An intelligent building control system gathers real-time data from the environment and uses it to make adjustments to the building’s systems, such as the HVAC and lighting, based on whatever parameters the user sets. One of the main benefits of this type of automated system optimization is how it may dramatically boost energy efficiency, so commercial buildings that use controls will typically experience lower operational costs while being more comfortable and secure.
Why “smart” controls make fiscal sense
Investing in "smart" lighting, access, and HVAC system controls has proven to yield positive ROI for commercial building owners and facility managers in Seattle who are struggling with rising energy costs.
Intelligent controls also help prevent emergency outages and expensive downtime by making it easier to note troublesome trends and predict equipment failures.
Finally, “smart” building controls and building automation increase the property's resale value because buyers realize the energy- and money-saving value of the technology.
Using intelligent control systems to improve the energy efficiency of commercial buildings begins with three basic elements:
Smart HVAC Systems
The largest energy consumer in your commercial building is probably your HVAC system. Enhancing your understanding of, and control over, that system can provide immediate cost savings. A comprehensive solution that pulls together smart sensors and controls, automation, and data analytics will go even further by improving energy efficiency, ensuring consistent comfort, and enhancing system reliability.
After the HVAC, the lighting system tends to use the most energy in commercial facilities. Without an intelligent control system for managing the process, it’s not easy to reduce how much energy your building’s lighting system consumes. That’s because the only alternative to automated controls is changing tenant behavior, which is not an easy task. On the other hand, a smart lighting system changes the building's behavior, a task that’s far easier and more effective.
Automated door access systems offer a convenient option for facilities with unique security needs and/or users who have special needs. By combining these systems with appropriate cards or badges that are programmed to approve or deny access based on permission, security is enhanced.
Our sister company, Midwest Mechanical (a Service Logic organization based in Chicago), shared this experience involving secure access technology:
“We worked with the University of Chicago to improve accessibility for wheelchair-bound, quadriplegic students by equipping each wheelchair with intelligent badging. These badges communicated with automated door openers to provide or deny access to specific areas of the facility but also:
- Emboldened residents with independence
- Provided easier access to common areas
- Increased security with restricted access to private areas
- Reduced staff time assisting residents with tasks that can be easily automated”
Improving commercial building energy efficiency in Seattle and Puget Sound with intelligent control systems is one important way to reduce operating costs. To learn more, check out our article Controlling HVAC Costs in Q3 of 2017 and get more tips our latest guide below: