According to Fortune Business Insights™, the global smart building market is expected to grow to $109.5 billion USD by 2026, thanks in large part to the increasing adoption of the latest building management system (BMS) technologies. The commercial real estate marketplace has undergone disruptive changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic and building owners are currently looking for new ways to attract tenants. Since many corporate employees are currently working out of their homes, many building owners are seizing the opportunity to launch major renovations and modernizations to their buildings.
We at T.M. Bier & Associates ̶ a New York City area-based Schneider Electric Master-level BMS EcoXpert, with over 40 years’ experience specializing in the design, installation, and integration of HVAC, lighting, security, and building automation systems ̶ are often asked to consult with building owners on the best ways to convert their existing buildings into smart buildings.
Although the building types that we support across the New York / New Jersey metropolitan area are quite diverse in size and scope, most of our customers are focused on two principal areas of improvement: a higher degree of tenant comfort, safety, and convenience, and an ability to significantly reduce energy costs.
Smart buildings are built on integrated systems
In contrast to building automation systems of 10 years ago, which often operated as a system of separate silos, building owners are looking for core systems that work together. For instance, when a tenant walks into their office, they envision door locks recognizing their face, their lights automatically turning upon entry, and the in-room temperature-controlled and pre-set to their comfort level. If the tenant happens to leave their office, the room adapts to that situation. The lights turn off, the temperature control runs in a more energy-efficient mode, and blinds are adjusted automatically to better control the light and heat coming in from the sun. Today all of this is possible…and at an affordable cost.
The new generation of millennials who are now dominating the workforce care about the environment and want a more technology-driven experience when they go to work. Eye and facial recognition systems for security, for example, and elevator destination dispatch, where groups of people heading to the same destinations use the same elevators to reduce waiting and travel time, are innovations that occupants expect to enjoy.
How automation experts add value to smart buildings
When building owners look to deploy next generation smart buildings, they want to combine security systems with their BMS, elevator system, and cameras. They want to integrate these technologies into a converged network that enables them to control workplace management down to the finest detail.
We help our clients to achieve such smart building modernization goals in three ways:
- Site assessment – When clients ask us to perform a site assessment, we first evaluate their existing infrastructure. We appraise the site from a mechanical and network perspective and identify the weak points that need updating. We look at the existing BMS to see if it needs to be replaced or at least modernized. One of the points we emphasize is the democratization of control. For instance, fiber loops, using service panels, can be configured in a way that allows individual floors to tie into the BMS system. That opens the door to a much more granular level of room control. Occupants benefit because they can play a more direct role in controlling their own comfort, safety, and energy consumption levels.
- Incentive facilitation – Financial incentives, available through the local power utilities, play an important role in helping building owners to migrate to smarter buildings. In some cases, the cost of the systems we install can be reduced by up to 30% through grants or incentives. Our 40 years of experience in the New York metro region means we can help customers more easily navigate the incentive and rebate process so that they can use incentive money to fund a significant portion of their modernization projects.
- Systems integration – The key to enabling the modern smart building is the ability to integrate the various technologies in a way that allows them to interact as a cohesive whole. Controllers, end-user devices, temperature sensors, transducers, actuators all need to “talk” so that a high level of systems optimization can be achieved. We help to bring the building to “life” by programming these systems to work together as an open architecture that allows for future expansion and scalability. This enables us to incorporate critical functions such as web connectivity, energy demand control, intelligent security and lighting systems, and automated ventilation. In some buildings, we integrate the ability to track human headcount (while maintaining personal privacy) in real time, so that the BMS system, though analytics, can adjust the degree of energy needed to best accommodate the temperature and lighting needs of the occupants in the various rooms.
For more information
We at T.M. Bier & Associates work together with our clients to achieve ongoing building infrastructure optimization. As buildings morph and modernize over time, our staff of engineers transition the building automation systems so that building owners can better align themselves to changing realities of their marketplace.
Schneider Electric helps us meet these challenges by providing us with both the innovative technology solutions and the support and training we need to ensure our clients’ success. To learn more about how smart building systems can increase your facility’s performance, visit us at T.M. Bier & Associates or consult the Schneider Electric Buildings of the Future web pages.
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