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Markham uses IoT applications to increase energy efficiency

The city expects to achieve payback within three to five years.


September 5, 2019
By Peter Saunders
Peter Saunders
Varley GalleryPhoto courtesy City of Markham.

Earlier this year, the municipal government for Markham, Ont., launched the ‘Smart City Accelerator Research Program,’ which will use Internet of Things (IoT) applications to help improve the energy efficiency of its buildings.

Currently at a pilot program phase, the initiative is using Bell’s Smart City platform and IBM Canada’s data and analytics technology to gain municipal operational insights. Examples will include remote tracking of municipal equipment and installation of leak detection sensors on water mains and hydrants.

“We have dug into energy management in the past, but our partnership with Bell represents a larger, more ambitious effort,” says Graham Seaman, the city’s director of sustainability and asset management, who has executive oversight for the project. “We’ve already done the ‘hard’ retrofits, like LEDs, variable-frequency drives (VFDs), motion sensors and controls. Now is the time for energy analytics.”

Seaman’s team will use data gathered from from metering and submetering systems in city-owned facilities to find the best opportunities to reduce consumption of water, electricity and natural gas. They have conducted site audits for such facilities as Centennial Community Centre & Library, the Varley Art Gallery (pictured) and Cornell Community Centre & Library.

“We will look at ways to tweak operational schedules and replace assets as needed,” he says. “It’s a question of how efficiently we can run each building while still meeting the expectations of its occupants. We expect to achieve a payback within three to five years.”