Building Controls, Energy Management and Lighting, Heating and Cooling

How Automated Facilities Management Can Improve Your Profits

Today, facility managers face challenges that can jeopardize profits, including volatile utility and operating costs. With geopolitical uncertainty and unprecedented climate events resulting in energy supply vulnerability and soaring energy prices, companies have increased pressure to make their businesses more resilient. For example, during the Texas Freeze of 2021, electricity prices surged to $9,000 per megawatt-hour, leaving businesses with tremendous utility bills. As such, business owners must consider new and innovative ways to drive down energy consumption, improve sustainable operations, and ultimately help protect their bottom lines.

Costs Savings Can Be Found in Digitalization

A huge cost for businesses is the heating and cooling systems in buildings. In fact, HVAC systems account for approximately 40% of the energy used in commercial buildings. So anything that businesses can do to improve the energy efficiency of HVAC systems can dramatically reduce their total energy costs.

One way to do so is to modernize HVAC equipment by adopting highly efficient hardware and incorporating building controls and intelligence to enable more efficient operations. Businesses can install smart technology systems that help monitor and adjust system setpoints, which can lead to immense energy savings. In fact, since approximately 30% of energy in a building is wasted due to inefficient equipment and operations, digitizing building systems can create a substantial impact.

Issues with Traditional Operational Monitoring

The traditional way of managing a building’s equipment, such as HVAC, refrigeration, and production machinery, requires facility management to conduct periodic preventative maintenance and physically inspect the equipment on-site. If a problem is detected, parts must be ordered, and the technician must return to the site at a later date to fix the problem. This can be a lengthy, costly, and inefficient process, often with system downtime if equipment fails before an out-of-specification condition is identified.

Simply stated, energy-inefficient equipment, deferred maintenance, and aging infrastructure can cause downtime and increased maintenance costs.

New and Improved Remote Monitoring for Facilities

However, an added benefit of smart buildings is that that facility managers can monitor and adjust building operations remotely 24/7, by implementing sensors, building controls, and intelligence. As a result, they have insight into the operational performance, equipment health, and conservation measures of all facilities across their portfolio.

Additionally, cloud-based technology can enable early detection for potential problems and alert facility managers accordingly. Now, facility managers can move away from the traditional model to remote monitoring and a better understanding of current equipment status, which can streamline and optimize maintenance. This also reduces labor costs, an added benefit, as staff don’t have to go on-site to diagnose problems.

Through intelligent problem identification and action recommendations, facility managers can proactively address maintenance issues, and save on costly, unnecessary truck rolls. Plus, the more you maintain your equipment, the more efficiently it will operate. All of these steps will help to make a business more resilient and less susceptible to market fluctuations, such as volatile energy prices.

Finding the Ultimate Solution

Facility managers should look for solutions that include a flexible, open system that combines high-efficiency motors with building controls and intelligence to garner the highest amount of cost savings that will directly impact the bottom line. Connected and flexible systems like these can be implemented for controls within a single building, or integrated with existing building management systems as an overlay to provide portfolio-level visibility and controls in the cloud.

For example, Fifth Third Bank intelligently managed its buildings for optimal sustainability and cost savings using Turntide’s Technology for Sustainable Operations. Over the past few years, Fifth Third Bank set aggressive goals to reduce its energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and water use. The bank also paid particular attention to how it operates its buildings to meet its ambitious goals, taking measures to reduce its energy use through LED lighting, HVAC upgrades, and building controls.

Recognizing that HVAC is the largest source of energy use in buildings, the bank deployed Turntide’s solution at 300+ locations, resulting in savings of more than $500,000 in annual energy costs.

Jessica Morris is Director of Product Marketing, Built Environments at Turntide Technologies, which creates solutions to accelerate electrification and sustainable operations for energy-intensive industries, including buildings.

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