Opportunities of Wireless Sensors and Controls for Building Operation

Michael Kintner-Meyer
2005 Energy Engineering  
The rapid maturity of everyday wireless technologies -now widely used for mobile phones, wireless internet access, and even the replacement of barcodes -has had a tremendous impact on our ability to collect information from the physical world. There are tremendous opportunities in using wireless technologies in sensors and controls for building operation, but the market adoption rate of wireless systems in building automation is limited by two factors. First, the cost of the wireless technology
more » ... is still high because of the small production numbers. Second, the issues surrounding adoption of wireless technologies for building controls are not well understood. The key promise of wireless technology in building operation is to reduce the cost of installing data acquisition and control systems. Installation costs typically represent 20% to 80% of the cost of a sensor and control point in an heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system -reducing or eliminating the cost of installation has a dramatic effect on the overall installed system cost. With low-cost wireless sensor and control systems, not only will the cost of system installation be significantly reduced, but it will become economical to use more sensors, thereby establishing highly energy efficient building operations and demand responsiveness that will enhance our electric grid reliability. This paper characterizes commercially available wireless technologies that are already being used in buildings applications or that are suitable for use in commercial buildings. The discussion provides an overview of fundamental concepts of radial broadcasting systems, as well as meshed networks, and will highlight the opportunities and challenges in their integration into existing wired control networks. This paper describes two demonstration projects of wireless sensors and their integration into existing control networks, and discusses their cost per sensor, their ease of installation, and their reliability. The authors will discuss the load control strategies implemented as a consequence of the wireless sensors and report on the energy and cost savings estimates. The paper will conclude with general future prospects for wireless technologies in buildings applications.
doi:10.1080/01998590509509441 fatcat:byksyxf3fnegropgdts6znjkbq