Optimizing energy consumption and building automation

By Dr. Solmaz Rezaei
Head of research and consulting department

Access to energy is one of the most challenging and probably most important issues facing human societies. Cities that account for more than half of the world’s population are responsible for about 70 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, and from this perspective, they are the driving force of the country’s economic engine. Such formations, which consume 60 to 80 percent of the world’s energy production, need a permanent supply of energy resources, mainly from fossil fuels. In such circumstances, the issue of optimizing energy consumption has been of great importance for reasons such as the limited availability of these fuel resources and the harmful ecological effects of the use of fossil fuels, which has caused massive global climate change. Studies show that energy consumption in cities is highest in both transport and construction areas. Meanwhile, the share of energy and greenhouse gas emissions in buildings is more than 40 percent, which in a country like Iran, the value of this energy is over $ 6 billion. Therefore, promoting energy efficiency in this sector is an important indicator in achieving sustainable urban development. According to the IPCC, buildings have the largest capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which exposes the need for revision of construction methods more than ever. According to existing standards, energy consumption in residential units is calculated per square meter and based on that, the energy consumption optimization is measured. According to this categorization, the buildings constructed in our country are in the energy consumption range of 200 to 300 kWh per square meter on average, which is about twice the same climate in European countries. It is obvious that such a difference arises from the failure to observe the principles of productivity in buildings.
Historically, in the 1980s, attention was focused on energy sustainability approaches in urban areas and in particular in buildings, which was based on energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources. from time to time and by emerging scientific perspectives, in addition to the above, the reuse of energy wasted in buildings was also considered by experts. Today’s construction law approach is to achieve energy-efficient buildings. Low-energy buildings, independent buildings, and even plus energy building, which produce energy more than their own energy consumption based on modern construction techniques, are the achievements of meeting the requirements of such laws. In recent decades, energy efficiency regulations in the construction sector have been seriously addressed and are constantly evolving. In the first generation of these criteria, the thermal insulation of the exterior shell of buildings, in the second generation, the use of functional methods for designing the exterior shell according to the overall performance of the building from the heat transfer view, in the third generation, in addition to the previous, the use of free energy and attention to energy recovery and the upgrading of utility systems, in the fourth generation, more attention to energy consumption, the efficiency of heating and cooling systems, lighting and other electrical systems, were at the center of focus. In the fifth generation of these regulations, which is in force in advanced countries, the environmental costs of building materials and the energy required for the recycling of construction waste are also calculated.
Today in intelligent buildings, the accurate and continuous exchange of information between its various departments, including mechanical parts, maintenance management, energy and lighting management, building security, and other sectors, are of particular importance in energy efficiency. The controller system in this type of building consists of several components. In general, information and data are logged in by input devices, and the controller processes and analyzes the data. This section has the ability to control all building components as a single system or individually. Finally, after processing the input information, the commands are sent to the various building components. The system also has the capability to adapt to its conditions and optimize itself. Based on the experience gained, energy consumption in smart buildings is reduced by more than 50% compared to non-intelligent samples. In these buildings, carbon dioxide production is reduced and the indoor temperature of the building is considerably maintained when using cooling and heating systems.
Although intelligent buildings have note globally become universal, but given the continued cost reduction in home automation with a variety of capabilities to optimize energy consumption and increase the welfare of residents, it is anticipated that such homes are considered to be in need of urban living in the near future.