Evolv1, Canada’s first multi-tenant building to earn the Canada Green Building Council Zero Carbon Building – Design certification, is part of a new initiative to track the health and wellness relationship between buildings and people.
Eleven-x Inc., Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Waterloo, York University and Sustainable Waterloo Region are partners in a program in the three-storey, 100,000-square-foot Waterloo, Ont. building.
It involves deploying hundreds of intelligent office-monitoring devices that will bring insight into how interactions between a sustainable office building and its inhabitants produce wellbeing, collaboration and engagement in pro-environmental practices. It will also track how the performance relating to these outcomes can be optimized.
“This is a state-of-the-art building that has a state-of-the-art building management system that collects data already, but the researchers wanted to find more granular measurements,” said eleven-x chief operating officer Ryan Hickey.
What eleven-x does
Eleven-x is a full-service, low-power Internet of Things (IoT) provider and operator which simplifies IoT and facilitates faster, evidence-driven decisions through wireless connectivity and real-time data collection for smart cities, campuses, buildings and industry.
Eleven-x is using LoRaWAN-based connectivity to track, manage and collect data on such things as waste and recycling, water and energy usage, air quality, sound and light levels, and people counts from the sensors deployed throughout the building.
Hickey said some of the sensors have been operational for a few months and the rest will be up and running soon. The battery-powered sensors require no wiring, have minimal installation costs, and a life span of five to 10 years. They range from $50 to about $200 each, and Hickey said they’re comparable in size to a butane lighter, a deck of cards or a bagel, depending on the sensor.
The building data is collected and measured using eleven-x’s secure and reliable wireless networking solution. The data will be used to track and measure the results of the interactions between the evolv1 building and its inhabitants. The next phase of the project, which will start in the fall, will compare information collected from evolv1 to buildings not built to zero carbon standards.
“It’s less about comparing LEED Platinum buildings to non-LEED Platinum buildings, and more about how culture and behaviour affect sustainability,” said Hickey.
The Stantec-designed evolv1 is still working to achieve the Zero Carbon Building – Performance certification and the LEED Platinum certification that developer The Cora Group targeted. The building was completed last year.
While LEED Platinum buildings are built to the highest standards, tenants can further improve their sustainability. Evolv1 tenants have received training and documentation about how their behaviour and activities can affect the building. The sensors also provide more visibility to encourage people to be more proactive and possibly prevent major problems from happening, according to Hickey.
“Once there’s data on this and people are educated, hopefully people will pay a little more attention to what they’re doing so they understand that small changes can make a big difference.”
Other eleven-x projects
Eleven-x is also involved in several other projects.
The company has installed sensors in parking lots in multi-family residential buildings, and municipally and privately owned lots, to try and glean helpful data.
“All of these assets have been allocated based on experience or regulations,” said Hickey. “But with all of the changing trends in transportation and tenant habits, it’s good to stay on top of utilization and that monetization aspect that a landlord might be interested in.”
Eleven-x technology is also being used for leak detection purposes, with sensors placed in and around potential problem areas including washrooms, mechanical rooms, kitchen sinks, dishwashers and washing machines. The sensors will alert building owners and managers when there are leaks. Early detection can potentially help save money and time on maintenance and repairs.