3/6/2014 9:35 AM
A recent article on FacilitiesNet explored the relationship between making buildings “smarter” and the achievement of energy efficiency and sustainability goals. The article was based on a survey of facility executives conducted by Siemens and Building Operating Management magazine, as well as discussions with experts in the field.
The key findings were not surprising:
But let’s take a look at each of the four points presented above in relationship to Events2HVAC, the event automation software that pulls data from room scheduling software and sends commands to building automation systems to control heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, and electronic door locks based on individual room schedules.
Increased Energy Efficiency
In the FacilitiesNet article linked above, Ronald J. Zimmer, president and CEO of the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) said that advanced smart building strategies can reduce energy use as much as 50 percent compared to unimproved buildings, "with the most efficient buildings performing up to 70 percent better than conventional properties."
The largest implementation of Events2HVAC is saving Minnesota State University Moorhead $1 million in energy expenses per year, according to Physical Plant Manager Jeff Goebel. They are also saving labor expenses due to eliminating time spent entering room schedules in their building automation system, time spent unlocking and locking doors, and time spent cleaning classrooms previously used by students for eating and socialization between classes.
If you are running HVAC or lighting in rooms that are not actively being used, you are wasting energy. Events2HVAC eliminates that waste, automatically, while streamlining scheduling processes.
Lack of Financing
Nearly every facility manager will tell you that securing financing for smart building strategies, energy efficiency, or sustainability is difficult. Either there simply is no money in the budget, or the process for securing funding is so long and tedious that it is nearly impossible to get even the most valuable projects funded.
In the FacilitiesNet article linked above, return on investment (ROI) is mentioned as one way facility managers make the case for smart building and energy efficiency projects. Tom Walsh, chief engineer for Transwestern Commercial Services, is quoted as saying "We prefer ROIs in two to three years."
But the ROI for Events2HVAC is usually six months to one year. In some cases, Events2HVAC has paid for itself in less than six months.
At Appalachian State University, one of the smallest implementations of Events2HVAC, a study proved that the electricity savings from AHU fans alone would pay for Events2HVAC in just five months. This was without considering any other savings due to chiller and steam consumption, reduced labor, and other factors. The university is currently upgrading HVAC systems so that they can control more rooms and buildings automatically with Events2HVAC.
To give facilities managers a powerful way to prove the ROI of Events2HVAC and other financial indicators, we are offering a free 60-day trial of Events2HVAC for up to 50 rooms. Using historical data, managers can track their savings and develop a very strong argument to present to administrators or board members.
Building Automation System as Foundation for Smart Building Strategies
The FacilitiesNet article suggests that one sustainability advantage of using a building automation system is reducing human error. However, if event planners are scheduling rooms in one software, and facility managers are taking those schedules and re-entering them in a building automation system, they are doubling the chance of introducing human error rather than reducing it.
In comparison, Events2HVAC removes the redundant data entry that doubles the chance of human error by pulling data directly from the schedules already entered in the room scheduling software. Events2HVAC queries the room scheduling software periodically, and keeps 24 hours of schedules in a queue for execution at all times.
Before Events2HVAC was implemented at Chapelwood United Methodist Church in Houston, TX, human error once resulted in HVAC running in empty classrooms into mid-July, even though the school had been dismissed for the summer in early June. Office Manager Susan Hall admitted that it was her error, but now that she is using Events2HVAC to link room scheduling to the building automation system, errors like that no longer occur.
Integration of Building Systems
Sixty nine percent of facility managers in the survey discussed in the FacilitiesNet article agreed that system integration is important for meeting energy efficiency and sustainability goals. The article’s author later went on to say that “…integration is vital as the underpinning of a smart building strategy.”
At the Washington State Department of Ecology, becoming an example of environmental responsibility was the motivation behind their Events2HVAC implementation. So they took the integration farther than most Events2HVAC customers. They are using both Events2HVAC and their card access system to control lighting and HVAC in individual rooms. Events2HVAC sends commands when scheduled events occur, while the card access system sends commands to turn on lighting and HVAC if an employee enters a zone that was not scheduled for use.
Events2HVAC is highly flexible and can be integrated with many types of systems. It is compatible with BACnet enabled systems, regardless of the manufacturer. This allows facility managers to pick and choose the best systems for their use without being tied to a specific manufacturer. We also develop custom Events2HVAC interfaces for specific systems as requested by customers.
Whether the focus is on smart buildings, energy efficiency, sustainability, or environmental responsibility, Events2HVAC is the best investment facility managers can make to quickly reduce operating expenses. Please see the Events2HVAC website for more information, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (888) 320-4277 to discuss the needs of your facility or campus.
Founded in 1998, Streamside Solutions provides software products, solutions and services for the building automation industry.
Phone: (888) 320-4277
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