Facility managers need to be able to uncover hidden savings within their buildings to not only offset energy spend, but also make smarter asset investments.
This starts with an intelligent building infrastructure that integrates and enables communication among traditionally disparate systems, such as power, building management, security and IT. Building management systems (BMS) provide facility operators with valuable insight on building performance, status of critical infrastructure and the likelihood of impact on building occupants. But real savings occur when building data is analyzed and turned into actionable intelligence to improve facility performance.
The Impact of Building Analytics
Building managers can only control and optimize the resources they measure. A BMS built on an open architecture lets facility managers use big data and analytics to identify and diagnose energy waste, potentially uncomfortable conditions and maintenance issues. Facility managers can use this information to create intelligent service plans that examine facility issues and rank them by their impact on the organization—factoring in variables such as energy cost as well as comfort and maintenance urgency. Such a plan also allows the facility to leverage the data that the BMS collects and use it in new ways to reduce energy use and overall cost.
For enterprises that operate multiple facilities, an intelligent service plan promises even greater ROI because it enables a broader view of maintenance and equipment performance, allows comparisons to be made among facilities and teams, and breeds best practices. An additional advantage is the tight integration of maintenance with all other facility operations, which gives building owners and managers a single view of their operations. By eliminating the silos of information about a facility and seeing how systems interact on a daily basis, facility managers can make better decisions that take into account all the parameters of building performance and all stakeholders, from owners and operators to tenants and employees.
So how exactly does this work? Building analytics systems send information from the BMS directly to cloud-based data storage, where powerful analytics tools are used to evaluate building performance, identify any equipment and system faults, and pinpoint specific improvement opportunities and recommended actions to reduce energy use and save costs. The system produces customized reports that present specific areas of improvement that are prioritized and ranked based on projected payback and required upfront costs to pinpoint the most impactful projects. Facility managers can then select which projects they wish to take on based on existing budgets and priorities, allowing them to use their budget wisely on opportunities that would most benefit the facility as well as occupant comfort.
Additionally, the expected ROI of energy improvement projects can be calculated directly from the facility’s data, so its implementation can be clearly justified to upper managers, who hold the keys to funding improvement projects. Another benefit is facility differentiation; smart green buildings can be used as a competitive advantage toward achievement of corporate sustainability goals.
Today’s savvy facility executives should take the appropriate measures to connect disparate energy systems, leverage intelligent building analytics capabilities and bring in trusted partners to help guarantee that all opportunities to cut energy consumption are being addressed. The result will be happier tenants and more efficient operations overall.
Brett Wheless is the director of field services for Schneider Electric, West Chester, Ohio. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.