In some cases, the old adage still applies: if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself. But that’s becoming less applicable every day as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and automation are continually refined and added to products and services we use every day.
As a commercial building owner or facility manager in the Carolinas or Virginia, you’re likely already aware of “smart devices” and building automation systems that can be installed to control and optimize a building’s operations and energy usage. What many owners don’t realize, however, is how affordable and user friendly these systems have become.
Let’s define what the system involves, then take a look at two common examples of how it can directly impact your building’s bottom line on a monthly basis.
What is an intelligent building control system?
The purpose behind an intelligent commercial building control system is to gather real-time data related to the internal and external environment and then make strategic adjustments based on programmed settings.
Essentially, these systems consist of a range of sensors that collect basic environmental inputs like air temperature, humidity, and airflow; other inputs come from motion sensors, door and window sensors that record entrances and exits, and a host of other similar devices as required for how a particular building is used.
The data collected by all of these sensors is automatically analyzed by a computer program tied directly into the building’s main mechanical and electrical systems: the lighting, security system, HVAC, etc.
Finally, a human user sets up specific “rules” for the system to follow in order to optimize energy usage and customize the system to the building’s unique situation. For example, if the building is unoccupied from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am every day, the system can be set to ensure all lights are turned off, doors and windows are locked, and the HVAC system maintains a less comfortable temperature during those hours to save energy.
As the system continues collecting data, its machine learning capabilities allow it to further optimize usage based on factors the human user may not even notice. By self-calibrating, the system can respond faster and more effectively to changing circumstances and ensure all building systems are set for optimal performance. Further, the system can offer timely notification of potential problems - be it a burnt out light bulb or a seized blower motor - so the user can quickly and efficiently resolve the issue.
How intelligent building controls save you money
Buildings with integrated automation and smart technology will typically have lower overall operating costs than those without these systems in place. They are more energy efficient, comfortable and secure as well.
Based on the historical evidence, purchasing and installing smart HVAC, lighting, and access systems has proven to be an excellent investment, yielding both the short- and long-term ROI building owners always strive for.
Smart technology not only cuts operating costs and increases system functionality, it also helps prevent costly shutdowns and emergency repairs by predicting equipment failures early on so preventive measures can be taken. Finally, these systems increase the property's resale value and marketability because prospective owners realize the advantage they provide.
Here are two key building systems that can benefit most from integration with intelligent commercial building controls:
Your commercial HVAC system is probably the single largest energy consumer in your facility. Greater control of and insight into your HVAC system provides valuable data and cost savings immediately. When combined with building automation and data analytics, these control systems simultaneously enable more efficient energy usage and greater overall comfort.
Your lighting system is the second largest energy consumer for most commercial buildings. It’s also the most difficult consumption to reduce without intelligent controls because the only other alternative is trying to change tenant behavior: teaching people to turn off lights when they leave a room, or turn off their computers at the end of the day. An intelligent lighting system, on the other hand, changes the building's behavior - a much easier task to accomplish.
From an energy and cost perspective, an intelligent commercial building control system is a worthwhile investment. If you’d like to discuss how soon a system like this can be installed in your commercial building in the Carolinas or Virginia, contact our commercial HVAC company today.