Advanced Workplace Sensors - The Smart Building Sweet Spot!

Category: Corporate

Advanced Workplace Sensors

Advanced workplace sensors, which are available now, are an evolutional requirement in commercial office spaces. The need to serve the triple bottom line, social and environmental outcomes for corporate entities, property management funds and tenants has never been more important.  

The installation of advanced workplace sensor constellations will serve multiple masters of intelligent buildings - controlling lighting, measurement of environmental metrics and wirelessly transmitting the collected data to sophisticated cloud analytics platforms, to optimise sub-optimal assets and outcomes.  

The wireless capability removes significant wiring requirements and obviates the need for electrical distribution boards, packed with control equipment for various services. It also equates to a significant reduction in cabling and labour requirements and simplifies the installation of not only the lighting control but the HVAC related thermostats with capabilities that exceed typically installed solutions.  

Advanced Workplace Sensors provide a level of sensing and control granularity in commercial office environments, which have been out of reach from both a capital expenditure perspective, as well as capabilities outlook.  

Control and collection of multiple data points and aggregation of this data via a wireless mesh to cloud services in high bandwidth, low latency and secure solution is the key to the success of systems such as this.  

Adding to this are the capabilities of advanced workplace sensor constellations is the ability of real-time tracking, using Bluetooth beacons (access fobs and cards as examples), which provides a real-time and detailed snapshot for security and safe evacuation procedures during emergencies. Additionally, the ability to review historical data to determine movement pathways for better planning and reconfiguration for space optimisation and well-being.  


Beware Bandwidth Limited Solutions 

Some of the systems are designed to only be a lighting control solution and a result of this is a requirement for less bandwidth and an anchor in the past, without freedom to participate in the future smart building ecosystem. 

 These limited, early design choices, limit future capability in these systems and the consequence of bandwidth limitations impact, latency significantly in large scale implementations.  

That is, those systems cannot scale to the necessary data aggregation and control update periods across eight or more environmentally measured metrics and also control lighting simultaneously.  

These systems were never designed for the volume of data and control. They are obsolete before this ‘new normal’ hits wide-scale adoption proliferates.  

SAL Commercial understands these restrictions, and this is why we have partnered with SenseAgent to deliver smart building solutions, that do not suffer limitations of bandwidth-limited lighting control-only solutions. SAL Commercial and SenseAgent provide a full spectrum of environmental, utilisation and lighting control capabilities.  

These Advanced Workplace Sensor solutions provide for applications with dense environmental monitoring and back to basic lighting control, plus everything in-between.  


What can Advanced Workplace Sensors do? 

The SAL Commercial and SenseAgent solutions collect data and control for – 

  • Climate –
  • Indoor air quality
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • CO2
  • TVOC*
  • Sound pressure
  • Space utilisation
  • Space optimisation
  • Occupancy energy optimisation
  • Asset tracking
  • Lighting control

The environment data collection also ensures that compliance reporting for standards such as the WELL Building Standard, which requires annual reporting for rating maintenance, are met and delivered in moments, rather than imposing an ongoing burden of manual measurement and collation.  Some Advanced Workplace Sensors, such as SenseAgent’s – Euclid, are installed with a sensor per luminaire, thereby, creating a range of commercial luminaires – Powered by SenseAgent. SAL Commercial is officially a lighting partner for SenseAgent in Australia and New Zealand and provides such a range of Powered by SenseAgent solutions.  

Our luminaire embedded sensor solutions are supplemented with additional Advanced Workplace Sensors throughout the space, which provides all of the capabilities of the embedded luminaire sensors, with the added environmental measurements and control. 

The quantity of the environmental sensors a site requires is subject to the granularity of the data and measurement desired on each project, floor, tenant or space. The greater the density, the more in-depth the data captured, the better tuned the facility can be to minimise energy consumption, based on actual usage, not imagined or forecast operation.  

As with most things, balancing desired outcomes with financial considerations is needed to find the sweet spot. 

In addition, the environmental sensors can control groups of DALI dimmable luminaires, such as downlights and troffers in groups of up to eight. For example, attending to daylight harvesting of commercial downlights and the perimeter of a facility is performed by these sensors, whilst simultaneously acting as an environmental measurement tool, across multiple metrics.  


DALI 2 opens the door to Smarter Buildings too

From a lighting perspective, the new DALI2 standards and built-in bus power supply make these implementations far less expensive and easier than ever before and thus, creating intra-luminaire DALI systems, controlled wirelessly from Advanced Workplace Sensors.  

It is no secret in today’s climate that the dollar value of one percent saving in energy is dwarfed by the economic benefits an increase by one percent in productivity provides. There is also evidence of deliverables such as employee happiness and health and enhanced engagement in spaces with superior, indoor air quality, in addition to the access of services and subscribed to making the workplace environment aligned with the human agenda, not just a energy saving outcome. 

With the new NCC Section J6 requirements, mandating that no more than 4.5w per m² for commercial office tenancies, coupled with manufacturing/product efficiency improvements being squeezed to save minor energy savings from a maturing LED technology, finding energy savings in commercial spaces will now rely more and more on data analytics.  


Evaluate energy savings from – always on? 

In years gone by, evaluating the energy to be saved by installing a lighting control system, the general assumption in the calculation was that the light source was typically being burned 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No matter how unrealistic this was, it was often the only reliable way to demonstrate what a lighting control system could manage by adding simple scheduling and occupancy sensing.  

In the present day, using Advanced Workplace Sensors in dense constellations and digital ceilings, the granularity of measurements for simple things like occupancy data, now assists facility managers to control and drive the energy efficiency of the assets they maintain, with the impact of immediate measurability.  

As an example, commercial lighting for offices lit to > 200lux is mandated to 4.5w per m², a 50% reduction from the previous requirements and HVAC is likewise mandated to 34w per metre with similar efficiency squeezes. This means that the amount of energy able to be saved from the latest technology and efficient design and componentry is being tightened. 


Unlock more energy savings 

The unlocking of greater energy savings for smart buildings is to provide the now reduced available energy to areas in which it is most needed. This is not a ground-breaking concept; however, it is unachievable without Advanced Workplace Sensor constellations installed. It is impossible to fine tune a buildings energy footprint based on occupancy and to analyse the outcome trends, rapidly and constantly at scale. 

With granular occupancy data as one example, this becomes, not only a straightforward exercise, yet also a necessity to enable the most energy-efficient operation from the facility.  

A building only has so much power and deciding where that should be directed appropriately can now by dynamically driven by granular occupancy data, which measures energy consumption and savings beyond levels previously achievable.  

Coupling these outcomes with multiple environmental metrics to drive wellness, a sophisticated cloud analytics and visualisation platform, which is offered by SAL Commercial in Powered by SenseAgent luminaires for five years with no additional SaaS charges, provides the tenant, facility managers and property owners a smart building that is prepared for the energy and human challenges of the future.