If there was a way to reduce energy usage and minimise waste, boost workplace comfort, enhance productivity and efficiency and streamline the entire facilities management function of a building, wouldn’t you be queuing up to discover how you could take advantage? The fact is, there is a way to achieve all of this, and that’s through building automation.
Join us in this post as we explore the workings of a building automation system, what they are and how they work, as well as how they can make processes more streamlined and cost effective, whilst reducing facilities management workloads.
What is building automation?
A building automation system (BAS) is a network designed to connect and automate various functions within a building, or multiple buildings. It’s a system that connects all of the building control systems, from lighting and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) to fire and security systems, wayfinding and space booking, through a single set of controls powered by Internet of Things technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Properties with a building automation system in place are known as smart buildings. Smart buildings are designed to save time and money, enhance working conditions and reduce waste. They use Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors to monitor all sorts of building functions.
These devices and sensors are all interconnected. They produce insightful data that reveals trends and patterns, such as heating or air conditioning being turned up or down in line with climatic changes, and lights being switched on or off at certain times of the day.
This data is fed into a centralised platform where it can be analysed to fuel decision making tasks, and where machine learning and artificial intelligence can use it to create the very automations that have the power to transform everything from facilities management to workplace comfort and energy efficiency.
What are the common types of building automation?
Commercial building automation extends to a whole host of tasks. In actual fact, there is little within a building that cannot be automated.
From indoor air quality management, to lighting, HVAC, water, security and fire alarm systems, and from room and workspace bookings to wayfinding and energy efficiency management, there is so much that can be streamlined courtesy of building automation.
What are the benefits of a building automation system?
Smart building automation presents a huge variety of direct benefits that can be enjoyed by everyone from employers and employees to facilities and building managers and building owners alike.
When you automate repetitive tasks, all of a sudden, a great deal of management time is freed up. Costs come hurtling down. Productivity is given a boost. But those aren’t the only benefits of building automation.
One of the most redeeming benefits of a commercial building automation system is that through machine learning, it can create an optimum working environment.
Workplace comfort is one of the key driving factors for staff retention and talent acquisition. So, if you can create the ultimate workspace in terms of lighting, temperature and indoor air quality, without having to spend time making manual adjustments every time someone reports that they’re ‘too hot’, ‘too cold’, struggling to focus in the light or feeling stuffy or lethargic, all the better.
Now let’s take a closer look at some of the more specific benefits of a building automation system:
The Carbon Trust says that around 20 per cent of the annual energy costs of a business are wasted due to energy inefficient equipment. This type of waste will also contribute to climate change.
In the automated building, IoT sensors identify energy draining appliances, automatically alerting maintenance and servicing teams when the likes of unusual sounds or vibrations are detected. These actions ensure optimum equipment efficiency, so that waste is reduced.
A building automation system also has the power to detect when rooms are unoccupied so that lights and heating or air conditioning can be automatically switched off. It can also alert maintenance teams to when rest rooms or meeting rooms have been used and need attending or restocking, rather than wasting resources dealing with them on a set schedule when they may not need attention.
Better environmental control
Employees quite rightly wish to be comfortable within their workplace. They like to have some degree of control over their immediate environment, and appreciate it if the wider workspace automatically adjusts to changing environment conditions.
Smart lighting is known to contribute to a healthy workspace. Research reveals that automatically changing lighting types throughout the day helps workers to stay focused and more productive.
Temperature, humidity and ventilation are also a major influencer of workplace comfort and employee well-being, making a smart HVAC system that automatically adjusts to suit changing climatic conditions most beneficial.
One of the best things about smart lighting and HVAC systems is that they use machine learning to pick up on user input, making automations more accurate.
Enhanced visitor management
When you streamline your visitor experience, you instantly enhance your reputation. From being able to locate the building in the first place, to finding a parking space and getting to where you need to be within the building, every aspect is an important part of the experience.
Automated visitor management makes everything so much slicker. As soon as a meeting is booked, the attendee receives an invite consisting of a map link, a parking space number and an advance request for security credentials. With everything taken care of in advance, the whole experience on arrival is one to remember for all the right reasons.
With a move towards activity based working and the array of different work zones that come with it, employees and visitors can find it challenging to find where they need to be within a building.
Whether it’s a meeting room, breakout zone, telephone pod, cafeteria, social space, outdoor terrace, gym, locker room, bicycle storage area or rest room that need to be located, wayfinding assistance will always be appreciated. And if that wayfinding assistance can be automated courtesy of screens and apps, then you can free up reception resources too.
Achieving building automation courtesy of Smart Spaces
Smart Spaces is a cloud-based, app-driven platform that makes use of internet-connected sensors and devices to harvest valuable data about the environmental and process management aspects of a workspace. This data then combines with machine learning and artificial intelligence to create intelligent building automations that have the power to transform the way a building is managed and used.
The Smart Spaces app also makes it possible for individuals to control their own personal workspaces, feeding even more insightful data into the mix and improving workspace automations in the process.
To learn more about how Smart Spaces can act as your very own building automation system and deliver you a host of benefits, you are welcome to request a free demo or get in touch.