How IOT services ensure enhanced thermal efficiency in buildings


No energy transition without energy efficiency

"Efficiency first" - according to the BMWi, energy efficiency is a central pillar of the energy transition and crucial for the timely achievement of energy and climate policy goals. There is an immediate need for action in the building sector. Climate change does not wait for technologies that have yet to be developed. Crucial for the energy transition are existing solutions that immediately support CO2 savings.

For the carbon footprint of an existing building, the entire energy supply must be considered. The decisive factors are electricity consumption, building heating and (electric) mobility. Intelligent building automation solutions are therefore key technologies for the energy transition in the building sector.

Great potential in the heating of properties

Of 21 million heating systems in Germany, at least 12 million conceal enormous potential for energy savings and CO2 reduction. They do not use renewable energies, are outdated and inefficient. Yet in just under ten years' time, households will be emitting around 56 percent fewer greenhouse gases from heating than they do today. It will be essential for achieving this goal to switch to efficient heating technology and the use of renewable energies in existing buildings in a timely manner.

Digitization and networking of sectors

Energy is increasingly being generated from renewable sources - this holds great potential. With the Power-To-Heat Approach, green electricity will provide climate-neutral heat in the future instead of fossil fuels. In this context, a heating system networked with a PV system increases the efficiency level of the property. Supplying the residual energy with green electricity from the local supplier closes the supply gap in order to show a positive climate balance of the building here.


"By 2050, energy consumption is supposed to be reduced by 50 percent, the share of renewable energies in energy consumption is supposed to be increased to 60 percent, and CO2 emissions are supposed to be reduced by 80 to 95 percent." - BMWi


Smart properties that are able to generate sufficient energy for themselves and their surroundings, as well as use it intelligently in the building and neighborhood, will make a significant contribution to the implementation of climate targets. Studies by the Fraunhofer Institute and the International Energy Agency (IEA) confirm that the emerging demand for green electricity for power-to-heat can be met solely through the consistent expansion of domestic energy generation. Accordingly, the smartness of a building has a decisive influence on its carbon footprint, according to the current study "Climate Effects of Digitalization" by the digital association Bitkom. Germany can already achieve 17% of its 2030 climate targets with the help of connected buildings.

For the use of the full potential, it is necessary to consider the individual energy-related fields of action in the building holistically and to network them intelligently. In the CO2-neutral building, building and energy technology is controlled holistically via IoT and software intelligence, which is the digital interface between the components.
The use of smart meters and IoT sensors in the generation, transmission and distribution of electrical energy enables energy flows in the building to be monitored, optimized and targeted. Through networking, the photovoltaic electricity generated in-house can be intelligently used for household electricity and also used to supply heating and cooling systems. If required, the in-house charging station for e-vehicles is also supplied. If not all of the electricity is used, it is stored in stationary form or fed into the local power grid. Energy savings of up to 15% are possible through the use of IoT services alone.

Potential savings for tenants and residents

Recording one's own consumption data is the basis for changing user behavior. If consumers know where and when energy is being consumed, they can take targeted measures to save energy - manually or fully automatically.

Digitalization creates a new data basis that can also be used to offer tenants positive incentives to improve their own consumption. With the help of smart climate dashboards, sustainability performance is visually displayed in the building, neighborhood or app. Residents can measure their consumption against the average consumption of the apartments in the building or neighborhood and playfully contribute to climate protection. Gamification is effectively used as an incentive for conscious action in this way. Overall, the new transparency through digital applications helps to stimulate a social rethink and to sharpen the sense for one's own CO2 footprint.

Smart home offerings today bring the necessary components into homes to actually control heating on site as needed and easily. Studies see a savings potential of 20-40% in this area through the automation of heating. Operation via attractive interfaces and expansion to include new fields of application such as lighting control bring additional benefits as well as convenience.

Easy upgrade to smart heating systems

Landlords and tenants can install the technologies in apartments with little effort and already optimize heating efficiency with a small investment. There is a suitable retrofit option for every heating system. Intelligent thermostats can be easily added to a wide variety of heating systems and enable digital processes to be implemented.

With a well thought-out IoT infrastructure in the building, smart heating controls and other digital components such as motion detectors, door-window contacts and air quality sensors can be optimally integrated. Only the automated interaction of several devices means more comfort and safety with decisively less energy consumption.
By exchanging the intelligent devices, the system learns to think efficiently for itself. In addition, processes in a wide variety of smart living areas are automatically regulated by means of time control, automations and the execution of defined functions and scenarios. In this case, the networked devices react to certain environmental stimuli and trigger actions as a result.

In combination, the measurement data can be used intelligently to increase living comfort and support health factors related to the indoor climate:

  • Networked devices, such as a charging box, are only switched on when the photovoltaic system is producing energy and the house's own consumption can be guaranteed (i.e. no mains supply).
  • If windows are open, digital thermostats automatically regulate the heating in the room down.
  • A central unit ensures that 21° is always maintained in the living areas and 19° in the rooms that are not used much.
  • In case of high heat, the shutter control reacts automatically and regulates the climate by reducing solar radiation.
  • Precedence sensors ensure that the living temperature adapts to the behavior of the occupants.
  • If C02 values, humidity or temperature are too high or too low, a warning message is issued.
  • If-then rules maintain the desired room temperature for each room (individual room control).
  • and much more

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