You know you're about to read about the energy cost savings that can be achieved by implementing predictive technologies, but do you know they can also help to boost your top line revenue and operating margin? Consider the fact that more comfortable employees are more productive. More comfortable shoppers and diners tend to stay longer and spend more. Satisfied hotel guests tend to return and may spend more money at your lobby bar or restaurant.
Commercial tenants and consumers increasingly view LEED-certified / green buildings and sustainable business practices as positive differentiators for which they are willing to pay extra. More productive employees and happier customers are revenue positive. Higher wages, other employee/customer retention initiatives and new investments become more achievable as your margins grow, aided by reduced energy costs.
Building Analytics and Cloud Computing
Building automation systems (BAS) are increasingly incorporating Internet of Things (IoT) technology and cloud computing into the management of workplace configurations and communications. This enables the automation of space management and energy management systems with SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) and EMaaS (Energy-Management-as-a-Service) solutions.
According to Dr. T.C. Tan, building solutions architect for Europe at CommScope, BAS also rely on sensor networks and connection to numerous pieces of equipment and small devices to fully integrate operational tasks and building analytics. 75F offers cloud-based building analytics as SaaS to combine the hundreds of data points our smart building management solution collects every minute into one digital dashboard and mobile app suite. The "Facilisight Control Hub" makes navigation, reporting and control easy and intuitive for facility managers.
The trend of workplace controls, graphics and interfaces becoming as user-friendly as smartphone and tablet apps is also helpful in changing user behavior, according to Dr. Tan.
"Combining sensor networks, IoT, building analytics and visual-dashboard information, users will become increasingly sensitized to the ways their buildings are managing natural resources and providing people clean and healthy air to breathe." - Dr. T.C. Tan
Mobile, Wireless Solutions to Building Automation Systems
By incorporating IoT, the BAS is going mobile. There's a very good chance your building(s) already has a reliable WiFi network. If not, it's not a show stopper because cabling is always a possibility. However, just as is true with the rest of business today, wireless technology greatly increases the efficiency, management and capabilities of your BAS.
Leveraging IoT for building sensors and controls allows facility managers enhanced peace of mind with efficient equipment operation, a comfortable workforce, and mobile monitoring and scheduling. It all equates to fewer hassles and greater productivity.
Proactive, Predictive Technologies in Building Automation: What Can They Do?
- A thermal map of your building(s) can be created to understand how your building responds to exterior radiation, outdoor temperature, weather and occupancy (all of which change throughout each day). The smart BAS can predict thermal loads throughout your building(s) to regulate temperature and humidity (air enthalpy) levels before they spike, which is a huge energy saver. Synchronizing with the local weather feed also optimizes outside air intake to take advantage of "free cooling" for enhanced energy efficiency, indoor air quality and comfort.
- IoT sensors in each zone of your building(s) can collect data that informs a central control unit of building occupancy patterns, equipment performance and energy usage trends. According to the U.S. General Services Administration, the standard office uses only 30% to 50% of its space at any given time between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. each day. Demand Control Ventilation (DCV) is enhanced by occupancy sensors (using CO2 levels in return air). With DCV, your outside air damper only needs to be open when indoor air quality (IAQ) levels demand it. Not having to cool more outside air than necessary in the summer or heat more than necessary in the winter creates energy cost savings all year.
- Photocell sensors for outdoor lighting can sense light levels throughout the day and proactively adjust both indoor and outdoor lighting appropriately, using 0- to 10-volt dimming, which means you don't have to lift a finger if your lighting for each day of the week and holidays has been scheduled. Smart lighting schedules can always be overridden locally and remotely, as necessary.
- Insight into equipment performance can help predict equipment failures and verify service actions. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) studies on predictive maintenance have shown it can reduce maintenance costs up to 30%, eliminate breakdowns 70% to 75% of the time, reduce downtime 35% to 45% and increase production up to 25%. Additionally, facility managers achieve a 10x ROI on predictive maintenance.
- Cloud computing algorithms enable the 75F Dynamic Airflow Balancing, which optimizes supply air, controls room temperature variations and maximizes comfort. Via IoT sensors, the 75F system collects and uploads hundreds of unique data points to secure cloud servers every minute of every day. Machine learning behavioral strengths are noticeable on day one and continue to improve over time, automatically adjusting daily and seasonally.
We have found that direct HVAC and lighting cost savings from 75F smart BAS installations reach 30% to 50%, averaging 35%.
Related savings from this proactive, predictive technology include time and productivity savings for facility managers, longer HVAC equipment life from improved efficiency, health and productivity improvements from better indoor air quality, and reduced absenteeism and presenteeism. Additionally, business revenue is likely to see a boost from happier customers in retail and restaurant environments.