How Smart Is Your Building?

It’s challenging and difficult enough to get your tenants to be mindful of their behaviours that result in excessive consumption of major utilities – electricity, gas and water. Such tenant behaviour translates into higher building operating cost, but to encourage your building and equipment itself to engage in such behaviour is like….well……like that metaphorical frog we discussed in our last article. I know, I know – you are asking yourself how is it that I, as a building owner/operator, am encouraging my building to engage in excessive consumption of major utilities? The answer is quite simple – if you haven’t invested in smartening up your building then you are like the “boiling frog” in that building operators/owners should make themselves aware of how and why their buildings are consuming excessive amounts of utilities lest they suffer eventual undesirable consequences.

Water and sewage cost have risen by nearly 100% since 2005, energy prices have also almost doubled since 2003. History is often a reasonable predictor of the future and the historical trends show the cost of utilities continuing to rise unabated for many more decades. This indisputable fact calls into question - why then are building owners/operators not doing everything in their power to mitigate, as best as possible, this eventuality? Perhaps many of them feel helpless, in fact almost powerless in the face this indisputable fact - utility cost will continue to rise.

The foregoing should give building owner/operators pause for thought – what can I do to maximize the efficiency of my building so that I can better manage my operating cost? Just as you wouldn’t drive your car without following regular maintenance and tune-up schedules so you can maximize your cars performance, why then would you operate your building without tuning it up – making it smarter.

Unless tenants are provided with incentives to modify their energy conservation behaviour they will always be a major contributor to excessive utility consumption resulting in higher building operating cost. Making your building smarter requires investing in innovative new and existing technologies that can reduce your utility consumption without every requiring your tenants to altering their behaviour. The first step for creating a smarter building requires deploying an interactive energy Measurement and Verification (M&V) technology solution that provides managers with the ability to track, capture, assess, manage, alert and predict energy consumption of their building. Implementing energy M&V solutions can reduce your energy consumption by at least 5% (The Carbon Trust) by identifying and verifying efficiency improvements. These technologies are key to a building’s life-cycle-management and continuous re-commissioning and can provide a return on investment within less than 18 months. With the ability to manage the data captured they can give early warning alerts for unexpected excessive consumption caused by equipment malfunctions, maintenance errors and other equipment abnormalities

In addition to savings realized through reduction in consumption, additional benefits are realized with improved preventative maintenance measures, ensuring preservation of building assets and thus also adding to the bottom line by reducing maintenance cost and ultimately increasing the value of your building. There are other intangible outcomes that also add to your buildings bottom line. Smarter buildings improve building dynamics resulting in better indoor comfort; air quality; overall tenant well being leading to lower vacancies rates.

Beyond looking at energy procurement opportunities for securing fixed rate agreements to protect you against future rate increases, an M&V solution is a key part of your Conservation and Demand Management (CDM) strategy that should be taken to make your building smarter. Here at Encompass, we will continue to introduce you to innovative CDM technologies, through our partners, that when coupled with an M&V strategy can greatly reduce your building’s operating cost. One of our signature technologies (H2 Minus O) can reduce your water and thus sewage usage by up to 40%; for buildings that have centralized cooling we utilize Thermonomics that can reduce electricity cooling cost by up to 40%. It is worth noting here again that all these technology solutions are not dependent on modifying tenant behaviour. Tenant’s behaviour can remain status quo and yet buildings can still realize tremendous energy savings through reduced consumption. To fully understand how these technologies can assist you with avoiding/reducing building operating cost please contact us.

Source: Encompass Group

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