Smart technology now permeates every facet of our daily lives, with the Internet of Things (IoT) taking off in a big way in recent times.
A survey by PwC found that 55 per cent of Australians surveyed now own a wearable device, while estimates by Telsyte suggested that the average household will have 24 internet-connected devices by 2019.
This rapid adoption of smart technology has meant that we are now able to consume in a meaningful way more data than we ever could before – data sets so large they are now coined Big Data. While our personal lives are made easier by this ability to leverage data in new ways (Google Maps being an example of one of the many applications), this explosion of smart technology also has significant implications for the sustainable performance of our buildings – that is, if you can spot the opportunity.
It turns out this same IoT revolution is working to make buildings simultaneously more functional and more efficient, allowing for improved environmental performance, ongoing profitability and worker productivity. Crucially, it’s important to note that a green business is not only a worthy pursuit, but an economically sound decision.
However, with recent advancements in technology being just that – recent – any business will acknowledge that it is important to bring on board the right experience and expertise to understand how to make the most of IoT.
In the same way a CFO is an integral part of your financial planning, getting the right talent to manage the adoption of new technology in your building requires someone with years of experience, training and relevant knowledge. Some companies offer expert advice - sometimes even a nationwide network of certified professionals -, who can perform this function for your building. By securing the services of these experts, you can ensure you adopt the technology that will provide the biggest result for your building - be it in terms of cost savings and or improving an existing carbon footprint.
The first step when working with an expert to drive optimum building performance will involve a comprehensive audit of your existing systems. In many cases, business owners or facility managers are unaware of the range of opportunities that lie within their own buildings for financial and environmental savings. Working collaboratively with businesses, the experts are then able to identify areas within a building where money can be saved effectively using more environmentally sound solutions.
Smart meters, sensors and other technology can be easily implemented to develop automated processes that help a facility manager to easily track the energy usage within the building. Easily scalable analytics are available to identify where energy is being most effectively (or not) within the building and can be easily adapted creating a safer and more economical viable building.
When investing in new technology or improvements to existing facilities – the key is to get a true sense of the return on investment. The right expert will outline the cost savings that can be expected ahead of time. In many cases, implementing environmental cost savings can be seen as prohibitive in terms of the original financial output. Well-trained professionals take a long-term view on their projects and are involved at every step of the way, making sure your building is performing exactly as expected and creating the expected results.
The right insights will help deliver cost savings for years to come, and not only through improved energy efficiency. For example, many are finding substantial savings by automating the monitoring, diagnosis and replace/repair of equipment to improve maintenance cycles and avoid costly equipment downtime. The chances are high that savings like these are sitting there, waiting to be taken advantage of, and with the help of readily available experts, it is possible to unlock their benefits for your business.
The better your building functions, the easier it is to maintain a productive and happy workforce. Smart buildings are designed to gather data and monitor themselves for problems in the structure’s facilities. Implementing this basic element of the available technology can decrease complaints about inefficient or failed facilities, ultimately reducing time spent dealing with avoidable problems.
What can seem a daunting first step into the world of green business, can in fact be a pragmatic and necessitous business decision that will create cost savings and pay environmental dividends over many years. What’s more, with the right advice for execution and ongoing support for maintenance, savvy building operators will be able to utilise this smart device revolution and the data it is producing to drive improved efficiencies that will lower overall energy consumption and build a more sustainable future.