Smart Buildings That See The Future

How smart buildings can tell you when your heating or air conditioning system is about to pack up

Smart buildings image by Kursat Unsal (via Shutterstock).
Smart buildings: interconnected with the digital world and HVAC systems. Image by Kursat Unsal (via Shutterstock).

If you mention “Smart Buildings”, the first thing that springs to mind is anything to do with Smart Meters, being able to check your electricity consumption on the 36 to Bolton. Maybe the James Bond style house of Stirling Moss’ from the Sir David Frost era of Through The Keyhole. Or George’s House in the second episode of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em where the technology (with a little help from Frank Spencer) goes haywire.

Today’s solutions, thankfully, are more like Mystic Meg than the accident-prone character immortalised by Michael Crawford. It was mentioned in New Scientist magazine how a hospital in Italy used an algorithm based form of preventative maintenance. Known as machine learning, it uses algorithms to predict future faults in heating and air conditioning systems.

The system was devised by CGnal, a Milan-based software developers. Over the first half of 2015, it predicted 76 out of 124 real faults. 41 out of 44 faults were temperature based, with the operating temperature being above normal levels. What was also stressed in the findings was the system’s operation in advancing years. Should the smart buildings system fail, the difference between normal and faulty operation may blur.

Could we turn our homes into smart buildings?

With systems like Hive gaining popularity, a similar system to CGnal’s could be a logical progression. We think home-based systems may enter the market in less than a decade’s time.

Should all public buildings become smart buildings?

As with the recent tests in Italy, a natural place to begin should be our hospitals. In fact, all our public buildings should be smart buildings. Not only to maximise energy efficiency, also to offer value for money for taxpayers.

ST Maintenance Solutions, 27 January 2017.

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