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.
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.
Could your office building be described as… average? Maybe it doesn’t have a fountain in the lobby, or a view of the ocean – but you have four solid walls, a non-leaking roof, and only a few drafty cubicles. Have you ever tried to make your building work with an HVAC hack? Maybe you even taped a piece of cardboard over the vent to manage the airflow. That would be pretty clever of you, MacGyver.
So, if your office building is around 10-20 years old, has some wear and tear, but is generally in good shape, you probably have a Class B building. This is good news. Investors tend to target these buildings since, with a few upgrades, they can easily become Class B+ and compete readily with Class A properties. One of those upgrades is making your Class B smart – and it’s probably easier than you think.
Vacancies hurt. They cut into operating costs to maintain. Meanwhile, you're spending on market listings to attract prospective tenants – all without a lease revenue stream. According to JLL Research's U.S. Office Outlook, total vacancy increased for the third consecutive quarter in almost all asset classes.
To save money, cost-conscious tenants are are looking toward older buildings that have been remodeled with tenant improvements in mind. It’s no wonder, then, that renovations to older buildings are on the rise. New generations of tenants prefer modern workspaces with minimal costs, with an emphasis on sustainability and cutting edge technology.
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!