring.
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