It’s clear by now that smart buildings are the future. By 2050, more than 70 percent of the world’s population is projected to be living in cities, putting energy efficiency into higher demand than ever. The increasing availability of Internet of Things technology makes smart building technology more accessible, with sensors getting smaller and easier to acquire. Additionally, smart building technology solves a host of problems that businesses are constantly struggling with. Building owners, managers, and business tenants want to be more efficient, more streamlined, and to enjoy higher performance in every aspect of operating a facility. This includes heating, lighting, plumbing, HVAC, and all of the other systems that are a fundamental part of day-to-day operations.
Buildings that use smart systems are highly efficient, both in terms of energy and cost. A smart building that tracks occupancy through motion sensors can automatically adjust the heating to account for the changing number of people in the building throughout the day, cooling down rooms that are not occupied, and making automatic adjustments based on patterns of use. Automated heating and cooling technology can save money on wasted energy costs while keeping residents or employees comfortable. All of this happens automatically with no input on your part. The building stays at a predetermined temperature in the parts that are occupied, but no energy is wasted on the rooms that are empty. The same is true of lighting, which you can implement with simple light sensors that don’t need to be networked to the IoT unless you’re collecting light usage data. Efficiency can even be applied to daily maintenance procedures, thanks to smart technology. For instance, sensors can detect how many people use a restroom in a given day. Once the number of total users hits a certain threshold, the system requests a maintenance check. This keeps your maintenance team working efficiently, spending their time maintaining the restroom when it’s likely to be low on necessities such as soap and paper towels. A building that performs maintenance on a usage-based, dynamic schedule inevitably saves time and money on operations compared to using a blind, hourly schedule, which sends maintenance techs to check rooms that may not have even been touched since the last check.
Smart buildings are simpler to maintain and manage on a daily basis, as well as long-term. These systems automatically maintain the air temperature, lighting, air quality and other comfort factors with little to no input after the initial setup. In addition to keeping the building comfortable on a daily basis, hands-off smart systems collect data on system usage and functionality and transmit this data for regular analysis. This ensures that you know when maintenance is required on any of your systems, removing the need to dedicate maintenance staff toward taking parameters and doing maintenance checks manually. The simpler, the better, and building maintenance is no different.
The benefits of operating out of a smart building aren’t just in the simplicity and efficiency; it also allows you to mitigate the risk of problems with the building’s systems. A burst water pipe, for instance, can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your equipment and facilities, and can result in non-productive downtime for workers. With a smart building, avoid such minor catastrophes altogether. Sensors collect data for all of your buildings’ systems on a constant basis and let you know ahead of time when your central air isn’t operating at a constant temperature or your water line has pressure fluctuations and needs maintenance. Knowing about small malfunctions as they come up lets you take care of them immediately so that they don’t become catastrophes.
Implement Smart Technology and Expect ROI
Implementing smart building technology is expensive upfront, and it can be a challenge to implement the necessary devices and infrastructure within an existing building. Businesses that plan to use an already-standing building may not be the best fit for smart building technology, but you shouldn’t rule it out entirely before looking at the cost and the projected ROI. With a smart building, you can effortlessly track energy and water usage with the goal of cutting those numbers. You can automate your maintenance schedule for restrooms and break rooms. You can keep your heating system or your plumbing working reliably and receive alerts when it needs to be maintained, avoiding costly breakdowns altogether. All of these solutions have one thing in common: they cut costs, helping your bottom line and increasing your ROI. Know where your business can improve, and let smart technology make your day-to-day operations simple and efficient. Of course, when you’re designing a smart building, you should be sure that the implementation of smart technology directly addresses problems that you want to solve. Consider working with an IoT consulting team when planning your smart building system automation.