Wilcox’s Pier Restaurant, 1931. The first automatic doors in the world debuted between the kitchen and the dining room as a way to prevent servers laden with trays from having to kick the doors open. Ninety years ago, this now-unnoticed bit of technology arguably made Wilcox’s Pier the first “smart” building.
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Today, there is a lot of talk in the commercial building industry about advanced analytics. As new analytics providers offer facilities managers solutions to maintain thermal comfort for all occupants while also keeping their energy consumption reasonable, the fact remains that not all solutions are created equal. If your tenants are complaining about the temperature or their high energy bills or both, consider upgrading to an advanced analytics system.
Health, thermal comfort, and indoor air quality are topics of concern for facilities managers—especially amid extreme weather conditions, pandemics, and emergency situations. Indoor air pollution (IAP), air particulate matter, and extreme hot and cold temperatures can affect the quality of our time spent indoors and even be harmful to our health. As facilities managers, you need to provide solutions for building owners, occupants, and tenants so that the health and comfort of their indoor spaces isn’t one more thing on the list to worry about. That’s why we’ve put together some simple suggestions for how to improve the thermal comfort and air quality of your building.
A pharmaceutical facility is a sensitive environment where you, as a manager or contractor, can simply not afford to let things go wrong. That’s why a comprehensive monitoring solution that spans everything from temperature and equipment functioning to security is critical for success.
Motel 6’s “We’ll leave the light on for you” slogan spoke to the hospitality of the brand, but it could also apply to two main libraries on the University of California at Berkeley campus thanks to their newly installed smart lighting system. The new system gives facility managers the ability to control and automate anything from a single fixture to entire circuits, allowing them to curb energy usage and reduce waste. In the Doe Library, fluorescent lighting shuts off during daylight hours when skylights can provide natural lighting. Using a web interface, Berkeley’s Moffitt Library now regulates lighting according to holidays, exams, and other nuances of the university’s academic year. Facility managers can control lighting on a customizable schedule, using a software scheduling application that is accessible via a web portal and allows overrides for when cleaning crews are on premises.
Building automation has long been seen as the key to solving three problems: improving energy efficiency, reducing operating costs, and improving the occupant experience. Over the past decade, the possibilities of automation have greatly expanded, spurring building owners and facilities managers to invest heavily in automation systems in both new buildings and legacy properties.
Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are critical for teams to track the performance of their commercial building’s operational systems. Gathering and understanding data around areas such as energy efficiency, maintenance, air quality, and security are essential for implementing building operation improvement strategies.
Building management system vs. building automation system—is there a difference?
Even seasoned facilities managers may be surprised to find that building management system (BMS) and building automation system (BAS) are largely used interchangeably. Both terms refer to computer-based control platforms installed within commercial buildings that control and monitor mechanical and electrical equipment, such as HVAC, electric power systems, lighting, ventilation, and other core functions.
Whether you manage all aspects of your facilities or contract out maintenance and integration services, a fluid operation is essential to the success of commercial properties. This means attending to multiple, evolving, and, often, competing priorities—and compromised productivity can quickly have a negative impact.
Today’s commercial buildings account for more than 35 percent of the electricity consumed in the United States. And in most commercial buildings, heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) systems consume more than 30 percent of total energy use.