What Can You Measure with IoT Sensors in Your Buildings?

What Can You Measure with IoT Sensors in Your Buildings?

Ole Petter Novsett
05. Aug 2020 | 7 min read

What Can You Measure with IoT Sensors in Your Buildings?

Having real-time actionable insights into your buildings is one of the most important competitive advantages you can have in facilities management. The more information you have, the more opportunities you’ll have for cost reduction while increasing tenant satisfaction and efficiency.

In order to access such insights, look no further than IoT technology. IoT sensors can gather data from just about anywhere, as they come in all shapes and sizes. In this article, we explore some use cases of IoT sensors that might surprise you.

 

Space Occupancy

As discussed in our previous article, in a typical building, 50% of assigned offices are underutilized, 50% of seats in meeting rooms for more than eight people go unused, and 40% of scheduled meetings never happen.

With sensors, you can ensure effective utilization of office spaces. Proximity sensors can measure how many times a door is opened and help you identify how often meeting rooms are being used. Temperature sensors can be fitted to desks or chairs to monitor when and how often they are being used. This way, you can also track how many people are in a meeting room at any given time.

The data gathered over time will provide you with insights into how people are using the space in and around the building, which will allow you to make decisions for better utilization of your space.

For example, if you notice that several meeting rooms with a max capacity of 10 people are usually used by 4 people or less, you can decide it’s best to turn one meeting room into two.

For more information on how to improve space utilization in your facilities, we recommend reading this article.

 

Safety and Security

The safety and well-being of tenants are on top of any facilities manager’s priority list. As the saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire, but what if you could stop the fire before there’s smoke?

By fitting your electrical equipment with sensors, you can monitor their heat levels and prevent fires from breaking out. Sensors can also verify that fire doors are functioning as intended, and that fire extinguishers are present and up to code.

Doors and windows can also lead to accidents and injuries. Open windows can result in people falling out and if doors leading to dangerous or electrical equipment are open, this can also result in unfortunate incidents. Fit sensors to the doors and windows in your building and get real-time insight into when these are open and closed. Should a window that’s not meant to be opened, be opened, you will receive an alert and can inform your staff of the situation.

If you have confidential information, security keys, or valuables in a drawer or a locker, you can use the same sensors to get alerts when these are opened. Theft protection has never been easier.

Pro-tip for water safety: You can also use sensors to prevent an outbreak of legionella in your building. Use temperature sensors on your pipes to ensure that you’re continuously meeting health and safety standards.

 

Leaks

Tiny water leaks don’t just result in water waste but can cause thousands of dollars worth of damages due to flooding and mold. Worse yet, if someone slips and sustains an injury due to a water leak in your building, you could have an expensive lawsuit on your hands.

Identifying water leaks quickly is important in order to resolve these issues before they create permanent damage. Water sensors can help you detect high water levels or water leaks instantly while humidity sensors allow you to measure relative humidity. In other words, by placing these in areas where leaks or flooding may occur, you can potentially save a fortune.

 

Measuring Tenant Satisfaction

You’ve probably seen the smiley feedback stations that have been popping up at airports, in restaurants and at service centers. What if you could implement a similar system that provides you with data on tenant satisfaction in your building and communicates with your existing systems - at a fraction of the cost?

Sensors can actually be used for this particular purpose. By using touch sensors, tenants in your building can give feedback on their experience. This will provide you with information you can use to identify what your tenants are happy with and where there’s room for improvement. For instance, do the employees find the office temperature too hot or too cold? Use this insight to increase tenant satisfaction and reduce tenant turnover rate.

 

Energy Consumption

Are you spending an unnecessary amount of money on energy? Would you know if you did? By implementing sensor technology you will get complete insights into how much energy is being used where and at what time. Combined with space occupancy data, you can bring your use of central systems such as HVAC and lighting in line with occupancy and need. If your portfolio consists of several buildings, you can use sensors to identify which buildings are the most energy-efficient and implement the same measures on those with higher energy consumption.

Read more on how to increase energy efficiency in your buildings here.

 

Equipment Status

By fitting your equipment with smart sensors, you will get real-time insight into their health and status. Sensors can be placed on equipment to monitor heat signatures, establishing baseline performance and indicating when it is drifting beyond accepted norms. If a piece of equipment is acting irregularly, you can schedule maintenance of the equipment accordingly to prevent it from malfunctioning.

There is no need to be on-site to access this data, as smart sensors enable remote monitoring of your buildings. You are now able to access insights into all of your buildings at any time from any place.

These are just a few of the ways you can use IoT sensors in your buildings. The best part is that you don’t have to replace or shut down your existing equipment in order to implement IoT sensors. Digitally retrofitting your building is a cost-efficient way to bring your building into the 21st century and enable remote monitoring and predictive maintenance.

 

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Ole Petter Novsett

Ole Petter Novsett

Ole Petter is the Sales Director for the Nordics at Disruptive Technologies. He holds a Master’s Degree in Economics and Business Administration from the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH). Ole Petter has broad experience in Real Estate Management, with a strong operational background in Property Management and Building Automation. Apart from spreading the word about the world's smallest commercial-grade wireless sensors, Ole Petter’s most meaningful endeavor is being a hands-on dad for his three favorite little people.

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