According to the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), commercial buildings consume 70% of US electricity. The US Department of Energy has also found that commercial buildings waste 30% of the energy they consume. This presents a huge opportunity for Facility Managers to take advantage of smart building efficiency measures to save energy. Seeing as lighting and HVAC accounts for roughly 40-60% of a commercial building's utility costs, it makes sense as a starting point for energy savings.
Your office is brand spankin’ new. It’s got all the bells and whistles. Maybe a robot delivers coffee to your desk every morning – or maybe you just landed a great location and a great architect. You’re proud to have a Class A building. But is there anywhere else to go from here?
So maybe your office building isn’t the greatest. It’s been around for at least 20 years, and it’s starting to show its age. There’s a perpetually-leaky ceiling tile. The pipes make a rattling noise (or, is it something living in the pipes?). Your employees come into work huddled under blankets until the afternoon, when they switch to portable fans.
If this is the case, you probably have a Class C building. If you’re preoccupied with the day-to-day building maintenance and repairs of an aging building, a smart building upgrade may sound like overkill. But Class C buildings actually have the most to gain by becoming smart.
On some days, your employees are coughing and sneezing. On others, they appear to be sluggish and sleepy, experiencing what many have deemed the "2:30 feeling" since the airing of 5-Hour Energy's advertising campaign.
So what can you do about it?
Although a company curfew and extra caffeinated coffee could be the solution for a few, it may not solve the overarching issue. Why? Because many offices suffer from "sick building symptoms," including bad indoor air quality (IAQ). In fact indoor air quality is likely to be 2-5 times worse than outdoor air quality. Given that most of us spend 90% of our time indoors, improving your building’s indoor air quality can significantly affect employee and customer health, comfort and productivity, sometimes increasing cognitive ability by 101%!
So what can you do to improve the indoor air quality in your building?
The smartest commercial thermostat has hit the market. The 75F® Smart Stat™ Zone Controller supports the new WELL building standard with immediate data insights for temperature, humidity, CO2, VOCs, light, sound and occupancy from built-in sensors. Each Smart Stat also has a unique radial touch user interface and includes 75F’s cloud-based wireless building automation platform for HVAC, Indoor Air Quality, lighting and energy management to achieve energy savings in the 30-50% range in commercial buildings.
Traditional building automation systems have been both costly and complex for the majority of commercial building owners and property managers, accounting for the fact that less than 15% of buildings have a BAS. Misconceptions about cost often prevent the adoption of smart and sustainable buildings.
When budgeting for a building automation system, it's important to consider both the capital expense (CapEx) or Total Cost of Acquisition (TCA) - the initial cost for hardware, software and installation/services - as well as the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), which is the ongoing cost to use, upgrade and operate and maintain (O+M) the system.
Newer technologies, like IoT sensors, wireless controls, and cloud computing, are helping lower the cost of building automation systems and making them more affordable and accessible to the majority of buildings that lack smart technology. Still, we know the allocating the upfront capital budget can be a challenge. Luckily, there are a variety of incentive programs on both federal and state levels, plus those from utilities and energy program partners, to make it easier on your wallet to go green.
In this post, we focus on TCA and related incentives that you might be able to leverage to lower your costs to install a smart building automation system. Here, we give you the low-down.