If you’ve been following our blog for a while now, then you already know that we at Control Solutions, Inc. are experts who listen first then devise thorough, well-thought-out solutions to meet our clients’ needs. We do this by building custom Building automation systems (BAS) with products from reputable companies like Alerton, Tridium, Honeywell, Johnson Controls, among several others. A brand-new (or retrofitted) BAS is obviously a long-time investment for your building and for your business, which is why you should optimize it as much as possible to yield the results and information you need to keep your building’s performance in tip-top shape.
To ensure your building is running as efficiently as possible, there are certain metrics your BAS should be tracking for your facilities manager to analyze and make adjustments as needed to achieve your unique business goals. In today’s world, a fair amount of businesses are focused on becoming “smart buildings,” or, as defined by Senseware, “a building with some form of automation that aids the people who manage or operate the buildings.”
Going Beyond Being a “Smart Building”
Besides built-in automation into your building system, tracking metrics is good for your triple bottom line, a philosophy that Certified Benefit Corporations, or B Corps, follow. Even if your company is not or doesn’t wish to pursue B Corp certification, the triple bottom line is still something that you can follow to achieve better business practices.
The triple bottom line takes into account how your business practices affect not only the traditionally known “bottom line” (aka profits) but also the planet (environmental impact) and people (your employees and greater community). Simply put, if your company values fostering highly productive work environments, high employee retention, and high energy efficiency and savings, then you should be monitoring metrics on a regular basis.
What Metrics Should I Measure?
While there are plenty of metrics your business can keep track of through your BAS, to work toward being the most efficient building possible on all fronts, experts from Senseware and Entouch recommend tracking the following.
Both Senseware and Entouch experts agree that utility usage is the most important metric to reach your business goals, including water consumption, air quality, pressure, and temperature. But, this goes beyond utility consumption and cost—it also should reflect individual utility rates and the times in which each utility was being used. This way, you can identify what utilities (if any) are being used while your building is vacant, and know where to cut usage in the future to save money and energy.
Operational/day-to-day building function is the broader category that includes utility usage plus space usage, HVAC functioning, lighting controls, communication frameworks, trash collection, working hours, and even customer service complaints. Tracking these metrics with a smart meter as part of your BAS can help facilities managers have a deeper understanding of how the building functions 24/7 and areas for improvement to boost efficiency.
Safety & Security
As part of the “people” branch of the triple bottom line, safety and security are at the top of the priority list from building operators as well as occupants, according to a study done by Honeywell. Safety metrics such as fire alarms, alert systems, and access control can help to identify repetitive patterns of unauthorized access (which we previously discussed, as well). Additionally, when occupants have peace of mind that the facility is safe and secure, they are able to focus on their work more and be more productive.
Building automation systems, as we mentioned before, are definitely a long-term business investment. In other words, they’re not (and shouldn’t be) cheap. Financial metrics of your BAS may include percent ROI (return on investment) per square foot or outstanding debt per square foot, according to Entouch. Beyond this, financial metrics should also be in place to track the amount of money saved from adjusting utility usage and so on.
Occupant Comfort & Productivity
Finally, occupancy comfort and productivity is another critical measurement, serving as a signal of whether or not the other aspects of your facility are in line with your business goals. If employees seem sluggish, unmotivated and distracted, there’s a good chance that one or more factors in your building are off. For example, as reported by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), occupant productivity went up 1% for every 10% increase in air-quality satisfaction. Optimal lighting, air-quality and temperature foster more productive work environments and employees who output higher-quality work.
Need help collecting the proper data? Control Solutions can help!
Control Solutions provides BAS services to clients throughout all of Michigan, the Midwest, as well as on a national and global level. We listen carefully to our clients’ needs because we understand how important it is for a BAS to work flawlessly for a particular building, its systems, operators, and occupants. We’re also the only exclusive dealers of Alerton, Novar, and Trend in the state of Michigan and one of the largest installers of Tridium Niagara AX and Niagara 4, as well.
If you’re interested in optimizing or upgrading your BAS to produce important metrics such as those above, contact us today to set up an appointment.