Smart Buildings & Building Automation for Facilities Management Professionals: 5 Steps to Get Started

March 27, 2017

Building automation is a growing trend among businesses looking for ways to reduce overhead costs and increase profit margins. As explained by Navigant, 61% of companies have previously considered purchasing smart building technology. However, only 25% of companies have deployed building automation for facilities management operations. The reasons for avoiding deployment vary, but some simply do not understand how to begin the process. So, use this quick guide for getting started today.

Making the Case for Smart Building Automation

The first step to becoming a “green” company through smart building and automation is gaining C-level support. Consider the major benefits of building automation, which include the following:

  • Lighting and HVAC systems can be scheduled to reflect changes in business hours or customer occupancy. For example, lighting can shut off during the peak of the day, reducing consumption and allowing your business to take full advantage of natural sunlight.
  • It leads to improved coordination between building floors or departments. Some people are cold; others can be hot. These differences result in significant changes between the HVAC settings of areas in your building. To enhance your overall energy consumption, smart building automation eliminates these redundancies by adjusting temperatures to stay at a constant, comfortable level.
  • Preventative maintenance allows for better risk management plans for facilities management professionals. Things will go wrong, but preventative maintenance can cut out the costs of total replacement by keeping equipment in working condition beyond its typical life-expectancy. Moreover, this leads to better risk management plans as you can continue operating while staying vigilant over your equipment, asserts Ed Sullivan of Facilities Net.
  • Automated notifications reduce delays in correcting issues. Another issue facilities managers face is being notified in a timely manner of problems. Building automation leads to notification automation, allowing you to correct issues immediately, making the whole experience better for customers and employees alike.
  • It enhances the security of the building. A final benefit of smart buildings is enhanced physical security. By its connected nature, smart buildings can track who and when someone entered the building, active security cameras and notify authorities in the case of unauthorized entry. Ultimately, smart building automation is like getting energy savings and a security system rolled into one package.

Five Steps for Facilities Management Professionals to Get Started Using Smart Building Solutions

Once you have the backing of C-level executives, you still need start the process. These five steps can guide you through implementation.

1. Review the Available Building Automation and Energy Management Solutions Providers

You need to know who offers what services in your area. Contact vendors, and ask about the costs of a consultation or the onboarding process.

2. Benchmark Your Facilities Management Costs

Gather the utility bills for your last quarter before the review. They provide insight into what your costs have been, but you may also want to gather the utility bills from the corresponding quarter of last year. In other words, the bills for last spring would be needed for a review next month. This allows you to make an accurate estimate of what you non-automated costs have been.

3. Complete a Review with a Potential Smart Building Solutions Company

The review is like a consultation once you contact an EMS provider. An expert in smart building automation will review your building’s facility management objectives and determine what savings are possible in both short-term and long-term outlooks. However, you can complete a review internally if you prefer, but it may take significantly longer than working with an EMS provider.


4. Install or Upgrade Sensors

Upon selecting a provider, the brunt of the work begins. Sensors will need to be installed or upgraded to enable connection to the system. You may also need to upgrade internet bandwidth, butsmart building automation providers can take care of this entire process for you. Essentially, you pick the service level, and technicians and installers handle getting your equipment up to speed.

5. Get Back to Work

The last step is the simplest! You get back to work providing customer support and new products to your customers. Since the process is in the hands of experienced, trained professionals, you can take advantage of the system’s benefits without hiring an in-house team to lead the charge.

What Now?

Time is wasting, and your HVAC system is probably running unchecked right now. Facilities management professionals must not delay and begin working to achieve smart building automation now. It will bring in more savings, increasing your profitability and reduce the amount of work you must do to keep your building functioning properly.


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