Smart Building, Smarter Savings: 4 Reasons Building Automation Drives Down Costs
We have smart phones, smart watches, smart TVs, even smart cars. But did you know that buildings can be smart? That’s right, the brick-and-mortar structures where you live, work, and play can be as savvy and intuitive as your go-to tablet. And the best part is, this kind of smart can actually save you money.
What makes a smart building, well…smart, are building automation systems. Today’s smart buildings are outfitted with a cloud-based BAS which controls the entire building’s functionality, including heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), lighting systems, and often water, fire and life safety. Beyond integrating all these separate functions, modern BAS technology is now highly advanced and able to continually collect millions of data points from numerous wireless sensors and meters, according the real estate experts at Jones Lang LaSalle. This sophisticated monitoring system significantly improves a building’s energy efficiency. And when you go green, you save green.
“Smart building technology investments typically pay for themselves within one or two years,” JLL’s Dan Probst said in GreentechMedia.
Savings are not only limited to reduced energy expenses; adopting a smart BAS will also drive down operational and maintenance costs. Overall, smart building technology can generate savings of up to fifteen percent annually following installation, and potentially more over time, Environmental Leader said.
How exactly does building automation systems and smart technology save you cash? Here are four ways smart building brings you smarter savings.
- Precise performance management.Traditional buildings monitor the environment on an extremely limited scale, sometimes with only one system sensor per floor. Now affordable wireless sensors enable buildings to have numerous points of detection that thoroughly and accurately monitor the environment. With more precise and comprehensive reporting, operations can be managed more effectively to optimize a building’s performance. Occupancy sensors can automatically adjust lighting accordingly. Exterior sensors can calibrate internal conditions based on the temperature, humidity, and sunlight outdoors. This precise management of resources can maximize a building’s efficiency.
- System Integration.Unlike traditional buildings where heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting systems etc. operated independently, BAS systems bring all those functionalities under one management hub. And with this integration comes intercommunication. Linking these siloed systems means they can “talk” to one another and work together to enhance a building’s efficiency. Buildings can avoid simultaneously blasting heat and blasting the AC, and other system conflicts which occur in conventional buildings. Integration eliminates such energy-wasting inefficiencies, keeping costs low and savings high.
- Real-time response.As described, smart building automation systems enable comprehensive, constant, and precise management of building performance. As a result, whenever equipment malfunctions, building personnel will be alerted in real-time and the problem can be fixed immediately. Similarly, building managers and others can view up-to-date reports of the building’s energy consumption and prompt occupants to change their behavior. This immediate access to building performance analytics empowers real-time management of energy consumption and costs.
Real-time response also eliminates the standard period of equipment testing and commissioning to save energy. Smart buildings practice “continuous commissioning,” automatically adjusting to optimize the building’s performance, and “eliminating waste much more effectively than a periodic process can match,” JLL said.
- Centralized management. Virtual, remote management from a centralized, cloud-based command center can significantly drive down operational costs. Today’s building automation systems can collect information from hundreds of buildings in real-time and aggregate the information in one location. As a result, less time and less people are required to monitor and manage a buildings performance.