Sensors for the Building Sector – Summary

The major sensors used in the building sector are temperature sensors, motion detectors, smoke and fire detectors, cameras and gas sensors.


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The major sensors used in the building sector are temperature sensors, motion detectors, smoke and fire detectors, cameras and gas sensors. Smart power meters, advanced gas, heat and water meters are rapidly growing in importance. Electric current and voltage sensors are also expected to grow considerably.

The demand for sensors in the building sector is stimulated by energy efficiency requirements as well as by the trend towards safer buildings and buildings with higher automation features. Greener and smarter, but also more comfortable buildings represent guidelines for future building concepts leading to higher sensor market volumes in the coming years.

In heating systems, temperature sensors for outdoor and indoor temperature, heating water and hot water, forward and return flow temperature are further on the rise. Pressure sensors and gas sensors as well as flame monitors and level sensors are growing in importance. Solar thermal and heat pump systems are gaining market shares from conventional heating systems.

Ventilation and air conditioning systems comprise central and decentral air conditioning systems, ventilation systems and cooling systems. These systems, too, require a multitude of temperature sensors, pressure sensors, humidity sensors and gas sensors. Besides carbon dioxide gas sensors, volatile organic carbon (VOC) gas sensors for air quality control are growing rapidly. Clean rooms for semiconductor production, data centers and biotech laboratories are just a few examples of special but highly sophisticated ventilation and air conditioning systems requiring a multitude of pressure, temperature, humidity, gas and particle sensors. Electric current and voltage sensors are used in photovoltaic systems and fuel cell based heating and power generation systems.

Advanced billing meters for electric power, gas, heat and water are also on the rise. These meters are regarded as sensors since they can read out billing data electronically, automatically and remotely. The basic form of these meters are so-called Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) devices whose purpose is to read out the meter data automatically and remotely. They have a one-way communication link. Smart (AMI) meters offer two-way communication capabilities enabling control capability, actuation functions and / or customer access to consumption data. Smart meters offer consumers, suppliers and grid operators a wide range of useful information enabling a wide range of new services.

Building safety systems based on smoke, fire and gas detectors are further on the rise; so are building security systems such as intrusion detection systems (outdoor, fence, window, door) and camera surveillance systems. Other building sectors requiring sensors are automated sanitary systems such as electronic washbasin faucets, electronic towel and soap dispensers, smart toilets and automatic urinals. Sensors for automatic garage door openers and illumination systems are included, too.


Greener, smarter, more convenient and safer buildings will be the trend of the future, stimulating the building sensor market considerably. The advance of wireless sensors will contribute to enhance energy efficiency, building automation as well as building safety and security. Motion detectors in sanitary and security systems, brightness and sunshine sensors in modern illumination systems as well as smart billing meters and smart surveillance cameras with recognition functions are just a few sensors that will be of increasing relevance in future building and metropolitan solutions.


© INTECHNO CONSULTING Dr. Norbert Schroeder, Loerrach (Germany), 2012-2019

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