Understanding Automated Building Control Systems
Building control systems are an essential part of daily operations in most commercial and industrial structures.
Depending on the industry and how a facility is used, various systems are needed more than others during different times of the day. This includes everything from controlling lighting, heating and cooling systems to more effectively managing communications and connectivity needs based on patterns and overall demand.
With a properly configured building control system or systems, an organization can realize a number of financial and operational benefits. These include reduced energy utilization and thus lower overall energy costs over time, more bandwidth for connectivity during peak times of the day or during periods of heavy traffic, and more. Ultimately, these systems are intended to make facilities more intelligent and provide energy and electrical only when it’s needed, or ramp up resources to accommodate greater demand.
According to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) study commissioned by the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, researchers found that current, properly tuned control systems could reduce commercial building energy consumption by roughly 29%. Examples of how control systems achieved this included:
- Adjusting daytime and nighttime heating and cooling
- Reducing air flow rates via variable-air volume boxes
- Limiting heating and cooling based on structure occupancy
While the report found that most commercial facilities (even in different climates) would see an average energy savings of 29%, they found that industry-specific facilities stood a chance of realizing even greater energy savings. For example, middle schools and high schools were estimated to see an energy consumption reduction of up to 49%, and standalone retail stores and auto dealerships were estimated to see up to 41% energy reductions through building control systems.
Control Systems Play an Important Brand Role
While reduced energy consumption is itself a completely valid reason to implement control systems in a facility, their benefits go even further. Whether you’re in retail, education, financial services, manufacturing, or any other number of industries operating larger facilities, it’s important to understand that each of the services that a control system governs contributes to your customers’ and employees’ overall experience. Let’s explore a few of these industries to see how automated building control systems play a vital role in supporting and strengthening your connection with your audiences.
The financial services industry is first and foremost about relationships. Trust is essential — people only want to work with established brands to manage their most valuable assets and resources. While the services you provide play an important part in building that trust, your physical brand assets do as well. Imagine going to meet a new financial advisor with a well-known investment firm. The second you step into their building, you’re stuck by a heat wave. Sure, it’s late autumn, but as the meeting progresses, you and the advisor are sweating buckets — and all the while, that heat just keeps pumping out, slow-roasting you both like Thanksgiving turkeys. It was completely unnecessary, too: at that moment, only you, the advisor, and one other person were in the building!
Hospitals and other medical facilities can be large, with multiple hallways and spaces sprawling across equally large compounds, multiple interconnected buildings, and campuses. Depending on patient volumes and which departments are needed at different times of the day, it makes sense to reduce lighting and other services to those spaces. For example, perhaps your radiology department only takes appointments during standard business hours, whereas your patient recovery wing is open 24/7/365. There’s no need to maintain the same level of lighting in radiology as there is in patient recovery. Additionally, if patient recovery has more nurses and patients on a particular day, a building control system can intelligently sense this and increase heating or cooling to that space as needed. This ensures that your patients are able to recover and nurses are able to work comfortably.
Industrial facilities are vast and consist of countless HVAC and lighting systems. Whether it’s a warehouse, production facility, distribution center, or some other industrial space, how these systems intelligently operate can contribute to your employees’ comfort and safety and to the condition of the goods being produced and handled within them. For example, if you produce a specific part in an area that uses furnaces and other high-heat equipment, there may be no need to maintain a cool temperature in that space. Doing so could impact the quality of the product as it wouldn’t be able to achieve proper heat uniformity. Later, when the space is being used for a different product, the building control system can reprioritize the space for cooling.
In the hospitality industry, maintaining the comfort and safety of your guests is paramount. While rooms have their own HVAC systems, larger areas like hallways, conference centers, athletic facilities, lobbies, and more can be intelligently controlled to deliver the heating, cooling, and lighting needed based on the time of day and the number of people present in them. Additionally, if certain blocks of rooms or floors have greater vacancy, connectivity services to those spaces can be reduced, enabling greater bandwidth for more occupied floors. This ensures the customers who are already staying with you have the services they need to feel safe, comfortable, and productive — leading to an overall positive experience and increasing the likelihood that they’ll be back to stay with your brand again.
With theaters and other entertainment spaces opening back up to patrons, there’s never been a better time to deliver a positive, memorable brand experience. After all, the entertainment component of their visit is just one part of the experience — the other is the facility itself. Depending on the type of venue and its associated schedule, some spaces may have more patrons than others. Because of that, additional heating, cooling, or ventilation may be needed to keep patrons comfortable. Additionally, during off-times, strong connectivity may not be needed. When patrons come to visit you, it’s important to create that positive experience with your facility to remind them of what they’ve been missing so they’re more likely to return again.
Stratus Offers Multiple Building Control Systems for Your Brand Needs
We offer simple, networked, and connected control systems that govern everything from basic lighting controls and interconnectivity between rooms and areas to more advanced solutions that communicate with other building control systems and manage more specific information such as humidity, location, and more. Whatever your goals for your facilities may be, whether you have a few dozen or a few thousand, we have the technology you need and the capabilities to efficiently implement your control system program throughout your footprint.
We achieve that through a few key advantages and capabilities. First is our time-tested and tightly vetted network of more than 2,300 field partners. Consisting of proven companies, installers, contractors, and more throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and beyond, our field partners efficiently execute our brand implementation programs under the direction of our W-2 superintendents and talented program management team. The quality and timeliness of each project is painstakingly managed and evaluated to ensure we achieve your goals while delivering a superior experience and supporting your brand’s image.
Our brand logistics and installation services also bring multiple aspects of your program in-house with Stratus, saving you from having to deal with multiple third parties for material transportation and storage as well as final delivery and installation. All of your brand assets are routed to our warehouses, and from there, our team will plan their shipping, delivery, and installation at each of your facilities. With this component of your program off your plate, you and your team are free to focus on other more important tasks without stressing the details.
Whether you’re looking to implement automated building control systems throughout your facilities or want a more intelligent, connected solution, the Stratus team is here to support you and leverage these technological assets as a major contributor to your brand. Connect with our team today to learn more about our building control systems and how we’ll manage your program from start to finish.