Temperature Control 3000 Miles from Home

The potential of low-cost sensors and platforms that provide big data and predictive analytics and control of existing building equipment is revolutionizing the way buildings are managed.

Temperature Control 3,000 miles from Home

Rober Cooper Receiving Alert from Embue Super App

True story: I recently used Embue Super while drinking a pint at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. And, also true: I prevented a major problem back home.

Our family was on vacation in Ireland and while we were visiting the #1 tourist spot in Dublin, I got a low temperature alert from Embue on my phone. (I've got Embue installed in my house) Somehow we'd left a couple of thermostats in the Off position. Now, we were 3,000 miles away and it was going to be 10F overnight back in Boston. So I used the Embue Super app on my phone to turn the heat on and check the target temperatures. And then got back to my pint.

This same use case is key for our customers as we head into winter.

At Embue, we’re technologists, and while there’s nothing that can be done about the weather, we’re singularly focused on how we can leverage the latest technology to make apartment buildings easier and more cost effective to manage, more resilient, and more comfortable for residents.

Two big game changers for multifamily buildings have been the proliferation of low cost IoT devices and cloud computing. Real-time data gathered by the devices can be analyzed and utilized in many ways to monitor and prevent potential problems and to mitigate issues quickly and more cost-effectively than ever.

So, what does this mean for property owners and managers as they face another winter and how can the latest technology help? For one, it means that the lives of maintenance staff members are more simplified because our platform, Embue Super, gives them alerts and advice when they need it, whether they’re on the property or off premises.

Boilers and HVAC
Maintenance teams work hard, especially in the winter. It’s often difficult for maintenance workers to balance managing things like tenant requests, snow and ice removal and frozen pipes while still adequately maintaining building equipment. Old, unreliable boilers and HVAC systems are unfortunately all too common in apartment buildings. They require constant preventative maintenance, and if that’s not done, they deliver inconsistent heat and hot water, fueling tenant complaints and causing major headaches for the building’s maintenance staff.

A true building intelligence system, that behind the scenes uses sensors that track input and output temperatures, electrical demand, water pressure, levels, and flow, helps staff determine when systems need to be maintained so costly emergency repairs can be avoided and residents get more consistent heat. In addition, networked thermostats in each apartment give staff visibility and advance warning of problems in every space in the building, not just the basement or rooftop.

Frozen pipes
Frozen pipes are probably the biggest unplanned expense for property owners and maintenance staff. Frozen pipes are a challenge for all property owners, and they can be costly due to repair and damage costs. For the most part, checking for frozen pipes is still a manual effort, so property managers check pipes often, which keeps them away from critical maintenance needs in other areas.

Temperature sensors can be utilized to track when pipes are close to freezing so management can intervene to avert disaster, and at the same time, free up resources to focus on other areas.

Air Quality
In the winter, unmanaged, continuous exhaust ventilation and overheating due to poor thermostatic control often lead to low humidity and poor air quality. We’ve measured humidity as low at 10% at our customers. Unlike heating and air conditioning issues, problems with air quality often aren’t discovered immediately and can lead to serious health issues for residents and potential mold issues for buildings. As with any mechanical system, performance depends on the integrity of the units, and broken fan belts and motor problems are common.

Mold and moisture sensors constantly monitor the building environment, and the data can be used to get a better understanding of conditions that may predict issues with key systems that could cause big problems. 

It’s Not Too Late!
The potential of low-cost sensors and platforms that provide big data and predictive analytics and control of existing building equipment is revolutionizing the way buildings are managed. They can provide real value to owners, property managers and residents, especially in the harsh winters.

There are also significant ROI considerations and incentives available that make investment into building automation systems a no-brainer. We’ll explore those in a future blog post. In the meantime, it’s not too late to make a difference this winter. Contact us at Embue today for a building analysis.

And before you ask: No, I'm sorry, you can't get Embue for your single family home. Unless you're an employee. Or an investor.