Building automation for energy efficient, sustainable, and friendly buildings

Building automation for energy efficient, sustainable, and friendly buildings
Henri Berthe , EcoBuilding VP Middle-East & Africa chez Schneider Electric

The smart building is here. Discover the latest in building automation and management system innovation that make your buildings more energy efficient, sustainable, and occupant friendly.

From design, through integration to commissioning, EcoStruxure™ Building brings best-in-class engineering efficiency to your building. Combined with their asset and energy performance services, to enable a lifetime efficiency of your building ensuring productivity and comfort for occupants.

Energy costs are constantly growing, affecting buildings of all types or sizes, everywhere. You need innovative solutions to reduce energy costs, improve efficiency, meet sustainability goals and boost building value while keeping a productive and comfortable environment for occupants.

Here is an interview with Henri Berthe, EcoBuilding VP Middle-East & Africa chez Schneider Electric on modern building automation technologies for African friendly buildings.

What are the new technologies with regards to building automation?

Urbanisation can unlock economic growth if leveraged effectively, and Schneider Electric believes that smart cities are the only way to deliver on this potential. But without smart buildings, we cannot have smart cities. To make smart cities a reality, we must design building management systems that are flexible, and can adapt as needs evolve.

Schneider Electric is helping to make this a reality through our EcoStruxure Building solution. EcoStruxure Building features the latest technology in building automation, including an open, end-to-end IP architecture that enables quick connectivity of IoT devices so that solutions can be deployed faster. EcoStruxure Building also facilitates collaboration between building systems and third-party systems and devices, making the platform open, scalable and “future proof”.

EcoStruxure Building also features the ability to deliver advanced analytics and condition-based maintenance across multiple sites to resolve up to 80 per cent of building issues remotely, which decreases downtimes and enables greater maintenance efficiency. This can decrease unscheduled maintenance deployments by as much as 29 per cent, while reducing energy costs and service complaints by building occupants.

EcoStruxure Building is like a microscope that funnels information down to a single point, enabling more efficient operations so that equipment runs as originally designed. And when equipment runs at peak efficiency, energy use drops and frees up an organization’s resources for other projects.

 How have they been received in Africa?

Much like the mobile phone revolution, African countries have a unique opportunity to leap-frog their international peers. For Schneider Electric, Africa is more relevant than ever for our ambitions to be the undisputed leader in Smart Cities development. Our technology provides the foundation on which Smart Cities are built – constantly connected, across all cities, industrial centers, and urban functions. We deliver energy and digitize and automate urban centres sustainably.

We have recently announced in our annual Innovation Summit Paris the next generation of EcoStruxure Building, which will be the industry’s first Open Innovation Platform of Buildings. What this means is that users of the platform can enhance and adapt the system to address future challenges. This system will allow users to monitor and interact with different functions of the building, which includes tracking energy usage, overseeing access control and instruction detection, as well accessing fire system data in the Cloud.

Building automation in Africa is still at a very nascent phase of growth, but we look forward to deploying our EcoStruxure Building technologies throughout the more than 40 markets across the continent in which we operate.

What are the factors to consider when selecting building automation?

High performance buildings start with understanding how each unique building functions and operates, and the needs of those who will occupy that space. Of course, the primary consideration here is to deliver a comfortable, high-performance environment while ensuring maximum energy efficiency.

Globally, power consumption will increase by 60 per cent in the next 20 years, and close to 60 per cent of that electricity is used in buildings. Efficiency here is key. And as policymakers, industry players and nonprofit organizations become increasingly committed to mitigating the effects of climate change, energy efficiency in our built environments is essential.

Sometimes, it can be easy to forget that buildings are complex systems, and there are different needs in each country with multiple standards and regulations across municipalities. This is especially true in disparate markets across Africa. The key differentiator here for Schneider Electric is that we understand the subtle complexities in each market and optimize our solutions accordingly. With the right approach and design, along with the right data, these solutions can increase energy efficiency from 15 to 30 per cent.

What are the steps to consider with regards to building automation installation?

Delivering quality, efficiency and comfort is not possible if a building’s services are not functional. When installing a building management system – and especially when retrofitting – it’s key to ensure there is no disruption to operations. It is important to select and install a system that utilizes wireless controllers and monitors, bypassing potential downtime.

These systems are not only more cost-effective and energy efficient; they do not require overhauling or gutting any existing wiring. These components also make a building management system more scalable and adaptable to future needs. It is a simple process to add new nodes, sensors, actuators and controllers to existing deployments, so you can start small and expand as requirements evolve.



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