Making the Case for a BAS Upgrade
If cost reduction is a top priority for an organization and facility executives are faced with shrinking resources, including maintenance and operational staff reductions, it is important to emphasize the potential of EMS/BAS upgrades to reduce energy use, improve operational efficiency and reduce overtime labor costs. Present objective, supporting data concerning the impact of budget cuts on building operations and management. For example, include information about how reductions in funding for timely EMS/BAS maintenance and upgrades will have a direct effect on facility maintenance and operations:
- Reduction in quality of service. Occupants and visitors to the facility are likely to react negatively to the quality of day-to-day building service associated with the use of older, inefficient or poorly maintained EMS/BAS to monitor conditions of their spaces.
- Increase in maintenance costs. A reduction of funding in monitoring equipment often correlates to an increase in equipment maintenance costs. Regular calibration and timely replacement of field devices and sensors are important to maintain the optimum operation of this technology for real-time condition monitoring.
- Increase in overtime labor costs of internal maintenance staff. Reducing the number of staff required to perform maintenance tasks will increase overtime for remaining facility operating staff. Make the case to use EMS/BAS integration to share resources. EMS/BAS integration across facility-based systems such as lighting, power monitoring and security may provide a partial solution to shrinking facility resources.
In this economy, facility executives should identify EMS/BAS upgrades that can be implemented within a short time period while achieving maximum benefits. The typical corporate budget structure will require these projects to be completed within four to six months. Therefore, effective EMS/BAS planning will require facility executives to set priorities for building equipment, systems and facility areas for conversion.
Consideration should be given first to areas in the facility where environmental control is critical to reducing energy consumption. The next consideration should be the age and reliability of existing control equipment and its potential for catastrophic failure.
Discussions about the intrinsic value of maintaining the EMS/BAS budget will ultimately require a balance between what is necessary for the facility to operate given the practical limitations of today’s economy such as reduced staff and leaner operating budgets versus what can be achieved through automation.
In this new economy, successful facility executives should clearly define specific cost-saving goals to maintain in-house corporate support for each EMS/BAS upgrade project. Navigating this process will lead to development of a sound plan that takes advantage of the best EMS/BAS operating strategies to reduce energy consumption and overall facility operating costs.
Carlos Petty is a vice president and group manager in the New York City office of Syska Hennessy Group, a consulting, engineering, technology and construction firm that provides technical solutions in such areas as building automation system design, facilities management, energy management, life safety, technology consulting/engineering, and turnkey design/build services.