The very nature of building management systems allows owners and their tenants to manage and monitor the electromechanical as well as mechanical functions within a building.  Installation of a building management system means sensors, a network, cloud-based data storage and software.  Building managements systems manage the everyday functions of ventilation, heating, air conditioning, security, safety and surveillance.  But a major advantage to the installation of a BMS or Building Management Systems is its ability to lower energy usage which saves money.

According to Buildings, it cost a minimum of $2.50 per square foot to deploy a traditional BMS system, but can be as high as $7.00 per square foot which is why buildings with over 100,000 square feet are more likely to have BMS, but only account for 10 percent of the commercial real estate in the United States. That’s $250,000 for a 100, 000 square-foot building. It’s an expensive proposition because it needs specialized installation, maintenance and programming. So while capital costs are high; operational expenditures stay low.  It’s often created for the largest of buildings focused on HVAC management, and it can take at least four years to recover the cost of a BMS system.  With such low return on investment (ROI), building owners are unwilling to make the major investment it took to get it off the ground.  

Introducing IoT Solutions for Building Management

At the speed of light, or rather, the speed of technology, the Internet of Things (IoT) has made building management systems more affordable.  Inexpensive sensors and energy-saving networks make up the core of IoT, and keep the costs down. According to Intel, an IoT system, with wireless sensors, cloud analytics and on-premise gateways, can cut installation costs by 30 percent when compared with more traditional building automation and management systems.

Rather than a bulky propriety building management system, building managers can rely upon instrumentation involving actuators and sensors that do not require retrofitting any existing equipment or operations.  Data gathering and analysis are done through a central portal that gives managers tools to increase productivity and energy efficiency, and manage alerts and reporting.

IoT Devices Predicted to Drop

By 2020 traditional building management systems will be replaced by cost-effective methods brought on by inexpensive sensors and cloud analytics.  A few of the ways smart building systems can improve operations and increase efficiency:

  • Triggered by the market, energy costs can guarantee lower costs as it responds to demands and dips in usage.  It is even possible to generate revenue by selling load reductions back.
  • Equipment maintenance is at an all-time optimal efficiency since issues are easily detected before outages can occur.
  • Smart building management systems will run more efficiently as it recognizes patterns of occupancy in relation to energy use.  For example, fewer people working through the night means an automated reduction in the use of energy.
  • Smart windows, a unique smart building device, can instantly darken or lighten depending upon whether it’s a sunny, cloudy or partly cloudy day.   It not only reduces glare but helps reduce HVAC and lighting loads.
  • Pairing smart lighting with an energy-saving building management system reduces energy costs when it can be set to various light levels or switch on and off as needed.  An analysis comparing the impact of HVAC energy use versus solar energy use from smart windows can provide information on which is most useful at specific times of day, darkening the windows or reducing/increasing the lights.

Lastly, but not least, with IoT advancements developing at warp speed, its impact on small to medium-size buildings will be felt regardless of square footage and lower traffic.  Building size will no longer be a factor in converting older buildings to smart building management systems. Whether you plan on implementing a smart building conversion sometime in the future, it doesn’t hurt to conduct an analysis of which components or areas of your building are the biggest energy drains.  Who knows, you might just find that the time to rethink smart building management is right NOW!