Before, people used to think that building automation systems are only for large commercial and industrial projects and not necessary for residential buildings. Even though smart home technology has been prevalent for many years owing to their convenience and comfort, it has been only recently that facility managers and multi-residential property managers are realizing the potential and benefits of building automation system for condo buildings. Condominiums range in size from mid to large but usually comprise a large number of units with varying number of occupants and energy needs so it makes sense that integrating building automation systems in condominiums will provide added benefits to both occupants and managers for better utilization of space, energy management, enhanced comfort and so on. In this article we take a look at how condo boards, condo managers and occupants can all benefit from having an efficient building automation system.
Building Automation System
Building automation system in condominiums refers to automatic and centralized control of the condo’s systems, including HVAC, lighting, security and so on. Usually building automation systems (or BAS) are driven by sensors, controls and a network infrastructure installed in the building and managed from a unified interface. Although previously building automation systems used to be expensive, the advancement of technology, Artificial Intelligence and IoT have made building automation systems highly affordable even for small building sizes. With easy upgradation, even older buildings that use BACnet protocol can be integrated with updated and newer software that are user-friendly and requires the least human intervention, thereby reducing the hassle of frequent technical support or maintenance issues. Some of the major benefits of having building automation system in condominiums are:
Reducing Utility Bills
Utilities usually account for 30-40% of a condominium’s operating costs covering lighting, heating, ventilation, and air cooling. Moreover, obsolete HVAC equipment that are rarely maintained in condominiums are highly inefficient and waste a ton of energy, thereby increasing utility bills redundantly. Furthermore, when you rely on human intervention, energy bills also increase in condo projects due to misuse of electricity, water and so on.
Having building automation system helps to identify wastage areas, minimize the need of human intervention in maintaining the building systems and reduces energy costs by 5%-30% in the long run. In addition, there are building automation systems that integrate submetering, which is extremely useful for condominiums. Submetering gives you a clear picture of how much energy each unit consumes, detects areas of cost improvement as well as offers occupants a fair-pay system for utilities.
Better Energy Management
As automated building systems reduce electricity bills, they also provide an improved energy management system for condominiums. With automated building system controls, as a condominium manager, you can utilize smart sensors that can trigger automated actions that optimize energy usage while ensuring occupants’ comfort. For example, when the gym experiences high traffic on a particularly hot and humid day, automation can activate the air conditioner and when the gym is unoccupied, it can turn off the lights and AC to prevent energy wastage. In this way building automation system is also able to provide better space utilization in condominiums which otherwise would eat up a lot of resources to look after the condo amenities and facilities.
Condominiums are storehouses for a large amount of data most of which are either not collected or utilized properly. With building automation system in condominiums, condo managers can access this data anytime, anywhere and make much better informed decisions such as managing building resources in an energy efficient way, taking preventive measures for maintenance issues and so on. For example, say there is a water leakage in one of the condo units. Realistically, it might not get inspected by anyone until some serious damage occurs. Having building automation system with water sensors, condo managers can easily note the spike in water usage and be able to take care of the issue before any real damage occurs.
With the vast pool of data, building managers can also know traffic or number of occupants in various areas during different times. This information will help to schedule any maintenance work easily without interfering with occupants timing, thus elevating their condo living experience.
Today’s IoT enabled building automation systems can be monitored and accessed from anywhere and anytime, giving you full control over your building systems. Moreover, with AI integration, the process works on its own with minimal human intervention so you have the peace of mind that if something goes wrong, it will be taken care of without any added stress.
Most traditional condos used to rely on concierge service for security. This involved a lot of hassles including having to recruit the right people, managing them, and also paying them. However, with building automation system in condominiums, security and access controls are much more efficient, intuitive, and able to send alerts instantly to any security anomaly. Smart security systems have evolved greatly from traditional and simple CCTV to IoT empowered digital access controls that use sensors, biometrics, camera and data analytics for ensuring effective and hassle-free security of the condominium. In addition, condo managers no longer need to install and maintain complex IT infrastructure as most of these systems are cloud-based.
Condo boards can significantly reduce energy consumption by embracing automated building systems which not only provide financial benefits through energy savings but also add to occupants’ comfort. In addition, instead of wasting resources for monitoring multiple building operations and units, building automation system provides an easy and better way to evaluate the energy profile of the building and helps you make better energy management decisions. A-TECH Engineering Ltd. – a Toronto based energy management company – provides innovative IoT enabled building automation system that gives you guaranteed energy savings, increased efficiency, and enhanced occupant comfort. Connect with us to reduce your condo management hassle and provide a better condo living experience with smart and efficient buildings.