Does your building need to be a bit more brilliant? Here’s how to boost its brainpower.

In ye olden days, a building was just where employees worked. But for us cool 21st-Century people, buildings become a contributing staff member! That’s right: your site could save your business money and make its day-to-day operations more streamlined and controllable.

Get smart with your facilities. Making this switch can be challenging, but we’ve got you covered. Here are seven practical tips for implementing smart building-automation systems that enhance your site’s efficiency and optimize energy management!

Key takeaways:

  • Smart buildings can provide significant ROI by lowering utility costs
  • They do this by minimizing electrical system use and environmental controls while optimizing their performance
  • Installation costs vary depending on the scope of smart performance investment

Why’s it so clever to get smart?

Today’s smart buildings are real team players, giving occupants unprecedented control over their environment while actively monitoring internal conditions to ensure functionality. This includes your energy budget – stay within desired parameters while prioritizing economical use of the site’s energy resources!

In a smart building, multiple internal systems are combined to operate under a single building management system (BMS). This means you’ll have more effective control over:

  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
  • Onsite cameras
  • Lighting
  • Alarms and other safety and security systems 

Some examples of smart automation

You’ll waste no more energy with lights left on in empty rooms. Smart buildings use occupancy sensors to tell where anyone is; if a room is vacant, it turns the lights out.

No more wasted AC, either. Smart buildings automatically adjust thermostats to maintain the desired temperatures you prefer, and they can also make thermal and airflow adjustments based on a room’s occupancy density.

The data collected by your BMS can effectively gauge energy use throughout your site. These numbers can be used to further refine energy use for even greater efficiency.

In short, smart buildings can:

  • Reduce site operating costs
  • Create a healthier, more secure, more comfortable working environment
  • Lower your environmental impact
  • Make your business more compliant with increasingly strict energy consumption regulations

All these steps could lower your utility bills, boost productivity, improve your public image, and help you avoid fines and other regulatory consequences. Now, here’s how you do it!

Implementing smart building automation

Tip 1: Businesses must educate themselves to understand the technology. Sensors and analytic software are the backbone of every BMS. These vital components allow sites to measure factors like temperature, humidity, and airflow, then study data to make control decisions.

Tip 2: Automatic doesn’t mean BMS fly solo all the time. They also need controls and user interfaces throughout the site so occupants can make their own adjustments. Relays and actuators must be linked up to carry those signals to the parts which do the work like HVAC systems, lights, cameras, etc.

Tip 3: This may require some environmental controls upgrades or a degree of retrofitting for older buildings. Only engage experienced, trustworthy electrical contractors when discussing smart building upgrades. It’s too easy for unscrupulous contractors to take advantage of businesses and charge them for unnecessary work.

Tip 4: Don’t forget staff training! Your team must understand smart upgrades. Being able to use them and recognize when things aren’t operating correctly are keys to successful BMS performance.

Without input, a malfunctioning or underperforming BMS can keep chugging away and wasting money. Get regular staff feedback to gauge if upgrades are performing as expected.

The cost to invest in smart building automation

Tip 5: Know your budget! Does it allow the scale of smart automation you’d like, or is scaling down (or waiting) necessary? While it’s impossible to offer a quote without first assessing the site, square footage is a big cost factor, as is the degree of work required to help your electrical systems support additions.

Older systems will likely require more expensive smart automation upgrades than modern buildings with more up-to-date wiring. Varying levels of automation also dictate cost. A business that only wants automated HVAC and lights will pay less than one looking to upgrade HVAC, lights, and alarms. 

Tip 6: Don’t panic or be put off; there are cost upsides:

  • The ROI with smart building automation is excellent even if it may take longer to realize for some businesses 
  • Smart automation is increasingly popular, driving market competition and making installation increasingly affordable 
  • Your local or state authorities may offer grants, rebates, or tax incentives that could offset smart installation costs and deliver ROI even quicker!

The Office of State and Community Energy Programs is a great place to start to discover what savings may be available in your area for energy-saving upgrades. If you’re in Florida like us, check out these resources to generate greater energy efficiency.

The big tip to stay smart

Automating your building’s processes doesn’t mean you can press “start” once a BMS is fitted and never check it again. Perhaps the most important tip of all is that smart buildings require regular checks, tests, and maintenance to gauge sitewide performance for all integrated systems. This keeps things running smoothly and helps minimize ongoing repair and replacement costs.

Contact the bright sparks at UES

Lower utilities, greater efficiency, less frequent repairs, and happier employees? It’s all possible with smart building automation done right. The UES team has decades of experience in helping South Florida businesses with power needs. Contact us for a free quote!