Giving Old Commercial Buildings Updated Touches
Don’t be fooled. Facility and building owners commonly believe older buildings can’t handle newer equipment. They believe modernizing older structures with smart building systems and management tools involves too much of a financial investment and not enough return on investment (ROI).
But cloud computing and affordable technologies like real-time data and analytics software, submetering, and wireless sensors have changed the financial equation. Today, smart buildings offer lower operating costs than older systems.
According to the McGraw Hill Construction SmartMarket Report, modern-operating buildings use 20% to 40% less energy. They also result in 8% to 9% lower operating costs. While return on ROI fluctuates widely among each building, all building types, including nearly every historic building, can benefit from smart operations and systems.
Intelligent, automated, or smart buildings differ, but these terms generally refer to a structure with at least some vital systems, potentially like life safety, telecommunications, security, HVAC. High performing buildings are controlled by computers, which make them programmable. Today’s technologies make it possible to improve building performance and energy in all types of facilities.
Consider these common places to start when looking for upgrading:
1. Smart elevators: Upgraded elevators make travel faster and more pleasant for the occupants and use less energy while doing it. They also give technicians real-time statistics and more control to prevent breakdowns.
2. Smart lighting: Intelligent lighting systems can result in substantial energy savings, with automated controls, plug upgrades, occupancy sensors, and statistical readouts of performance.
3. Demand control ventilation (DCV): A DCV installation can reduce electricity, gas, and steam consumption considerably. It also helps improve occupant comfort. Some intelligent DCV systems can be used with newer and older HVAC systems.
4. Advanced security systems: Smart security systems provide high-level capabilities, including visual recognition and data analytics.
5. Energy efficiency and production: Smart buildings operated in combination with a municipal smart grid can return excess energy and respond to new services emerging from the growth of smart grids.