With recent technological advancements, AI has become increasingly present in our daily lives. The endless applications of AI are visible in almost every industry.
The building construction industry has significant benefits with the use of artificial intelligence. AI in construction can improve energy efficiency, along with bettering indoor air quality. An ideal airflow, humidity, and temperature are maintained indoors with the reduction of energy consumption.
HVAC systems are among the highest energy-consuming loads in buildings. Artificial intelligence can be integrated into HVAC systems, resulting in energy savings. However, the focus of any HVAC energy-saving upgrade should remain on the improvement of indoor air quality. Less than optimal air causes discomfort, health issues and has a decreased impact on productivity.
Below is a brief understanding of how Artificial Intelligence aids various HVAC systems :
- HVAC Controls
To control an HVAC system is a demanding process as building conditions often fluctuate. Any change in the outdoor temperature affects the heating or cooling required to keep a suitable and stable indoor temperature. Similarly, as personnel enter and exit the premises, ventilation and temperature controls are affected once again. The various activities performed indoors also affect the HVAC needs. For example, a restaurant kitchen needs more ventilation and cooling than a front dining area of the same size. An intelligent control system can process this data in real-time, and adjust the HVAC system accordingly. HVAC systems with AI can operate at peak performance with variable building conditions.
- Ventilation Systems
To optimize ventilation systems, the outdoor airflow must be considered. If outdoor airflow increases during the winter months, more heat is required to maintain the appropriate indoor temperature.
Although air handlers consume less energy than space heaters and air conditioners, the heating or cooling needs of a building are determined by its outdoor airflow. Any over-ventilation leads to energy wastage and under-ventilation has detrimental effects on indoor air quality.
The AI-equipped ventilation system can keep a track of the number of occupants and the air pollutants concentration, while also determining the optimal airflow to maintain an ideal habitable environment. The key rule of any effective ventilation system is to never reduce airflow below the minimum value of building codes.
- Space Heating and Air Conditioning
A study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), suggests that human productivity is at a peak with an indoor temperature of 22 degrees Celsius. During the study, it was observed that any increase or decrease in temperature, caused discomfort and lowered productivity.
While extreme temperatures are unlikely, indoor air quality degrades as temperatures diverge from the ideal range. Energy savings can be achieved by simply upgrading old equipment, like chillers, boilers, space heaters, air conditioners, and other HVAC equipment are available with built-in AI.
- Energy Efficiency Measures
The most efficient HVAC upgrades with AI are Airside Economizers and Energy Recovery Ventilation. Airside economizers assist in saving energy, in different climates. When outside air temperature and humidity are within the suitable range, airside economizers increase ventilation and eliminate any need for air conditioning. As ventilation fans use less energy than air conditioners, savings are possible.
With energy recovery ventilation, any wastage for heating or cooling is avoided by optimizing the outdoor airflow. ERV exchanges heat generated between the supply air and exhaust air, further reducing the HVAC workload. By maintaining optimal temperatures with indoor air precooling and preheating, ERVs are used in the summers and winters.
Building certifications such as LEED have high-performance requirements for heating, cooling, and ventilation. Here, artificial intelligence shines by boosting savings and optimizing the HVAC processes through data collection and automation.
To know more about AI in HVAC systems, use the links given below :
Learn about the Lawrence Berkeley study, by using the link below : https://cbe.berkeley.edu/research/impact-ventilation-productivity/