Today’s building management systems are becoming more intelligent and powerful through billions of connected internet of things devices and many building owners are deploying these solutions to reduce labor and energy cost to improve their ROI and differentiate themselves from competitors.
The IoT’s economic impact on factories, retail settings, work sites, offices, and homes could total as much as $6.3 trillion by 2025, according to McKinsey Global. While some of this impact will be from the direct deployment of sensors and hardware in commercial, retail and industrial buildings, IoT will also have a significant effect on building management software, applications, and services. IoT-based solutions are most likely to impact networked lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, security and access control, and electric metering systems inside buildings.
Advantages of deploying IoT-based solutions to building management systems
Most building management systems are expensive and can cost property owners anywhere between $2.5 to $7.00 per square foot to deploy. One of the benefits of IoT-based solutions is that they offer building owners the possibility to recover their investment faster because these solutions can better optimize for energy saving and save labor costs compared with traditional building management systems.
Traditional BMS settings for HVAC, lighting and other systems are determined based on the judgment of facility or building managers, who are less efficient and “context-aware” compared with IoT-based solutions that can automatically optimize settings based on environmental changes.
For example, many office buildings keep their thermostats at preprogrammed settings regardless of the amount of sunlight coming in from windows or whether occupants are using the space or not. The wasted energy from these systems can costs owners unnecessary utility and maintenance costs. IoT solutions are capable of gathering data and input using sensors to measure variables like occupancy rate, outside temperature, air quality, and external light sources to achieve an optimal building environment for occupants while also saving building owners costs.
Ease of adding IoT solutions to existing building management systems
Based on the data, it’s clear that the proliferation of IoT devices is likely to make some building systems obsolete however it’s also not practical to expect building owners to sink their existing investments in BMS from both an operational or financial perspective to re-install entirely new systems. For this reason, there are many low-cost IoT solutions in the marketplace today that are designed to be installed on top of existing BMS infrastructure.
By adding low-cost sensors to existing lighting systems or using cloud-based applications to supplement data and analytics to determine energy use inside of commercial office buildings owners can make their existing BMS more cost-efficient with little or no additional management or labor costs.
For example, the payback on most LED lighting retrofit relamping is approximately six years and smart HVAC solutions less than three years. Some smart building systems can even seamlessly integrate controls of both HVAC and lighting, in a single-pane-of-glass user interface.
A simple equation building owners can use to determine payback on smart building installations is given below.
Things to consider when deploying IoT solutions in your building management systems
- Define your business goals for achieving ROI and find the most cost-effective solution. Is it reducing energy consumption, decreasing energy costs, increasing sustainability or decreased carbon emissions?
- Determine what information do you need to monitor to achieve this goal– this can be things like temperature, lighting, water, elevator use and consumption.
- Work with your facility managers to determine which systems will be upgraded in the near future to incorporate IoT solutions into the building’s pre-planned upgrades and maintenance plans.
- Engage an experienced technology services vendor to lay out the architecture of the system
- Implement a standards-based IP network that can deliver results with the best performance, reliability and interoperability to support partner systems.
- Interconnected sensors and software equipment can raise cybersecurity concerns. Make sure you have a plan to ensure that procedures such as hardware encryption, physical building security and network security for data in transit are implemented.