In 1979, Purdue University held a workshop called The Dynamic Response of Environment Control Processes in Buildings. One of the most lively areas of discussions involved how emerging computer technology could curtail energy usage—a topic that was both new and urgent. In the US Department of Energy’s report on the workshop, we find this prescient statement:
Clint Bradford writes about problems encountered and solutions delivered during our smart building project process.
An automatic sprinkler system is an excellent example of a basic building monitoring system in action. When an event (smoke) happens in a building, it triggers an action (a cascade of water). These have been around since the 1870s and have saved a lot of lives. But they aren’t smart; they provide no complex insight, they don’t learn over time, and they don’t refine their functionality in response to new data.
In many ways, buildings have changed very little over the last half-century. HVAC, security, lighting, and other systems in most buildings continue to function separately. This results in reactive rather than predictive or preventive maintenance and limits automation opportunities. Often this creates burdens for building owners. The inefficiency inherent in separated systems not only contributes to higher maintenance costs, but also to energy waste. Building owners should look at how system integration helps them administer their assets though integrating cloud and on-premises apps in built environments.
Part of the job of a building automation system (BAS) involves monitoring and adjusting how a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system reacts to changes in air pressure.
According to the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan, in 2019 commercial buildings were responsible for consuming 18% of all energy used in the United States. And that number is growing; since 1980, the energy used in the commercial sector has nearly doubled. With energy costs rising and environmental concerns becoming more pressing, building owners are increasingly seeking ways to improve efficiency via building automation systems (BASs).
As a leader in architectural engineering, Pennsylvania State University has been at the forefront of sustainable building technology, with the university committed to making its campus more energy efficient while also designing and testing cutting-edge energy appliances and power systems. This primarily happens in two university-owned buildings in the decommissioned Philadelphia Navy Yard. There, researchers test energy systems and experiment with real-world solutions to support sustainable construction.
Anyone who understands IT knows how valuable centralized networks can be. They allow for greater control over systems and help both systems and people collaborate better, opening up new possibilities never before realized.
There are countless ways for commercial property owners to lower their building operating costs. These expenses can include property taxes, insurance premiums, utilities, upkeep of infrastructure like HVAC and other systems, repairs, renovations, or payments to contractors who contribute to the upkeep and operations of the structure. Reducing costs can be achieved through hiring expert tax accountants, renegotiating contracts, passing some of these costs on to tenants, or investing in infrastructure to reduce these expenses.
It’s tempting to compare a fully operational building to a living organism. It’s a common metaphor, and it’s easy to see why. Both have complex structures with myriad components, all working in their own specialized way while simultaneously affecting each other. Communication between these components is vital to the well-being of the organism.
Americans spend a lot of time indoors. How much time? According to the EPA, the average American spends as much as 90 percent of their time inside. And a large percentage of that is spent at work. The challenge for facilities managers is to ensure time spent at work is as healthy as possible.