Is your Chicago building still relying on traditional building optimization? If it is, you could be spending more on your energy usage than you really need to spend. This is because modern building optimization provides real-time data and metrics so that you can make adjustments immediately rather than relying on separate inspections of your critical equipment so that you can implement energy-saving ideas.
Traditional Building Optimization
When we talk about traditional building optimization, we are talking about optimization that happens after you’ve noticed increases in your monthly utility bills. Unfortunately, your electric and gas bills don’t break down energy usage by appliance or critical system. Instead, it’s the total amount of watts or therms that you’ve used for the entire month. In order to figure out which critical systems are using too much energy, you have to hire the appropriate contractors, have them perform energy evaluations on your equipment and recommend energy upgrades or money-saving ideas.
For example, you may have heard that heating and cooling energy usage in the average home can amount to more than half its total energy usage, according to Energy Star. From that information, you can assume that the HVAC system in your commercial building uses a lot of energy each month and getting your unit inspected and implementing energy upgrades and energy-saving strategies can dramatically lower your energy usage. If, once you implement those upgrades and strategies, you still are experiencing high energy bills, you might want to have your lighting systems inspected or your air handles and ventilation shafts. This is traditional reactive building optimization.
Modern Building Optimization
Modern building optimization is proactive optimization, and it can help you control your energy-usage automatically without the need for frequent energy assessments on your critical equipment. This is because modern building optimization utilizes the Internet of Things (IoT) and Building Automation Systems (BAS).
The Internet of Things includes any item that is WiFi or Internet connectible and can provide measurable data and/or system information. This can include HVAC systems, lights, alarm systems, cameras, washers, dryers and refrigerators as well as anything else that can be connected to the Internet and monitored or controlled.
BAS systems turn the system information received from the Internet of Things into usable data and displays it in the form of charts, reports and graphs. This information is often delivered in real time, which means you can monitor system performance continuously. The BAS system is able to do this by utilizing sensors and digital controls to manage the connected systems, which can include your building’s HVAC and air handling system, interior and exterior lights, cameras and security system, including doors locks, if your building has electronic door locks.
The computer interface of the BAS system also allows you to set specific parameters, including lighting levels, temperature and humidity levels and when the security system arms and disarms itself. Additional sensors located in high traffic areas can also monitor occupancy levels and movement. When someone passes through an area, the sensor detects the movement and turns on the light if the light is not already on. CO2 sensors can also detect the level of carbon dioxide in the air, which is useful for determining occupancy levels. When the CO2 in the area reaches a certain threshold, the BAS system can activate the HVAC system.
When all of these things are working together, your building runs smoothly and your occupancy comfort is increased, and your electric and gas consumption is reduced. There is also no need to schedule frequent energy assessments. Your BAS system will provide you with all the information you need in order to determine which systems are using the most energy. Once you know which systems are using too much energy, you can immediately take steps to reduce that consumption, whether that is lowering temperature and lighting levels or scheduling energy-saving upgrade estimates.
BAS and IoT with Althoff
Here at Althoff, serving the greater Chicago area, we offer full BAS design, customization and installation services for new and existing buildings that can include precise system controls and real-time data reporting for all your critical systems, including your HVAC and mechanical ventilation systems, lighting, plumbing and security systems.
To learn more about how installing a new BAS system or upgrading your existing BAS system can lower your energy costs and to schedule an appointment, call us at 800-225-2443.