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How Building Automation Can Save You Time and Money

Aug 9, 2017 8:44:41 AM

Building automation presentation on time and money savings

A building automation system (BAS) can be capitalized upon in just about any building, including retail stores, restaurants, commercial real estate, industrial buildings and warehouses. Proactive, automated building management is enabled by predictive technologies that provide the capabilities of remote scheduling, monitoring, and control of building equipment and lighting.

"...The building as a whole will perform most efficiently if all the building systems are controlled as a part of an integrated system. ...Well-designed control systems can increase building efficiency up to 30% without the need to upgrade existing appliances." — U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), 2015 Assessment of Energy Technologies and Research Opportunities

The Case for the Building Automation System

Every four years, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) publishes an assessment of energy technologies and research opportunities. In 2015, DOE found that buildings in the U.S. account for about 76% of electricity use and 40% of all primary energy use and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. On average, 35% of energy consumption goes to HVAC, 11% to lighting and 18% to major appliances.

A 2011 DOE study found that, on average, 40% of the energy costs in commercial buildings go to HVAC. Cutting that figure in half would reduce the energy costs of the average commercial building by up to 20%. An integrative BAS may also provide these types of efficiency gains in lighting, refrigeration, boilers, water chillers and major energy consuming appliances.

Increased efficiency means fewer service calls and fewer truck rolls because you have greater ability to monitor equipment functionality and verify service actions first. Better command over zone temperatures and airflow balance means fewer complaints for the facility manager.

75F Heatmap of building floorplan

Now, you're getting closer to the 30% efficiency gains stated possible by DOE, which equates to about $1 per square foot for the average commercial building in the U.S. That energy savings leads to productivity gains and indoor air quality improvements that increase tenant renewals along with employee productivity and health.

Building automation is about more than improving energy and equipment efficiency. In collaborative studies by Harvard, Syracuse and SUNY medical centers, researchers found that doubling ASHRAE minimum ventilation rates with energy efficient HVAC systems can add 8% in productivity gains per person per year. Not accounting for other potential health benefits, that equates to about $6,500 per person in the average U.S. office building.

How much does it cost to double the ventilation rate? From $1 to $10 per person per year with an energy-efficient ventilation system, according to the study. Why wouldn't you?

How Does It Work?

It works much better than the typical "window dressing" updates like new paint, new carpet and new cubicles. While those updates may be necessary, your tenants are demanding more, and facility managers know building automation is coming into real estate management like a tidal wave.

With direct digital control (DDC) and cloud computing, the BAS combines predictive technologies and your customized preferences to proactively manage the dynamics of your building(s). Automating building controls doesn't mean you completely hand over control to a computer. Facility managers have their control abilities enhanced, and occupants of each zone in a building may have greater insight and control over their spaces, if the facility manager wants to provide it.

The image below depicts a heat map overlay of an actual 75F customer's floorplan and zones. The facility manager can see which RTU services which zone(s) and real-time temperature measurement in each zone. Getting more granular, you also have insight into humidity, indoor air quality, light, occupancy, RTU performance, heating and cooling levels, and more.

Facilisight Heat Map of Building floorplan

Wireless sensors throughout the building collect a multitude of indoor and outdoor data points each minute and upload them to the cloud. As the data is aggregated, computer algorithms integrate it to communicate proactive actions for each piece of equipment and system to execute in coordination with the others. When your BAS is coordinated with shift schedules, geographic location and orientation, a local weather feed, and daylight hours, you'll rarely have to lift a finger.

Below, you can see examples of (1) energy savings charts for one 75F customer and (2) scheduled lighting set point possibilities for another via the 75F Facilisight Control Hub

75F Facilisight Screenshot Energy Savings Matrix

Facilisight Lighting Screenshot Lighting Scheduling

Mobile monitoring via laptop, tablet or smartphone saves the time and money of travel, manual system checks and equipment operation verification. The smart BAS can help you verify service actions and identify issues before they arise, which allows for better predictive maintenance. According to the DOE, predictive maintenance can:

  • Reduce maintenance costs up to 30%
  • Eliminate 70% to 75% of equipment breakdowns
  • Reduce equipment downtime 35% to 45%
  • Increase production up to 25%

Machine Learning Makes the Dream Work

Machine learning uses predictive analytics to sculpt a strategy for each new day and each new hour, enabling the BAS to automatically analyze the data model of your building(s), discover new insights and adjust its strategy without requiring computer programming.

  • If you ever need to change a parameter, the BAS self-adjusts.
  • If someone decides a zone is too hot/cold, and they adjust the thermostat on the wall, the BAS self-adjusts.
  • If the weather outside changes from sunny to gloomy, the BAS self-adjusts.
There is no longer just one optimal system setting per season. There are several optimal settings throughout each day, and the BAS is both responsive and proactive with changing conditions. Synchronization with the local weather feed enables the system to save maximum energy when the building isn't occupied and prepare itself for the following day, based on the weather forecast.

Discover more about the applications that make 75F an advancing and growing building automation system (BAS) company:

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