Advanced Sensors for Smart Buildings
With energy costs following a seemingly upward trajectory in many parts of the world and climate change on the political agenda, there is an ever-increasing focus on achieving greater energy efficiency to generate cost savings. Today, commercial buildings represent a huge source of energy use but, for the most part, these buildings are inefficient. Indeed, the majority of sensors currently used in buildings are considered dumb – that is, they are incapable of making intelligent decisions in real-time.
Although still an extremely nascent market, an array of advanced sensors better able to adapt to changing building conditions is emerging. New, advanced occupancy sensors, for example, can match ventilation rates to the number of people in a room, thus providing benefits of reduced energy use and improved air quality. Likewise, there are sensors today that can periodically self-calibrate and correct for drift, allowing them to be used for better monitoring and maintenance of equipment. Meanwhile, advances in sensing technologies are enabling the deployment of low-power wireless sensors deeper into buildings than ever before. Navigant Research forecasts that global shipments of advanced sensors will grow from 1.8 million units annually in 2013 to 28.4 million units in 2020.