As we discussed in Wednesday’s article, the issue of self-isolating students puts an enormous strain on energy consumption. But it’s important to think about student safety and ensuring that risk of infection spread is monitored and curtailed where necessary to ensure that other students and staff members feel secure and protected in their residence. Irus can help.

There are a number of functions in the Irus system that don’t seem to correlate to the events of 2020 at first glance. But understanding data and the amount of information that Irus gathers changes the perspective, and can lead to a safer environment for everyone in the block. 

The PIR sensors send data to the central portal about the occupancy patterns in each room. From this, Irus reduces energy waste when a room is empty – but it also lets energy managers know who hasn’t left their room for extended periods of time, allowing conclusions to be made regarding how many students in any one block may be self-isolating. 

The remote management capabilities of the system ensure that if you need to handle an issue in a room, you can do so without having to enter, thus reducing your exposure and minimising the risk to staff members. Issues can be handled from the safety of the building’s central control hub – no contact necessary.

Prefect Controls also offer an additional add-on for the Irus system that measures CO2 levels in any given room. This will generate data which, when read correctly, can indicate how many people are in a room, making tracing the source of a potential spread a lot easier and ensuring that necessary measures can be taken to reduce further infection. However, it’s important to note that Irus is not a tracking device. Simply put, the data reports that Irus generates can give an indication of room occupancy, however this is a conclusion drawn from comparison with average data and not a hard-and-fast rule – student privacy rights remain a key factor in our services and are protected throughout.

Irus is a centrally controlled system, accessed via an internet portal. It enables Energy Managers to set temperatures/times for the 3-stage student profile. Setback mode is the default setting (typically 18°C), but if the student requires more heat, they simply tap the ‘up’ button triggering Boost mode (commonly 23°C). Boost runs for a pre-set time (45 minutes) before reverting to Setback. If the student leaves the room during Boost, the PIR detects their absence and reverts to Setback, likewise if windows are opened heat input is reduced by 50%. If rooms are vacant for longer periods (typically 12 hours), Frost mode is activated, maintaining at least 5°C. Irus also monitors humidity, light and decibel levels.

Irus saves money, reduces energy consumption and provides live data about usage throughout the blocks, along with a host of other features. It’s not about whether or not your building can afford it – it’s if it can afford not to have it.