Property management is rapidly becoming smart. Smart sensor technology enables the property managers to monitor water consumption, temperature and air quality remotely in real time.

Autumn brings cooler weather, which means that properties will see an increase in heating costs. However, these costs could be significantly reduced by smart measuring and optimising the energy economy of a property.

In many properties, the residents are perplexed about stuffy indoor air, spikes in energy consumption and heating that is turned too high. Maintaining comfortable, steady indoor conditions is no longer possible by mere guesswork.

GreenUp Group Oy developed a service package for properties that want to improve their energy economy. The service utilises smart sensor technology to determine the root cause of problems. This enables the optimisation of the indoor conditions in the property while eliminating unnecessary spikes of consumption.

– Every single property would benefit from real-time monitoring of indoor conditions and consumption. The most significant benefit is definitely the savings in the running and ever-increasing costs of the property,” says Timo Raulamo, CEO of GreenUp.

GreenUp’s operations are based on in-depth expertise in energy and residential comfort and the latest, cost-effective measurement technology. The sensors can transmit data quickly and are almost maintenance-free thanks to Digita’s LoRaWAN network.

– The LoRaWAN network was a natural choice for us from the very start. Digita is a large and stable operator that has demonstrated its expertise many times already. Cooperation with them has been smooth, and they have always provided quick support for occasional coverage challenges,” says Raulamo.

A daycare centre solved its indoor air quality problems with the help of indoor condition sensors

Environmentally friendly choices are becoming increasingly common also in property management. There is a lot of talk about switching to renewable energy sources, but Raulamo recommends that the property’s energy consumption be put in order first. Merely switching the source of energy might not be enough to achieve the desired savings in costs and energy consumption.

According to Raulamo’s experience, the energy consumption of properties that utilise district heating often leaves a lot to be desired. A portion of the price of district heating is usually determined by the highest energy consumption peak of the property.

– In many properties, the problem is that they purchase heat, but no one pays attention to how it is actually used. Housing companies also like to compare how much energy their property uses, but they do not know exactly where it is consumed.

One of GreenUp’s recent customers was a municipal daycare centre that was completed six years ago, but its users constantly complained about stuffy indoor air and draughts. First, indoor condition sensors were placed in the day care centre to collect data on temperature and indoor air quality, among other things. This data was then compared to hourly energy consumption data obtained from energy consumption reports.

– In this property, we managed to halve the basic charge for district heating and reduce energy consumption by almost a third. A major factor was changing the ventilation to only work when necessary. Ventilation is often a huge consumer of energy in a property, says Raulamo.

In his experience, ventilation might consume up to 3–4 times the power than what is actually needed to bring the CO2 levels down. Thanks to the changes made in the daycare centre, the property maintenance organisation also breathed a sign of relief now that they no longer have constantly go and adjust the devices on-site due to complaints.

Smart sensor technology allows remote adjustments.

“Everyone knows someone who is suffering from poor indoor air quality”

Raulamo talks about balanced buildings, i.e. buildings whose energy consumption is known in detail due to precise monitoring, unnecessary consumption spikes have been eliminated and energy is only paid for according to actual consumption.

In his experience, the most common problems in the energy economy of properties are improperly sized ventilation, unnecessary heating and insidious water damage, which cause costly repairs that could easily be prevented by water leak detectors. Attention should also be paid to real-time measurement of the pressure difference between outdoor and indoor air, which is “far too often neglected.”

– Almost every property we have investigated has mechanical ventilation, but almost no one measures the pressure differences between outdoor and indoor air in real time. The problem is that this stresses the exterior wall, thus collecting moisture in the structures of the building, and consequently causes a huge amount of problems with damp. If the pressure difference measurement were carried out properly, the lifespan of the property could even be doubled and the repair deficit accumulated on the property could be reduced, says Raulamo.

Introducing smart technology to property management might seem like a giant technological leap, but even small steps and actions could bring great benefits.

– IoT-technology has greatly reduced the costs of sensors. In the past, installing a sensor required cabling and mains power, whereas modern battery-operated sensors can simply be taped to the wall.

Investing in the well-being of the users of the property is important, since regrettably many people nowadays suffer from poor indoor air quality.

– IoT technology ensures the long life cycle of buildings, brings significant cost savings, improves energy efficiency and reduces emissions, while also ensuring healthy, fresh and oxygen-rich indoor air for users. After all, everyone knows someone who is suffering from poor indoor air quality, concludes Raulamo.

GreenUp is a member of Carbon Exit, which is Finland’s leading renewable energy consortium. The consortium consists of GreenUp, Tom Allen Senera, St1 Lähilämpö, Rototec and Gebwell. Carbon Exit delivers cost-effective renewable energy plants with a lifecycle solution in which the investment in renewable energy pays for itself with the savings achieved, including interest – while being environmentally friendly.

This article was originally published on the website as part of a commercial partnership.