The U.S. Green Building Council cites that buildings consume 70% of the U.S. electricity and account for 39% of U.S. CO2 emissions and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) indicates that commercial buildings waste 30% of the energy they consume. This is a major opportunity for smart buildings' efficiency to save significant energy expenses and reduce environmental impact; yet, that’s just the start of the savings for sustainable offices!
STARTING TODAY, SMART SOLUTIONS CAN CUT ENERGY BY 25%
One of the greatest and most immediate opportunities to reduce property operational costs is in energy reduction, particularly in more efficient management of heating, venting and air conditioning (HVAC) and lighting. In the average commercial building, HVAC and lighting makes up about 50% of energy use; so, the potential of 30-50% energy savings from smart HVAC could translate to 25% of total energy use. That alone is worth the investment, often with payback in less than 3 years, sometimes less than a year. And that’s just the start of savings. smart building technologies can reduce costs and add value to your sustainable office's TI packages and Common Area Maintenance (CAM) Funds, while boosting returns for owners and tenants alike.
But how else can a building automation solution earn or save you money? Here are a few more potential areas for savings!
EFFICIENCY INCENTIVES PAY
GREEN FOR GREEN EFFORTS
Utility-driven rebates, low- or no-rate financing and tax incentives for energy efficient systems help cover costs and reduce payback timing, leading to net gains even sooner. A quick, no-cost site survey and estimated projection of energy savings can help to cost-justify the building automation system investment and define the payback timeframe, from only an energy savings perspective.
LEED CREDITS INCREASE SAVINGS (AND INCREASE PROPERTY VALUE)
The US Green Building Council’s LEED program recognizes Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, with different levels of reward: LEED-certified buildings (40-49 credits), silver (50-59 credits), gold (60-79 credits) and platinum (80+ credits). LEED buildings have faster lease-up rates, may qualify for a host of incentives like tax rebates and zoning allowances, and retain higher property values.
For example, 75F intelligent building solutions can contribute to up to 38 different LEED v4.0 points, up to 11 credits. This provides even further capability for you to demonstrate sustainability and good corporate citizenship, in addition to eligibility for financial incentives, such as tax credits. And, new measurement tools such as USGB’s Arc Score, can help you assess your ongoing building performance benchmarked against others, whether you’re a LEED building or not. The Arc score offers dynamic measures for Energy, Water, Waste, Transportation and Human Experience.
Let Your Equipment Pay Your Sustainable Office Back
EQUIPMENT SAVINGS (CapEx)
The total cost of acquisition (TCA) can be significantly reduced with an energy efficient and easily installed IoT-based building automation solution. Building management systems are historically expensive and overbuilt, prohibiting adoption by the 85% of buildings that don’t have them in place. Though, newer BAS alternatives with low-cost sensors, no specialized programming, and quick/easy setup can reduce the cost and time to implement. Here's how the savings break down:
- Lower-Cost Systems: Affordable sensors and wireless devices are making IoT-based BAS a cost-effective solution for commercial buildings of all sizes, at a fraction of traditional system costs.
- Reduce Installation and Controls Costs: The speed and ease of installation for wireless and intuitive BAS systems can be 80% lower than traditional systems, making for quick retrofits with minimal occupant disruption.
- Require Less HVAC Capacity and Equipment: A building automation system’s overall efficiency can also reduce the number and size of HVAC equipment (such as RTUs) required to meet demands, reducing capital expenditures when new HVAC equipment is needed.
- Extend the Life of Equipment: And a smart building automation system can add years to the lifecycle before needing to upgrade HVAC equipment, stretching your CapEx dollar even further.
- Lower IT Compute Costs: A cloud-based system eliminates the need to buy dedicated servers or workstations and the related maintenance of physical IT compute and forced upgrades over time.
EQUIPMENT SERVICE SAVINGS (OpEx)
Utility and repair/maintenance expenses remain two largest operating expense categories for commercial buildings. An intelligent building automation system can start saving in ongoing operational expenses (OpEx) that make up the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for a building automation system. The O&M Best Practices Guide from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) outlines significant savings opportunities:
- Reduce maintenance costs up to 30%
- Replace parts only when actual performance degradation requires it, vs. a calendar schedule
- Eliminate 70% to 75% of equipment breakdowns
- Reduce equipment downtime 35% to 45%
- Remote monitoring also minimizes the need for expensive truck rolls to start diagnostics, which can run from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on facility and service provider.
It is also useful to consider that, according to the DOE, operations and predictive maintenance can realize the same benefits (energy savings) as equipment retrofits costing approximately 20x more!