With tight budgets and rising costs, building owners and facility managers are faced with a constant challenge: how to do more with less.
Making the right decisions about where to spend your time and money can seem like an impossible challenge.
It’s common knowledge that the all-important first step for any facility manager is to install an up to date Building Management System (BMS). A good BMS integrates all your disparate systems to provide a complete view of your facility and can help identify issues and inefficiency.
But even with a hefty budget and a fully resourced team covering a building 24/7, it is not humanly possible to gather, analyse and interpret all of the data generated by a facility yourself. And why would you want to? This would leave little to no time to do anything about the data you’ve collected.
Today, advanced building analytics software offers the critical next step for facility managers, not just showing where, but also why inefficiencies in a system occur. The resulting “actionable information” can inform quick and effective troubleshooting and provide clear prioritised recommendations for optimising building assets based on statistical analysis, performance trending and automated diagnostics. At the end of the day, you’re empowered to drive results, maximise building performance and comfort and lower costs, making you, your building and your bottom line look great.
So, how do you go about integrating advanced building analytics into your system? Here are four options, with the pros and cons outlined.
Build a customised solution
Build your own on-site building analytics system, customised specifically for and integrated with your building’s systems. This option provides you with complete flexibility on how to design and deploy the servers, software and tools to deliver the analytics. The downside is that customised solutions are usually more costly to deploy and maintain.
Embed analytics within your BMS
An emerging market option, fully embedding analytics into your existing BMS hardware and software is great for new construction. However, it can become challenging during retrofits or upgrades. Because this option is still in the early stages, there is limited functionality and availability today.
Software as a service building analytics
Cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) building analytics is a cost-effective way to customise a solution to suit your building’s needs. With this type of system, data is automatically pulled from building management systems and analysed in a virtual cloud environment. The downside is that SaaS solutions require resources to manage, interpret, analyse and act on the data.
Managed software as a service
Last but certainly not least, managed software as a service (MSaaS) combines the SaaS analytics solution with the oversight of remote engineering experts. With the best of both worlds, MSaaS enables you to prioritise based on financial and performance goals at the same time so that your team can focus on what’s important to your customer and your business.
While advanced analytics solutions have in the past only been a viable option for bigger buildings, new solutions are coming onto the market that extend the accessibility and value of this software to small and medium building owners. Schneider Electric has recently launched Facility Insights to the Australian market, a new suite of managed service solutions that allows facility managers and building owners to improve operations, manage assets and decrease energy costs.
With legislation coming into play in June 2017 that will require office spaces of 1,000 square metres or more to provide a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate on sale, the implementation of building analytics is only going to increase in importance – for business big and small. It’s time to think about what option might work best for you.