For investors, property managers, and building operations staff, real estate technology tools can be extremely helpful. One such tool, building automation systems, not only make life easier for commercial property managers and building operations managers but can also reduce overall costs. Here, we dive deeper into building automation systems and give you 5 reasons your property needs one.
- What is a Building Automation System?
- How a BAS Helps Building Operations
- 5 Benefits of a Building Automation System
- A Note About The System’s Complexity
What is a Building Automation System?
A Building Automation System (BAS) is a computerized network of detectors and controls impacting a building’s main systems. Think of it as a sort of centralized control unit for the building. Typically, a BAS will be connected to a building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. However, recent advances in real estate technology mean a BAS can control many other components, such as lighting, elevators, security, or fire safety.
A Building Automation System can range from simple to comprehensive. The system you choose depends on your budget and long-term goals for the building. Property managers and building operations staff often prefer the ease of a BAS. It’s a centralized system, so building operations only has to maintain and access one central computer system. A centralized system allows building operations to check and adjust all the property’s systems from one place. This capability streamlines management and maintenance services.
How a BAS Helps Building Operations
A Building Automation System helps maintain an efficient and well-functioning office environment. A BAS is even more crucial in large facilities, as running costs are much higher for managing the volumes within. For building operations and property managers, a BAS can drastically decrease operations costs and improve maintenance downtimes.
It all boils down to increasing energy efficiency while keeping operating costs low. Note that large facilities are more prone to energy loss. Installing and implementing a simple BAS will control the building climate to specific temperatures during the day and during specific seasons. Additionally, a BAS can provide lighting based on occupancy and can connect to other smart systems within the building. For instance, smart sensors in offices may indicate to the BAS when a person has entered an office, signaling the BAS to turn on lights in that area.
HVAC and lighting are the two big areas where huge energy savings are immediate, thus recuperating overall maintenance costs. Failsafe measures can also be built into the software to monitor system performance and mechanical malfunctions. Building operations managers and even maintenance staff can then be promptly notified through email and/or text if the system detects a problem.
5 Benefits of a Building Automation System
A Building Automation System (BAS) offers the following benefits:
1. Increased Energy Efficiency
Real estate technology is helping buildings the world over decrease energy usage and trend towards green operations. A recent study found that commercial properties account for about 40% of all energy consumption and 70% of all electricity usage worldwide. Most of that energy comes from running HVAC systems.
However, if buildings begin implementing real estate technology such as Building Automation Systems, energy usage would be drastically reduced. Not only is that good news for property owners, property managers, and building operations managers, but it’s also good news for the environment. Creating centralized automated HVAC systems will reduce energy usage automatically based on who is in the building, the weather outside, and other important factors.
2. Lower Operating and Maintenance Costs
Lower energy usage also means lower maintenance and operations costs. By installing a BAS, some estimates found properties can save $0.20 to $0.40 per square foot on energy costs. Over time, that compounds into substantial savings. Other estimates found a 15% savings in energy costs after installing a Building Automation System.
3. Improved Indoor Air Quality
Building Automation Systems aren’t just beneficial to building operations managers, property managers, and owners. Installing a BAS can also improve the air quality in a building. And with COVID-19 still on our minds, air quality is extremely important for many business owners and employees.
Because the BAS often controls the HVAC system, it can sense when the air quality is less than desirable, or when air filters need to be replaced. As many businesses install new HVAC systems designed to combat the spread of Coronavirus, these centralized detection systems become increasingly important.
4. Increased Property Value
Installing a Building Automation System or can also have an impact on your property value. Properties with a BAS and other real estate technology tend to have a greater property value than those with more outdated systems. Therefore, you will be saving money on operations costs month over month, but you will also be increasing your building’s property value thanks to the investment in an automated system.
5. Quicker Response from Building Operations and Facility Maintenance
Many automated systems can be controlled remotely, from a phone or computer. Likewise, these systems can also send out alerts should they detect issues with the building’s systems. Therefore, if there is an issue with the HVAC, security, lighting, or other major systems, the building operations manager and facility maintenance staff will know almost immediately. This could save valuable time addressing the problem, which could save money on costly repairs as well.
A Note About The System’s Complexity
Note that a BAS may be a complex system, especially for those without any prior experience in IT. The key is understanding the simple needs of occupants (i.e. providing the appropriate amount of HVAC and lighting dependent on time and occupancy loads). A skilled system manufacturer or technician will work out the details regarding the network. The building operations manager should have a working knowledge of the system and its capacity within the property.
As trends grow in real estate technology and sustainability, a Building Automation System impacting dramatic change within commercial real estate. While energy costs rise every year and the need for staff productivity remains high, smart building technologies will become more essential in maximizing the performance of existing mechanical equipment and maintaining a comfortable environment.