With increasing energy regulations and sustainability goals, the role of IoT in optimizing HVAC systems for commercial buildings is becoming increasingly crucial. This blog explores how IoT makes HVAC systems more energy efficient while enhancing building operations and improving occupant comfort.

Let’s take a closer look at how some of the crucial challenges of HVAC operations are addressed by IoT-powered HVAC control and comfort management systems.

Utilities/ Environment Monitoring with IoT-powered HVAC control and comfort management

1. Utilities/ Environment Monitoring

Utilities and environment monitoring is one of the key aspects of IoT-powered HVAC control. Energy wastage poses a significant challenge for building managers. IoT systems help save energy by monitoring daily consumption and providing energy benchmarking (per occupied room/footfall). These systems also keep electrical health in check by analyzing parameters like current unbalance, power factor, voltage, etc. In addition to that, IoT systems also monitor the total harmonic distortion (THD) for voltage and current, and max demand. Building managers can view the reports and alerts generated by the system in a centralized dashboard.

Moreover, good air quality inside the building is also essential for occupant comfort. IoT systems continuously monitor the air quality inside the building in real time, ensuring a healthy indoor environment.

Overall, the utilities and environment monitoring feature of an IoT system helps building managers make informed decisions on energy usage and reduce operating costs.


High Side Optimisation with IoT-powered HVAC control and comfort management

2. High Side Optimisation

One of the challenges faced with managing a non-IoT-powered HVAC system is the manual set point control of chillers, which can cause equipment to run at high loads at non-peak hours, leading to energy wastage. However, with IoT-powered automation, this problem is effectively addressed. IoT-enabled sensors continuously monitor various factors such as outdoor temperature, building occupancy, and internal loads. By analyzing this real-time data, the system can dynamically adjust set points to optimize energy usage, delivering over 5% energy savings on chillers. Another challenge faced with the high-side operations of an HVAC system is the fixed running speed of secondary pumps. An IoT system can fix this problem by providing farthest-point pressure-based set-point control, leading to over 20% savings on secondary pumps’ operating costs.


AHU Automation with IoT-powered HVAC control and comfort management

3. AHU Automation

An IoT-powered automation system can help address the challenges of AHU or low-side HVAC operations. One such challenge is manual changes in controls of variable frequency drives (VFD) or AHU valve % openings, which leads to complaints and escalations. In an automated system, these controls can be performed proactively based on factors such as the return air temperature of AHUs or zone temperatures. This can lead to 10-20% savings depending on overcooling or operational mismanagement while maintaining an optimal temperature and improving comfort. A second challenge with managing AHUs is manual set-point control and operation of the AHU’s chilled water valve. An IoT-powered system can provide automated control based on chilled water out temperature or return air temperature. This will eliminate overcooling in zones and provide savings on secondary pumps and chillers. IoT-powered controls can also automate closed-loop electronically communicated (EC) fans, treated fresh air units (TFAs), and air washer systems, further improving energy efficiency.


VRV/ VRF and Ductable Automation with IoT-powered HVAC control and comfort management

4. VRV/ VRF and Ductable Automation

In a VRV or VRF air conditioning system, one outdoor unit is connected to several indoor units. The outdoor unit supplies variable amounts of refrigerant to these indoor units based on their individual requirements. Building managers often face the challenge of manual set-point control and operations with a VRV/ VRF system. An IoT-powered system addresses this problem by providing automated equipment on/off and set-point control. It prevents the overrunning of ACs during non-working hours and eliminates overcooling, thus saving energy. Similarly, an IoT system provides automated on/off and set-point controls for Ductable AC units, providing 10-20% savings at the equipment level or 7% savings at the mains level, depending on overcooling or operational mismanagement.

In conclusion, the integration of IoT technology into HVAC systems is reshaping the way we approach energy efficiency and comfort management in commercial buildings. From utilities and environment monitoring to high-side and AHU automation, various possibilities are offered by IoT-powered solutions. The ZenConnect platform automates HVAC operations, delivering up to 10-20% reduction in energy cost, 25-30% improvement in occupant comfort, and 20-25% reduction in equipment breakdown. It empowers building managers to make data-driven decisions, reduce energy consumption, and enhance sustainability.

As we move towards a future where the need for smart buildings is ever-increasing, embracing IoT-powered HVAC control and comfort management systems will continue to be instrumental in creating healthier, more comfortable, and environment-friendly spaces for occupants.