Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD
In the northern hemisphere, October is the middle of Autumn, and when the temperatures really begin to fall. It is normally the time to turn back on the heating in our homes and workplaces after the summer. Our energy usage accelerates even more as we tend to stay at home in colder weather rather than participate in outdoor activities. In cities, where the majority of humanity resides and works, this energy use is multiplied many times.
According to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat),cities are on average responsible for more than 75% of a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), they consume about 75% of global primary energy and emit between 50 and 60% of the world’s total greenhouse gases. That figure increases to around 80% when the indirect emissions generated by urban inhabitants are included. With these figures in mind, one of the best ways to decrease our energy use is to make our cities more sustainable and efficient - and that is the main subject in this month’s magazine.
IoT and Smart Cities is the title of our Special Report in October. Although it sounds like two separate subjects, the IoT is a huge part of enabling smart cities. The theory behind the IoT is that if you can measure a huge number of metrics and keep track of trends, then you can see where efficiencies are possible and plan maintenance and improvements. In practice this includes more efficient energy grids, traffic control, building management and so on, along with easy access to information, which together make up a smart city.
The first piece in the Special Report comes from Analog Devices. In the article, the company’s Salem Gharbi looks at building management systems, and more specifically how they can be implemented using existing infrastructure to provide the communications that link the sensors, which take the host of measurements that the IoT requires for data, with the control systemsthat make the decisions using that data. The benefits of this retrofitting include fast, long-distance operation, and eliminating extra components, such as gateways, that tend to use the energy that IoT implementation is meant to save.
The second article in this month’s Special Report also looks at making buildings more efficient. Here, Matthew Sands of Schneider Electric concentrates more on energy usage and planned maintenance. A condition based predictive maintenance approach that is powered by smart software and IoT sensor technology can help create an overview of a building’s equipment and energy needs. Partial discharge monitoring is one technique that can identify insulation failure in the electrical system in real time, preventing equipment damage and electrical disasters. In the article, Sands goes deeper into what partial discharge monitoring is and how it can be implemented.
European Editor, PSD