IoT utilised to smarten buildings in Scottish Highlands

Smart IoT technology is being used to save costs and reduce the carbon footprint of schools, care homes, leisure centres and council offices as part of a new £400,000 project.


Council buildings in Inverness and more remote areas will benefit from the project

Schools, care homes, leisure centres and council offices are among those being transformed into smart buildings across the Scottish Highlands, as part of a new £400,000 project between Highland Council and North, a UK-based IoT service and solutions provider.

The project will use Scotland’s national IoT network, IoT Scotland, along with smart IoT sensors to collect data and gain insights on remote council buildings including CO2 levels, temperature and humidity, ventilation, electricity consumption and light levels.

Remote buildings

Serving a third of Scotland’s total land area, the council is responsible for a large number of remote buildings which can now be monitored from a centralised point across the IoT network, reducing unnecessary journeys and enabling better use of resources.

North is delivering the project across all Highland Council buildings, with the council able to self-install pre-configured IoT sensors to monitor and gather data on building and room usage. The provider has supplied its data enablement platform which decodes, stores, visualises and shares information from the sensors, providing the council and its partners with a rich set of data, enabling them to better model building use, identify issues and deliver a more comfortable environment whilst controlling costs.

“Applications like this will help reduce our carbon footprint, paving a way for Scotland to meet its green energy low carbon ambitions”

Data from the sensors will be used by the council within its analytics platform to reduce costs and carbon emissions, while improving the environment for young people, elderly care home residents, members of the local community, and council staff.

“We are thrilled to be working with the Highland Council to deliver this innovative IoT solution and to be taking advantage of the IoT Scotland network to provide the required IoT sensor connectivity,” said Alasdair Rettie, group technical director at North.

“The Highland Council smart buildings project will not only offer benefits in terms of cost savings and a more sustainable way of working but will enable the council to provide the public with a better experience while gathering the real time data to maintain a healthy and pleasant environment.”

The council buildings will benefit from having CO2 levels measured which provides an indication of air quality within a building or room. This is particularly relevant amid the current pandemic to ensure that the circulation of stale and fresh air is monitored to combat spreading grounds for viruses such as Covid-19.

“This is a great opportunity for Highland Council to embrace future-proofed Internet of Things (IoT) and data driven technologies”

Populated areas such as classrooms can also be prone to high levels of CO2, which can affect concentration and work levels. The new sensor technology will allow carbon dioxide levels to be regularly monitored and reported, enabling the council to make any changes required to address this.

Additionally, sensors will inform the council on the usage pattern of each building and the rooms within it, enabling a more tailored and accurate remote control over maintenance, such as heating and lighting, to ensure systems are turned off when not in use – increasing efficiency, saving money on utilities and reducing carbon emissions.

Temperature and humidity sensors will allow the council to improve the environment within each building in its estate, increase comfort for users, prevent frost damage during winter, and detect conditions which could cause damp and mould.

“This is a great opportunity for Highland Council to embrace future-proofed Internet of Things (IoT) and data driven technologies, and as we move towards becoming a carbon neutral nation, applications like this will help reduce our carbon footprint, paving a way for Scotland to meet its green energy low carbon ambitions,” added Paul Wheelhouse MSP, and connectivity minister, Scottish Government.

“As a direct result of better connectivity, I’m delighted to see the range of lasting benefits this project will bring to the Highlands and my thanks go to all our partners in making this happen.”