Imagine a device that monitored your building’s systems so closely that it notified your service contractor when there was a problem or even provided the means to fix the problem before anyone inside complained? What if that same device reduced energy usage in your building and saved you thousands of dollars annually?
And what if the device was affordable, even to small- and medium-sized building owners?
While it may sound too good to be true, it’s not.
Building automation systems (BAS), which have been around for years, can do all those things and more. However, many building owners do not use one.
In fact, only 10 percent of buildings in the United States utilize a BAS, according to a 2012 study conducted by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy.
Some reasons for this are perceived high costs, feasibility and a general unawareness of an automation system’s capabilities. In addition, these systems typically are found in larger buildings – greater than 100,000 sq. feet – which account for less than 10 percent of buildings in the U.S.
Owning a BAS doesn’t automatically guarantee success, however, as many owners do not utilize and maintain their systems and end up missing out on improved building performance and energy savings.
Today, building owners - specifically owners of smaller buildings - have access to one of three general technologies to control their heating and cooling systems:
Programmable thermostats – easy to install and lower first cost; provide individual unit control but must be adjusted manually and cannot be integrated with other building systems.
Web-enabled thermostats – much like programmable thermostats with some energy-savings features; focused more on residential systems.
Simplified BAS Solutions – wide range of capabilities include the ability to manage multiple building systems such as heating and cooling, lighting and security; year-round scheduling; energy management solutions.
Considering that heating and cooling systems and lighting consume 60 to 70 percent of the energy used in commercial buildings, utilizing a BAS is arguably a strategic investment for building owners. By utilizing these automation systems in your building, energy usage can be monitored and often reduced, day-to-day operations and management can be made easier, and building performance and system efficiency can be improved.
What’s more, with the growth of wireless technologies, building automation systems have become more affordable than ever. Aside from the cost savings, wireless technology is easier to use, it reduces the need to add wiring to your building and the disruptions that occur while doing this in existing buildings, and provides future flexibility to make chnges to the system as your building needs change.
Small- and medium-sized building owners today have a variety of options available to them to monitor and control their building systems, and with technological advancements those options are more affordable. Carefully weigh these options when choosing a system, and consider contacting a heating and cooling expert during the process.
For more information about building automation systems or to determine what system is right for your building, please email Jonathon Goering by clicking here or call 316-265-9655.
Knipp Services works with commercial and industrial building owners to identify building solutions that can reduce downtime and increase the efficiency of their building. We provide services that enable building owners to have a high performance building.