The challenge of ensuring comfort and indoor air quality at the lowest energy cost

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Offices, schools, public buildings, manufacturing plants… the aim of TEM (Engie Solutions) is to guarantee the well-being and comfort of the occupants while keeping energy costs to a minimum.

The temperature felt and the air breathed can have a direct impact on the behaviour of occupants and employees.

Poor air quality can cause health and productivity problems for employees (fatigue, sleepiness, loss of concentration, sick leave, etc.).

Business performance is therefore directly affected.

In addition, discomfort is often associated with excessive energy consumption.

Quality Score campaigns to measure indoor air quality and comfort 

TEM and Energis have been working together for several years on projects aimed at optimising indoor air quality and comfort in office buildings and industrial sites.

This is even more the case since the recent federal law in Belgium regulating CO2 levels in enclosed spaces. In fact, the law requires the employer to take the necessary technical and/or organisational measures to ensure that the CO2 concentration in the workplace is less than 900 ppm.

TEM is a subsidiary of Engie Solutions specialising in the technical maintenance of buildings and industry. TEM looks after around 370 buildings and 265 heating plants in Belgium.

To carry out Quality Score campaigns to measure indoor air quality and comfort, TEM combines the use of Enless Wireless radio sensors and the Energis.Cloud platform to analyse whether thresholds (based on legal requirements) for temperature, humidity and CO2 are properly met. Depending on the situation, campaigns can last from one week to several years.

The temperature, relative humidity and CO2 values are generally read every 15 minutes via Enless Wireless Sigfox ambient transmitters. The periodicity is set when the transmitters are installed via the Sigfox backend and can be easily changed remotely at any time.

The data collected by the Enless probes and transmitted via the Sigfox cloud is then monitored and visualised by the Energis.Cloud software.

Improved responsiveness of technical teams

The Energis.Cloud software alerts the technical teams when a threshold is about to be exceeded (e.g. legal thresholds for CO2 or temperature). When alarm values are detected, the teams take immediate corrective action (change of operating hours, replacement of faulty equipment, etc.).

The audits also show whether the existing installations (heating, air conditioning, ventilation, etc.) are working properly and are optimally configured.

FOUR USE CASES

1. Short-term humidity audit

This campaign was carried out in a tower block where there was a humidity problem. Before deciding how to intervene, an audit was carried out by installing 22 Enless sensors in the basement. The data collected was then analysed on Energis.Cloud and allowed TEM to know exactly what investments to make without overinvesting. In this case, 8 dehumidifiers had to be installed to solve the problem.

2. Comfort campaign

This campaign was carried out for over a year in a courthouse. The audit carried out there highlighted two main problems: excessive energy consumption and discomfort.

TEM measured temperatures using Enless sensors and monitored the data over several months and seasons. The monitoring showed discomfort and over-consumption throughout the year.

During the summer, temperatures were above the threshold most of the time, causing complaints from residents.

In fact, the comfort rating during the hours of occupancy was not satisfactory, with the temperature not meeting the thresholds for half of the time.

On the other hand, during the winter, the indoor temperatures were compared with the outdoor temperatures, which showed that at night the temperature inside the building was 24°, while outside it was 10°.

Needless to say, the energy wasted was considerable. By regulating the heating system based on calendar and occupancy times, direct energy savings could be made without investing in new equipment.

3. Long-term humidity campaign in a printing house to protect stocked raw material


TEM carried out this campaign to ensure that the stock paper was protected from excessive humidity.

In this case, the campaign is a long-term one, with TEM providing long-term maintenance. The site has been equipped with radio transmitters for ambient temperature and humidity. The data collected is monitored in real time on Energis.Cloud, and alarms make it possible to avoid exceeding quality thresholds.

4. Indoor air quality and energy efficiency campaign

At an aerospace plant, TEM carried out another long-term campaign to improve both air quality and the energy efficiency of equipment..

In this specific project, there are 2 main objectives:
Data will be collected from a variety of sensor packages (mainly IoT) and analysed on Energis.Cloud in order to:

  • Optimise the air quality of the working environment by ensuring constant temperature and humidity conditions within defined thresholds.
  • Alerts are generated when thresholds are about to be exceeded.
  • Optimise safety: alerts are generated when fumaroles reach potentially dangerous temperatures.
  • Measure the savings made by recovering energy from fumaroles.
 

We asked Valentin Maerevoet, Energy and Facility Manager at TEM, about the benefits of using the Enless hardware in combination with the Energis.Cloud software: hardware combined with the Energis.Cloud Software:

“Most campaigns in offices are the result of complaints of discomfort from workers. We install Enless probes and then analyse the data on the Energis.Cloud platform to have a clear understanding of the situation.  

Most of the time, the results of the campaigns can reassure occupants: we provide neutral figures, meaningful graphics and a comfort score in relation to legislation. The building manager can then discuss with his staff, based on quantified elements, and find an agreement on the adjustment of the technical installations.

It also happens that major malfunctions are brought to light, for example unsuitable schedules causing the installations to run outside of occupied hours (at night and on weekends) or when this is not necessary (heating in the hot season). We can then, if the installations allow it, correct the adjustments of the installations and thus allow for significant energy gains directly. And if the installations do not allow these adjustments, we can propose solutions and make quantified offers to solve the problem.”

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