So, what is facility automation?
Facility automation is changing the way buildings are managed through the use of centralized autonomous controls. With facility automation processes such as security, lighting, plumbing, HVAC, and fire detection can be controlled, monitored, adjusted, cleared and even reset from a single portal. Let’s say that one of your managed sited needs an emergency visit from the plumber at 10 pm on a Thursday. Typically a tenant would have to discover the emergency, contact the property manager who then contacts the key holder and the plumber, the key holder would then have to drive out to the facility, unlock the door, wait for the plumber, lock the door again and drive back home. Don’t forget that the key holder must be paid for this time as well! With facility automation this can all be done remotely at the touch of a button, saving time and money.
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At FoxNet John Chiappetta heads up our IoT division, working with clients to improve cost savings and efficiency with facility automation.
The future of facility automation is bright!
Sustainability continues to be a growing trend in many fields. Facility automation already allows for a reduction in energy use as processes like heating and cooling can be automatically adjusted based on factors such as predicted room use, peak consumption times and current weather. As this technology becomes more advanced, sustainability through facility automation will continue to grow and improve.
Predictive maintenance is also on the rise in the world of facility automation with the goal of minimizing downtime. With maintenance scheduling that is accurate down to the second organizations can more accurately predict, adjust and recover from operational downtime. Retrofitting equipment with sensors and improved deterioration curves are just some of the ways in which predictive maintenance is currently used in facility automation.
Real Life Examples
One example of the real-life benefits of facility automation can be found in a group of public schools in Minneapolis. These schools installed occupancy sensors, as well as timers, to control their HVAC. The traditional timers automatically lowered temperatures on weekends or after school hours, but the occupancy sensors went a step further and lowered temperatures when detecting empty classrooms. Furthermore, a standby mode lowered temperatures slightly to reduce heating demand but maintain comfort for classrooms that were only momentarily empty. With typical HVAC savings of $0.20 per square foot, an average sized school saved between $15,000 and $30,000 annually.
Calculating ROI on facility automation is multi-faceted. For instance, an improvement in facility efficiency also better enables productive employees. Measuring the ROI on facility automation includes not only the building itself but the people inside of it too. Typically facility automation improves productivity by 20% with an average reported savings of about $25 per square foot in terms of increased productivity and $0.40 per square foot in utility costs. In short, an automated facility is more efficient, effective, and sustainable than a non-automated facility.