Platek Case Study 540x513[2]

Power over Ethernet plays a big role in smart energy management system for historic Toronto high rise

Sept. 16, 2021
Platek Services employed PoE when transforming a historic financial-district building into a luxury hotel and condominium.
Platek Case Study 540x513[2]

By Glenn Buck, Lantronix

By 2030, Canada hopes to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to be 30% below 2005 levels. The country’s buildings represent 11% of its greenhouse gas emissions, making commercial buildings an important sector of improvement. And in the City of Toronto, an ambitious citywide goal is in place to reduce GHG emissions by 80%, compared to 1990 levels, by 2050.

While tremendous progress has been made for improving the environmental quality and energy efficiency of new commercial buildings, retrofitting existing older buildings is difficult, as it often requires significant capital investments. This includes complete replacement of the buildings’ mechanical HVAC systems, windows, lights, insulation and other systems.

In 2006, one of the oldest buildings in Toronto completed its latest transformation to become a luxury hotel and condo residence located in the heart of Toronto’s financial district. After a $100 million transformation of luxury condominiums this modern Renaissance-style building offers more than 600 spacious high-end suites along with private penthouse living areas with amazing views and luxury amenities.

Keeping in mind the city of Toronto’s energy goals, the owners of the building wanted to implement a smart energy management platform to enable tenants and property managers to be able to control energy use and costs. Due to the distance between all the floors, this required building a new fiber-optic backbone connecting all floors in a highly resilient and reliable core network.

To complete the installation, engineering design and project management services company Platek Services, Inc. turned to Lantronix to provide fiber-optic network connectivity solutions with complementary Power over Ethernet (PoE) equipment throughout the building.

The solution

The solution started with a detailed fiber network design of riser pathways and spaces, and network equipment specifications. The network was designed to support both the new smart energy management system but also allowed future growth of other building network systems.

To enable the smart energy management platform, each floor was connected to a fiber-optic backbone extending from each floor all the way to the first-floor server room. Wireless access points were installed on each floor, supporting a redundant wireless mesh network for connecting individual room thermostats integrated into the new energy management system.

Installing new AC electrical on each floor to power the access points was too time-consuming and cost-intensive, and especially difficult in a mixed-use building. However, with PoE switches, each access point was powered by PoE, thus eliminating all AC electrical costs. The switches provided network connectivity and PoE power to the network of access points that wirelessly connected individual tenant HVAC thermostats with occupancy sensors.

How PoE works

Power over Ethernet allows network cables carry DC power. It passes low-voltage power over Ethernet cabling to powered devices, such as wireless access points. This eliminates the need for separate power supplies and outlets.

PoE can reduce time and save costs, and can improve flexibility, safety, and reliability. When it comes to smart buildings, PoE can provide several sectors (including residential and hospitality in this example) the edge they need to stay relevant in an evolving world. Implementing PoE solutions cost approximately the same as traditional projects, and PoE provides more upsides in terms of control. PoE is a significant asset to be added to an existing building when transformation an existing space.

In addition to powering the access points using ordinary Ethernet cabling, the PoE switches also provided the network communications for a new, innovative ASSA Abloy electronic door-locking system for private tenant living areas.

With PoE switches and network interface devices from Lantronix and engineering design services from Platek Services Inc., one of the oldest buildings in the city is now one of the first to successfully deploy and operate a smart energy management platform designed to significantly reduce energy costs both for building management operations and individual tenants.

Glenn Buck is manager of solutions engineering with Lantronix.        

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