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5 Ways a Building Automation System Can Help You Save

Piggy bank and calculator sitting on top of financial report with graphs of HVAC BAS savings.

Building automation systems (BAS) are no longer just for the big guys. Between advances in technology and more affordable options, installing a BAS has become a no-brainer for almost any commercial space. 

A building automation system can provide significant savings, whether you have a small professional office to an extensive multi-building facility. 

1. Cut Your Utility Bills

“The most efficient AC is the one that’s off.”
– Raymond Nalty, Owner of Environment Masters

The most obvious way a BAS helps you save is on your utility bills. When you program your BAS, your AC only runs when there are people in the building. So it’s easy to see savings quickly.

There are lots of ways building automation can positively impact your energy savings. Here are two of the most common: 

  1. Schedule your AC to run during hours of operation so you don’t use and pay for more energy that you need. 
  2. Lock your thermostats so employees can’t run the AC at extremes. 

We installed a digital thermostat for a small dental office, and their energy savings paid for the upgrade within a couple of months. 

2. Save on Man Power

A building automation system at a large commercial facility can act as another maintenance team member without adding someone else to your payroll. 

One of our customers installed a BAS at a facility with 62 thermostats. Think of the man-hours they saved when they consolidated the controls and data into one master control dashboard. 

And it doesn’t just provide control over thermostats. A system can integrate with a variety of your building systems, including: 

  • Security
  • Lighting 
  • Air filters & ventilation
  • HVAC

What used to be a full-time job can be simplified into an easy-to-use control panel. 

3. Keep Your Building Systems Running Longer

Like our preferred system from Honeywell, the newer building automation systems have built-in predictive failure alarms. These alarms alert you to building systems that aren’t working correctly. 

When you catch equipment issues early, you can have it repaired quickly and get it back and running. However, if you don’t see a persistent problem, it’s far more expensive to fix a system that’s hit the point of total failure.

There are also alerts for maintenance reminders, so it’s easy to stay on top of keeping your building systems, like HVAC, in good working order, which extends the life of those systems.

4. Avoid Expensive Proprietary System Upgrades 

The cost of proprietary network building automation systems piles up and can leave you stuck with a system that doesn’t grow with you. 

  • Maintenance on a proprietary system requires a tech from that specific company.  
  • A proprietary network often requires expensive upgrades when upgrading the company computer systems to stay operational. 

An area community college faced a $25,000 upgrade to keep their proprietary BAS working when they upgraded all their computers to Windows 10. And that upgrade didn’t even include new controls or hardware.

They were thrilled to find out we could move them to an open network system so they could be free from the mounting proprietary network BAS constraints.

When you move to an open network BAS you gain flexibility that can save you thousands in the long run. 

  • Anyone can work on an open network system – not just a tech from the BAS brand company.
  • Consolidate outdated controls and old networks into one system with a single login.
  • Most open networks have a cloud-based setup which makes it very easy to upgrade.

There are lots of ways a building automation system can help you save. But, right about now, you’re probably wondering… 

How Much Does a Building Automation System Cost?

As you can imagine, the size and needs of every commercial building are different, which makes it impossible to give specific dollar amounts. 

However, here are some of the factors that impact the cost: 

  • Number of commercial HVAC units
  • Number of individual buildings 
  • How many systems you’re connecting (HVAC, security, lights, etc.)
  • Brand new BAS install vs. upgrade and connect old systems

Here are some anchor numbers for a frame of reference. 

We’ve installed a building automation system into a small office for less than $5k and integrated a BAS into a sizable multi-building facility for $35k. 

If you’re a small office and just add digital thermostats, that can be installed for much less and still yield significant savings over time.

Hopefully, this look at how a building automation system can help you save moves you closer to deciding whether a BAS is a right fit for your commercial space. Get in touch with our commercial HVAC company for more information. 

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