Case Study: Robust Hardware, Application-Focused Software and AI Deliver Energy Savings for Smart Buildings

Smart office buildings have the potential to achieve huge efficiencies that translate into operational cost savings and major reductions in carbon footprint. A good example of this can be found in a building management project that uses Sfera Labs technology and has been undertaken by IntelliSense, a provider of high-level IoT and cloud-based solutions that leverage Microsoft technologies.

by gabi

The office building incorporates a suite of energy efficient and sustainable solutions that include a solar energy system, LED lighting, an air-to-water heat pump, and a grey water system. A sophisticated building management system developed, installed and configured by IntelliSense continuously gathers real-time data from sensors and then uses artificial intelligence (AI) with the objective of optimising processes to achieve ongoing energy use savings.

Green building system that delivers significant energy savings features Sfera Labs technology

Acting on data gathered 24 hours a day, seven days per week in the first two years of operation, it was possible to achieve an average saving of  25% in electricity use without any human intervention. As use patterns and other parameters change, continual analysis and actions are expected to yield additional efficiencies.

Solution Elements

Key system components in the smart building installation include the IntelliSense XSserver.IoT that delivers the data from sensors throughout the building into the cloud. Konsys International’s AVReporter Energy Management Software was another core element that helped IntelliSense build a successful green building solution.

The XSserver.IoT is a hardware and software product designed to address the stringent demands of target use cases. Firstly, the hardware must adhere to recognised industry standards for electromagnetic compatibility, electrical safety and emissions. Secondly, to mitigate any integration difficulties, the gateway must support multiple comms protocols – for the green building design this included Ethernet and RS485. Finally, in line with IntelliSense’s solutions, the product selected must be capable of supporting the Microsoft developer environment.

To address these requirements IntelliSense worked with Sfera labs to create a customised version of the Sfera Labs’ Strato Pi Server. This Raspberry Pi-based module offers a range of features aimed at providing safety, security, reliability, continuity and fault tolerance as well as easy integration. As a result, it proved to be an ideal choice for the XSserver.IoT implementation.

Strato Pi Raspberry Pi-based industrial server

Sfera Labs’ Strato Pi Industrial Servers enhance the Raspberry Pi platform with several hardware features to make it suitable for use in professional and industrial applications where reliability and service continuity are key requirements. Strato Pi includes a Raspberry Pi board, offers several connectivity options, among them Ethernet, USB, Wi-Fi, BLE, HDMI, RS 232/485, plus DIN-Rail mount.

The Strato Pi’s configurable hardware watchdog, which executes a hardware reset in the case of software issues, is a valuable safety feature, while an opto-isolator protects against voltage transients and electro-static discharges. Inclusion of a Microchip ATECC608A secure element chip means that data encryption and decryption plus device authentication can all be managed, mitigating threats posed by hackers. Secure boot functionality prevents security breaches through unauthorised software upgrades.

The KONsys International AVReporter Energy Management Software used in this application was developed specifically to help operators reduce the costs of smart factory and smart building applications by detecting areas of high energy consumption. This platform can deliver real-time actionable data, complex analytics and powerful reports, while AI capabilities allow areas for energy efficiency gains to be identified and implemented autonomously.

Solution to implement data collection with AI and cloud connectivity for the smart building application

Commenting on the smart building project, Attila Baracskai, Software Development Director, KONsys said: “A critical aspect of the success of this project was the selection, combination and integration of hardware and software elements with specific strengths and features that closely matched the demanding application needs and challenges. Sfera Labs’, Strato Pi technology allowed us to have complete confidence in the hardware portion of our XSserver.IoT and to focus our efforts on other requirements of this complex project. Meanwhile, by leveraging the functionality and AI capabilities of the AVReporter Energy Management Software, important and ongoing gains in overall building energy use were possible without the need for significant human resource.”

Sfera Labs

Related Articles

Leave a Comment