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Which Buildings Benefit Most from Smart Building Automation Solutions?

Jul 26, 2018 2:35:12 PM

Which buildings benefit the most from building automation / Smart HVAC?

When considering smart building automation solutions (BAS), people often think their buildings are:

  • Too small
  • Too big
  • Too old 
  • Too new

If this were the case, then no building would ever be qualified to run a smart BAS. The fact is, more that 85% of commercial buildings lack smart building systems. 

But what if building automation could be affordable and easy to install, in as little as just one dayFind out which buildings are set up to benefit the most from building automation solutions, such as smart HVAC systems!


Historically, only large buildings (over 100,000 sf) could afford to install and maintain a building automation solution, leaving the vast majority of commercial buildings without smart sensing and controls. Fortunately for the rest of us, times change and technology advances. Today, the combination of affordable IoT sensors, cloud computing and wireless device communications are accessible and easy to deploy, even for small and medium-sized buildings well under 100,000 sf, so building controls for HVAC and lighting automation can be quickly and easily deployed without specialized programming and other resources.



Office buildings, from tech parks to corporate headquarters, branch offices to co-working spaces, all share a common value: people. Those employees and tenants are the reason office building exists, so the building's performance should be measured on the quality of the occupant experience, including comfort (one of the most common tenant issues for landlords), indoor air quality, productivity and workflow accommodation.

The 3-30-300 rule, made popular by JLL, calls attention to the relative investments made in employees, which is 100x that of energy and 10x that of building costs, on an annual cost-per-square-foot basis. The rule states that organizations spend roughly $3 on utilities, $30 on buildings and $300 on employees.

Because office buildings have a high concentration of people, there is a big opportunity to boost the value of BAS on a per/sf basis. Smart building automation technologies help attract top talent, create a great place to work and deliver personalized zone control in an Occupant AppCheck out Colliers International's "Global Workplace Trends: 5 Shifts Companies Must Make in the Next 5 Years" for more on how IoT connected workspaces are moving toward agile and dynamic (vs. fixed) assets that better cater to the changing workforce and workflows.


Of course, most commercial buildings, from industrial to restaurant, and even public city buildings, can benefit from the energy efficiency and predictive maintenance and other operational savings, as well as improved occupant experiences, of a smart building system.



A smart building automation system can save up to 50% vs typical new controls acquisition and installation costs, due to modern, low-cost sensors, the speed of intuitive and wireless system setup, and cloud computing eliminating the need for onsite IT equipment. And, you can gain sensing and insights around your occupancy, indoor air quality, energy use patterns, equipment performance and more.

Higher efficiency automation controls can reduce the required capacity of HVAC equipment in a new build design. One company was able to reduce the number and capacity of HVAC equipment, saving $150k for a new 115,000 sf office-warehouse property.

Class A building fix


4. AGING CLASS A Buildings

Aging Class A properties need to compete with the sprawling development of new premium Class A buildings and the resulting rise in vacancy in the category.

You already have the premium location and fixtures, though the HVAC and lighting systems may be nearing end-of-life; a smart automation system can help extend the life of this equipment and improve its efficiency, plus provide preventative monitoring capabilities for more efficient property management and controls for tenants too.

One of the greatest values you could add is actually invisible: comfortable temperatures, high indoor air quality, a better occupant experience, plus improved efficiency and management capabilities. With high-demand tenants, you can shift from a measure of your response time to a position where you predict and pre-empt issues, so those issues never even surface in the first place.


Class B building

5. AGING CLASS B Buildings

Aging Class B buildings, while typically well maintained, have great benefits from a smart building solution, which can serve as an investment opportunity and upgrade booster for stronger lease rates.

Whether equipped with aging rooftop units or boilers and heat pumps, retrofit building automation solutions can bring a new level of value to the property to attract or retain tenants with state-of-the-art sensing and controls, comfortable and healthy indoor air, and remote monitoring and maintenance efficiencies.

Class C building 

6. AGING CLASS C Buildings

Class C properties have a lot to gain in energy savings and other benefits from smart sensing and controls automation, which can quickly and easily be installed during renovation, including TI and CAM investments. Remote monitoring provides added insight across properties, including predictive analysis of equipment performance.

Interested in how 75F's automated building control solutions can increase your commercial property value and cut your operating expenses? Download the Smart Buildings Boost Portfolio Value eBook to learn more!



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