Automation becoming a necessity for high-performance buildings

| by Steve Arel
Automation becoming a necessity for high-performance buildings

Automation, more and more, is helping efficient buildings become higher performing. HVAC systems. Lights. Even window shades.

Applications that used to require someone to manually turn them on and off and adjust the settings – like tube TVs before the advent of the remote control – have quickly vaulted into the world of high-tech and become connected by a common moniker: Smart.

And, in many cases, building and home solutions are indeed smart. Thermostats, for instance, possess the ability to learn over time occupants’ desired temperature settings throughout the day and automatically increase or decrease levels based on those historical preferences.  

It’s not just individual devices that seen as difference-makers, though. Those units work in tandem as part of building automation systems that provide building owners and managers widespread perspective on structural performance.

In the eyes of many experts in the high-performance building field, automation no longer is a nice-to-have convenience but a necessity.

“Any nonresidential building built today must include some type of automated control capabilities for coordinated comfort, lighting, access and security,” Leroy Walden, president of Highrose Consultants LLC in Marietta, Ga., told ACHR News. “Building owners today typically manage multi-building portfolios, and without some sort of automated control strategy, occupant comfort, energy management and facility/occupant protection, they become overly burdensome and often neglected.”

Research shows that the global building automation market is poised for continued growth over the next five years, driven by increased use of the Internet of Things (IoT), implementation of LED lights, increased reliance on wireless technology and concern for overall energy consumption in buildings.

Automation has become such a significant part of the high-performance construction field that the annual Air conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration (AHR) Expo will feature a section of the show floor with more than 50 companies dedicated to building automation and controls.

AHR 2018, the world’s largest showcase of HVACR products and innovations with 2,100 exhibitors and more than 70,000 people from around the world expected to attend, is set for Jan. 22-24 in Chicago. The event is a chance for builders, designers and installers to get their hands on the latest energy efficient tools and to get a peek at those of the future.

Among the main future building automation system trends, according to research firm ReportLinker, are voiceover technology where users can interact with the building automation system directly and the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into those systems.

Ultimately, automation brings value, according to energy solutions company enervise.

“Any investment you make in upgrading the infrastructure, HVAC and control systems in your commercial building is an investment, and will be added to your balance sheet as an asset,” the firm said. “A company that specializes in retrofitting will be able to tell you which systems will offer the best balance of cost versus value, and give you the most bang for your buck.” 

Topics: Automation and Controls, Building Owners and Managers, Energy Audit / Energy Management

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