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Just as a reminder, HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. It is a system used to alter the ambient conditions within commercial buildings to maximize the comfort of occupants. HVAC systems operate on a simple principle. They pretty much either provide warm air or cold air for a room as needed by the occupants. The most easily relatable part of an HVAC system is a thermostat. A thermostat is a device that monitors the indoor temperature and automatically adjusts your heating or cooling system to maintain the desired level. Thermostats are digital and come in two main forms, programmable and manual thermostats. Programmable thermostats can be preset to maintain certain temperatures or go on standby during given hours of the day, while manual thermostats require constant manual tuning to achieve desired results.
Relationship between HVAC Systems and IAQ
There exist a positive relationship between the HVAC systems of commercial buildings and their indoor air quality (IAQ). The more effective a commercial building’s HVAC is, the better the air quality within the building and it’s immediate surroundings. The relationship can be further explained with temperatures on a hot day.
On a typical hot day, the facilities and offices within a commercial building take in much heat as well. High temperatures in tend cause organic compounds within the commercial building to become volatile. These volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are very dangerous to commercial building occupants, and could lead to long-term respiratory problem. The presence of VOCs within a commercial building already signals that the building’s IAQ has been compromised. If the commercial building has a good and functioning HVAC system, occupants could simply turn on their ventilation units on such hot days to dispel the heat and avoid the potential hazard that comes with it.
What is Real Time IAQ Monitoring?
Real time IAQ monitoring involves leveraging current technological advancements to provide round the clock surveillance of the air quality within and around commercial buildings. With real time IAQ monitoring, commercial buildings can factor in air quality standards below which there will be alerts, prompting corrective actions. There are numerous advantages to be associated with real time IAQ monitoring: Hazard prevention, real time information, data collection, timely corrective actions, etc.
3 WAYS REAL TIME IAQ MONITORING CAN IMPROVE HVAC SYSTEMS
Real time IAQ Monitoring improves HVAC sensors
IAQ sensors represent one of the most important components with which HVAC systems can be improved. For IAQ sensors to be fully utilized in this improvement, an aggregating platform is a must. An aggregating platform here will reference a central point from IAQ sensors can be set to communicate with HVAC sensors, and for the data resulting from the communication to be presented in a way that makes sense to building management. The Internet of Things (IoT) represents such a revolutionary platform. Using an IoT platform, commercial buildings can initiate communications between the IAQ and HVAC sensors within a commercial building, that could not only result in the improvement of the HVAC system, but which could also lead to overall energy efficiency within the commercial building.
The importance of communication between the sensors of the two systems is imperative to improve the functioning of a commercial building’s HVAC system. Traditionally, thermostats are used to either preset or set to desired room temperatures. HVACs when in preset mode basically take into consideration only temperatures in carrying out specific tasks (such as heating, cooling or ventilating). There is however a limitation in that the actions are limited to the fluctuations of only one variable. Through the incorporation of real time IAQ monitoring, which comes with an IoT platform, HVAC systems get to be upgraded to do much more. For example, ventilation could be provided by the HVAC system, not only because of high indoor temperatures, but because the IAQ sensor has sensed the presence of a potentially dangerous gas in the atmosphere. This can only be achieved through effective communication between the sensors of both systems. Having an HVAC system take such autonomous actions could lead to the prevention of health hazards resulting from pollution and other affects to internal air quality.
Enhancement of HVAC actuators
While sensors are responsible for picking up particular conditions (sensing), the actuators within devices with sensors are actually responsible for automated actions. When a sensor senses the presence of a given condition for which it has being programmed, this information is then sent to the actuators, which then initiate predefined corrective actions. The communication between an HVAC systems sensors and the sensors from real time IAQ system could actually go to enhance the automation of HVAC actuators, which get to be applied in more situations, thereby increasing the value of the overall HVAC system.
Real time Observation and Reporting
The “real time” factor in real time IAQ monitoring is in itself a major booster to any system that gets aligned with it. Real time will imply the possibility of knowing at any given time, the exact nature and composition of the quality within a commercial building, down to aggregations and possible projections. Bringing this real time aspect in to HVAC monitoring will get to imply a variety of improvements:
HVAC system monitoring: With real time HVAC monitoring, using sensors, the management of a commercial building will be able to completely monitor the entire system, knowing exactly which parts are faulty, and when to schedule repairs to ensure continuity in system operations.
Forecasting: In monitoring, collecting and aggregating data, commercial building managers will be able to effectively forecast HVAC system needs and make allowances for this needs to avoid system breakdown. Management will also be able to put in place preemptive actions to counter certain outcomes resulting from adverse weather and negative alteration in air quality.
Integration in to Building Management system: Most commercial buildings run a building management systems (BMS). These systems allow them to collect and report information in one place. Bringing in real time monitoring to HVAC systems will allow commercial building management to have powerful reports that in to consideration the impact of HVAC monitoring on the operations of the entire building.
In conclusion, investing in real-time detection and monitoring technology like IoT, will help with IAQ monitoring. This in turn can be used to fine tune and take corrective actions of the HVAC systems. Regular maintenance of HVAC systems that can result in better IAQ can also be achieved using real-time IAQ monitoring. All this will help you achieve your goal of a well-maintained and pollution-free indoor air quality for your building.