Improvements in the affordability of building management systems, and improvements in digital literacy across the country and across the globe, have increased the prevalence of building automation and energy management systems in almost every walk of life. Consumers are well aware of home automation systems like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Homekit, and the commercial world has its own 800lb gorillas.
Historically, full scale building management systems were the province of large budget building operations, costing anywhere from $2.50 to $7.00 per square foot to implement, or close to $250,000 for a 100,000 square foot building. ROI was a challenge for all but the largest buildings and even then, it took 4 or more years to recover costs through energy savings.
It was only a matter of time until these systems came down in cost and complexity to be financially feasible for smaller operators. After all, it is actually smaller buildings which dominate the commercial building landscape. According to U.S. Energy Information Administration statistics from the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey, 95% of commercial buildings in the U.S. are 50,000 square feet in size or smaller. Furthermore, these small buildings account for 44% of all energy usage across all commercial buildings.
Still, it took what most would consider a disruptive technology to bring a new opportunity into focus.
The Case for More Sophisticated Building Management in Smaller Buildings
In 2008, the “internet of things” (IOT) was born. Though the phrase had been coined a decade earlier, it wasn’t until 2008 that the number of things, or objects connected to the internet actually exceeded the number of people. Standalone smart devices could now connect to central systems or applications without wires. Local devices could incorporate sophisticated sensors and algorithms that fed centralized analysis and control platforms.
Companies like Heat-Timer® were on the edge of developments that made the heating management component of many of these IOT based systems, reach new levels of performance. Development of the IOT made control installation easier, allowed for more flexible space monitoring, and improved on the number of simultaneous monitoring points, for even better analysis and more energy efficient boiler control.
Smaller building owners took notice. With heating costs in many states, making up the primary chunk of building energy expenditures, implementation of a sophisticated system of heating control like the Heat-Timer Platinum Series, that was low cost and easy to install, was a no-brainer.
Heating Control Investments Can Roadmap into a Full Scale BMS Later on.
Any of our Platinum Series Heating Controls can be operated either standalone, or inside a full scale Building management platform. Indeed many operators have referred to our systems as a “poor-man’s” building or energy management system. While it handles primarily the heating and domestic hot water elements of a building, it does so in a way that resembles the user experience of a full blown BMS: remote alarm monitoring on your cellphone, full tweaking and configuration available through our internet portal or free phone app, easily movable wireless remote room sensors that allow operators to solve hard-to-diagnose heating issues, automated reporting, and self-learning features that allow us to get that last 10% of energy savings by learning the heating characteristics of your building.
BACnet for Building Automation Integration
If someday an operator decides to take on the expense of a full blown building management system, our platinum series controls will act as the subcontractor for all heating and domestic hot water management. Our ability to do this is because we’ve embraced the industry standard BACnet protocol for communication between building automation devices. Almost all makers of building automation systems embrace the BACnet protocol and thus manufacturers who embrace the protocol can communicate in a standardized way, over this interface.
All our platinum control alarms, control settings, sensor readings and more, can be transmitted to a building management system which then presents the data through its own human interface.
In this way, operators can leverage the performance of Heat-Timer’s industry leading heating and DHW controls, while incorporating other building automation subsystems into a cohesive BMS.
For more information on the use of Heat-Timer® Controls as an energy management system, or their capabilities when integrated with a 3rd party BMS, please call the factory today.