Most facility managers and building engineers are aware of how costly your building’s lighting and HVAC are to operate- a facility’s heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system represents over 15% (on average) of overall electric consumption. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), nearly 30% of that represents loss due to aging, insufficiently maintained, or ineffective equipment.
What Does a Building Automation System (BAS) Do?
An effective building automation system has a user interface that allows for end users to control a building system (ex. HVAC and lighting), view a system status, detect equipment issues, receive alarms, and adjust control settings to optimize your overall usage and reduce costs.
Upgrading your facility’s building automation system (BAS) reduces your overall energy usage and utility bills. By utilizing all your HVAC and internal building equipment in the most efficient and predictive way possible as it ages, you reduce your building’s overall carbon footprint. For example, the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy simulated models to measure the overall impact of a BAS. By simply adjusting the existing automation system setpoints, limiting heating and cooling to occupied periods only, and reducing flow rates through variable-air units, their modeling revealed an approximate overall energy reduction of 21% combined.
The findings identified a common factor- most buildings still rely on dated and unreliable technology without standardization across multiple sites. A well-designed and integrated BAS can predict and control your energy usage utilizing cutting edge methods that are increasingly effective. Measuring and storing data from various devices in a single, easy-to-use interface provides trending that can help bring your building, and your occupants, into a more energy-efficient future.
Monitoring and Managing HVAC: Your Building’s Biggest Electricity Cost
In most buildings throughout the U.S. (and internationally), heating, cooling, and ventilation systems consume the most electricity. Having fast and easy access to historical data helps an end user measure critical trends and look for consistent patterns to help reduce usage and cost over time. Systems that utilize thermographic floor plans provide you with a user-friendly and intuitive way to observe when an occupant or a tenant is consuming more electricity than others. Thermographic data also informs facility managers of real-time changes in temperature and humidity, which is critical in healthcare and many non-profit run facilities like museums, and local tourist attractions. Upgrading the control system introduces visibility and data to inform where and how you can adjust your HVAC usage throughout the year.
Invest in Smart Lighting Control
In 2012, a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration found lighting represented the highest use of electricity in commercial buildings. Today, per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lighting retrofits can save 10-20% in commercial buildings. LEDs and energy-efficient lighting technology can provide great cost savings and energy reduction. A BAS can take the savings from energy-efficient bulbs even further-
How well can a lighting control system cut down on costs? Data from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) estimated that “the use of lighting controls can reduce energy costs by an additional 15 to 80%”. A lighting system can reduce your overall reliance on energy by flexing every available hour of daylight. Data analytics can identify lighting usage after hours, control overall lighting settings, and more.
Observe and Monitor All Usage Through a Single, Integrated Portal
So, your systems may all be connected. But are they integrated? A standardized portal synchronizes all of your systems (HVAC, electrical, security, lighting, fire control) into a single view. By synchronizing and integrating systems, you will eliminate redundancies and unite all of your controls with one user interface.
A BAS can provide you with a single, unified view of your entire building at any given time. Wireless technology and cloud computing have made BAS interfaces more flexible than ever, optimizing your control from a single platform. Integration could also tie into your security, safety, and environmental systems, to establish even more control over your entire network.
Taking Advantage of Energy Management and Green Building Standards
Aging equipment is more expensive to run. Is it worth it to upgrade your aging systems now, or should you let its lifecycle run out? Many local utilities and regulators offer rebates and incentives for equipment upgrades and green/sustainable construction projects. Many of these rebates increase your return on investment or may even offset the cost of the upgrade entirely. It is important to consider a system upgrade by partnering with a local vendor that is familiar with the rebates and incentives that may be available to you.
Customizing a BAS for Your Facility
By investing in a customized BAS, you’re making a strategic business decision that will save you considerable money on your utility bills, improve comfort and air quality, and reduce your facility’s carbon footprint. A well-designed and integrated BAS can predict and control your energy usage utilizing cutting edge methods that are increasingly effective.
By leveraging the knowledge of an industry expert and using predictive technology, your facility could surpass standards set by your local and regional utilities providing you with an immediate return on your investment. Contact Automatic Controls today to schedule a system demo.