Facilities Management Companies optimise the use of Intelligent Buildings to make Serious Savings
The Intelligent building as a concept has been around for a long time, and has generally been shorthand for automating different systems such as HVAC and security – to increase the efficiency of a facility. However, in recent years the idea has taken on renewed vigour as technologies are rapidly developing that allow different building systems to speak to each other so that they deliver on their functions more effectively. Such inter-operable systems can share vast amounts of data with each other and modify their behaviour according to set parameters. The potential these technologies unlock for optimising building management is significant, and there is an enormous number ways in which they can provide real benefits to a company that knows how to use them:
- The sharing of occupancy data between HVAC, security and air monitoring systems means that individual employees can enjoy a comfortable and secure work environment outside of ordinary office hours, without the need to wastefully engage all of the facility’s systems.
- The ability to monitor multiple systems such as fire, security and electronic lock systems from one centralised point cuts down on the need to have multiple security personnel continually patrol the building
- Data relating to foot-fall and the ease with which employees can move in and out of the building allows facility managers to refine evacuation procedures
- Sophisticated analytical tools such as fault diagnostics allow facility managers to address potential issues relating to security and building integrity
CSS has had direct involvement in projects that harness these benefits and the savings are significant and ongoing. In a recent project for Zurich Insurance, for example, the intelligent lighting system speaks to the HVAC system and energy savings are carried out based on the occupancy information provided. e.g. if the lighting system detection sensor see’s any of the meeting rooms are not occupied in the late afternoon (the lighting system effectively sends this information through the air conditioning system) and no meeting booked (this info. is taken automatically from the online meeting room booking system), the air conditioning system shuts off early to save energy.
CSS has had direct involvement in many projects that harness these benefits and the savings are significant and ongoing. In a recent project for Zurich Insurance, for example, the intelligent lighting system speaks to the HVAC system and energy savings are carried out based on the occupancy information provided. e.g. if the lights are off in a meeting room in the late afternoon (the lighting system effectively sends this information through the air conditioning system) and no meeting booked (this info. is taken automatically from the online meeting room booking system), the air conditioning system shuts off early to save energy.
What’s driving these developments
Two major impetuses to the development of open, multi-vendor control systems have been the emergence of two broadly adopted standards: LonWorks and BACnet. The former is a common system infrastructure and architecture developed by LonMark International, and its chief objective is to provide a platform which facilitates full, vendor-agnostic inter-operation and data-sharing between systems. This standard has been adopted by hundreds of thousands of systems to date, and it gains more traction by the day.
Equally important has been the adoption of BACnet, a data sharing protocol for networks controlling building automation developed by ASHRAE. A protocol is essentially both a set of rules and a common language through which different devices can communicate with each other. Since its inception in 1995, the protocol has been made a European Standard, an ISO global standard and a national standard in over 30 countries.
One major point of contention with building managers is that such systems are typically not compatible with the older technologies currently in use at their facilities. In effect, this often necessitates a full overhaul of numerous systems to reap the economies of cross-system integration. Naturally businesses often resist the initial outlay and it’s worth working through a detailed cost-benefit analysis to establish the value over the long term.
However, you may be surprised by how much intelligent systems can actually save your business over time, and the only way to find out is to do the research. For example, in the context of the U.S., it’s been found that American firms could save as much as a quarter on their energy costs if they invested in intelligent systems. One case study conducted by Lawrence Buckley National Laboratory found that one American food services company with facilities throughout the country managed to cut down its energy use by 28% by using analytics and intelligent building solutions. These examples don’t even account for potential savings on building security, as well as the less tangible savings, such as lower employee turnover owing to a more hospitable work environment.
CSS: one of Ireland’s most trusted facilities management companies
If you want to find out more about intelligent building systems and how they could contribute to your company’s bottom line, why not get in touch with our experts here at Creative Space Services. We would be glad to offer you advice and guidance informed by a formidable array of high-profile projects in recent years. We pride ourselves in doing exceptional work that leverages all of the
latest developments in office design. Talk through your requirements with us and we can suggest the best approach for your facility – for an efficient and cost effective facilities management service.