Who hasn't worked at this office before? Regardless if you're lucky enough to have an old fashioned digital thermostat on the wall or a web-based building management system, keeping your building comfortable and energy efficient can be a challenge. It is impossible to always know if your building is operating the way that it should, unless you get the phone calls complaining about too hot, too cold, and too hot again. And that's just in the first hour of the morning.
An effective building management system (BMS) requires vigilance, since the BMS is only as healthy as the equipment and sensors that compose them. If these devices fail, so does your BMS and your business suffers. How so? Well for one, staff productivity will certainly feel the effects. Just try lowering your office temperature 3 degrees on a winter day, and see how many complaints you receive and how much work actually gets done. Not much science to this experiment, but I bet you will not want to answer your phone shortly after making that adjustment. The other consequence your business will face is a higher utility bill each month from your systems not running efficiently.
It’s true that HVAC and Automated Control systems aren’t all that exciting to everyone, and maybe that’s why they’re often overlooked. Most service contracts focus more on belts, filters, and if the thermostat is even working. So often they forget to really look at the "engine underneath the hood" to see what is going on.
There’s a better way to keep your building occupants happy. It’s called predictive maintenance, and it’s an up-and-coming trend fueled by energy-efficient building certification requirements and more stringent energy savings mandates. Predictive maintenance, sometimes referred to as continuous or monitoring-based commissioning (MBCx), is a strategy that leverages cloud-based data collection and analytics to enhance performance around the clock.
Using building analytics, facility managers are now able to see in granular detail the health of their systems… it’s kind of like looking at your system with X-ray goggles. This visibility allows us to see what’s been hidden to us for so long: over-worked fans, worn-down bearings, and all sorts of other threats you’d miss with the naked eye. Learn more about optimizing buildings using analytics and engineering expertise in this white paper from our Partner Schneider Electric.
One misconception about predictive maintenance is that it eliminates the need for staff. It’s true that software and devices replace the naked eye, but software can’t replace a light bulb (yet). Once you and your team can see how many valves, actuators, and other devices need servicing, your core focus will shift from putting out fires to creating energy savings and improving the productivity of all your buildings occupants.