Facilities management is evolving. The days of merely controlling facility assets with a manual thermostat or panel on a wall are over. As explained by Energy Manager Today, this evolution from manual to automation is driven by the notion of thermal comfort for building occupants, and it extends across commercial and private facilities. As people have grown accustomed to the comforts of modern living, including heating and air-conditioning, not to mention air quality and plenty of light, energy costs have skyrocketed. Paired with the growth of companies across the globe, the only way to gain control over these activities lies in facilities management automation, and Facilities Managers need to understand the value of automated demand response.
What’s Keeping Facilities Management Automation in the Dark?
The biggest problem facing facilities management automation today is a lack of internal resources. Plenty of research exists to support the business case for using motion sensors, but motion sensors can only turn a system on for all. At the same time, motion sensors provide a host of information, including the activities of people in a facility, and temperature sensors can utilize infrared imaging to identify heat flows throughout a space. Unfortunately, the majority of facilities continue using sensors for their most basic functions, and Facilities Managers are failing to realize they can apply the information gathered in other ways to increase comfort and reduce energy use.
Automated Demand Response Is the Primary Driver for Automation
Automated demand response refers to the mechanism of action between information gathered from a sensor and the corresponding actions that are initiated by the system. For example, when a person enters a room, the lights come on. Now, this example sounds reasonable, but what if natural lighting is providing sufficient illumination? Then, the system needs to be smarter, considering the brightness of light available in the space, the cost of running lighting systems for the current period of time and how such actions will affect activities, such as employee productivity.
Automated demand response takes these activities and considers them in the context of all facilities and energy management strategies. Only then, is a decision made that will affect system controls.
Tips to Implement Facilities Management Automation
As explained by IoT For All, among the leading trends in facilities management automation, the use of connected sensors and technologies, such as those relaying information via the Internet of Things (IoT), stands out. Ultimately, connecting assets to an overarching management platform allow Facilities Managers to gain access to real-time data and energy monitoring. Of course, connecting assets with wireless sensors is only part of the battle, so Facilities Managers should follow these steps to make the most of facilities management automation:
- Use motion sensors.
- Track temperature and heat flows.
- Recognize the work performed by your HVAC system.
- Ensure the HVAC units function correctly.
- Track energy use and function for signs of potential malfunction.
- Use analytics to understand factors contributing to higher runtime and costs.
- Implement changes, including layout changes, that reduce demand.
- Validate results with data.
Automate Your Facilities Management With a Proven Partner
Many opportunities to automate facilities management activities through automated demand response exist. Unfortunately, until Facilities Managers recognize the need to integrate sensors and all platforms, they will still leave money on the table and lose opportunities to improve efficiency. Optimize your processes with facilities management automation by choosing ENTOUCH as your partner. Contact ENTOUCH online or by calling 1-800-820-3511 to get started.