Smart buildings initiative

From: Public Services and Procurement Canada

Learn how we save energy by monitoring and controlling the mechanical, heating, cooling and lighting systems in federal buildings through the Smart Buildings Initiative.

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Understanding Smart Buildings

Most buildings have digital systems that control their mechanical and electrical equipment. Smart Buildings is a system that collects raw data from that equipment and analyzes it, as it comes in. The initiative involves implementing this system in federal buildings.

The system uses data to find conditions when buildings use equipment inefficiently. It could mean that the mechanical or electrical systems are wasting energy. If building management finds a problem, they can fix it right away.

Mining data for hidden information

Every few minutes, the Smart Buildings system collects thousands of pieces of data on information such as:

  • temperature in various rooms
  • pressure in various rooms
  • measurements of how much energy the equipment is using

The system uses the data from various building systems to establish links that help identify potential issues.

For example, the analysis may find that in a building’s ventilation system, one fan is using much more energy than the others. This isn’t something a maintenance worker would notice just by looking at the fan. The difference in energy use could mean that something is blocking the fan’s airflow or that a filter needs to be changed.

The system could also discover that a room is being both heated and cooled at the same time. The system would immediately alert building management about the problem and they could fix it.

Advantages of the system

The Smart Buildings system allows the Government of Canada to:

  • lower energy costs
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • identify and diagnose problems early so they can be solved right away at a lower cost
  • establish baseline data so building managers know if energy efficiency is improving

In addition, information collected from the system is available for building occupants and operators to use. This information can be displayed in public areas and can cultivate an energy-conscious culture among people in the building.

Through the initiative, we are improving how we manage the energy performance of federal buildings. This will result in lower greenhouse gas emissions and lower energy costs.

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