Building Automation Systems, or BAS systems, are software systems that control the Heating, Cooling, Ventilation and Lighting systems in a building.
These systems are often designed and built, and then left to slowly degrade over years.
In addition, one of the major benefits of having LED lighting in either interior or exterior spaces, is that they work very effectively with daylight and occupancy sensors. These sensors offer true scalability and savings as they allow you to maximally control your energy consumption.
In the past decade sensor technology has advanced and can be fine-tuned to meet most lighting requirements. These devices are no longer simple motion detectors that switch on wasteful floodlights when the neighborhood stray walks through your garden or use basic timers that inconveniently switch off when you need them the most, leaving you waving your arms wildly to turn on the lights.
Advanced thermostatic controls can complement lighting controls, giving you information about your system and creating a safe and more energy efficiency building.
In fact, today, these devices really do work for you. So, let’s take a closer look at how they compare and how they can start saving you money today.
Retrocommissioning Your Building
If you have a larger building with complex systems, chances are you have a BAS system. These systems control and monitor the performance of you Heating, Ventilation and Cooling systems, as well as often have lighting controls built into them.
Our utility provides an in depth engineering study, to help you find ways to make small improvements. Through this process, recommendations are made to fine tune the performance of this system, leading to thousands of dollars of energy savings each year. Verde will not recommend anything through this process that has longer than a 1.5 year simple payback, after incentives from the utility. A few examples we have seen are changing schedules of systems to bring in outside air when needed and adding CO sensors to garage fans.
How do daylight sensors work?
Daylight sensors work to retain the same level of brightness in an area by decreasing the LED light output and augmenting it with natural light. This is also sometimes called ‘daylight harvesting’, which simply means the more they detect daylight or sunlight available in a space, the less electricity you use and the more energy and money you save.
Using these devices can significantly reduce energy bills especially for large or multi-structure complexes which require many light points to remain illuminated overnight, such as entrances and exists as well as parking lots. As opposed to traditionally programmed lighting solutions (think streetlamps which turn off once natural light has reached a sufficient level), daylight sensors constantly adjust and actively dim as natural daylight increases.
However, these sensors are not just for outdoor lighting. In fact, daylight sensors can also provide the same great benefits indoors, especially if you have a lot of glass windows and corridors. Moreover, they can be combined with occupancy sensors, so you can have the best of both worlds.
If the idea of installing occupancy sensors seems like a lot of effort for minimal savings, then think again. These sensors are not simply for small spaces like bathrooms or storage closets. In fact, occupancy sensors can be beneficial in almost all interior and exterior spaces. They can also be combined with daylight sensors to maximize energy efficiency and savings.
Whereas motion detectors only activate light when there is movement, occupancy sensors react to the presence of people or animals within a space. This means that they will not switch off, as they are not on timers, or if you remain stationary, so there is no lag between the time you leave a space and the lights switching off.
Occupancy sensors can also be utilized in combination with daylight sensors.
Smart Thermostats and Controls
Smart thermostats are…well, smart. They control your HVAC equipment more thoughtfully, so you can save money and energy. The best part – lower usage of equipment leads to longer life of equipment and less maintenance.
Smart thermostat are basically programmable thermostats with advanced controls on them. Programmable thermostats save money as they reduce heating or cooling loads when buildings are unoccupied. Since heating and cooling are a major source of energy usage for almost all commercial spaces – these little adjustments mean big savings.
Smart thermostats do more than just allow scheduled temperature adjustments – they sense occupancy of your space, provide insight into actual usage through data platforms, allow you to see the building performance when not on site, and even can control your free cooling (economizing) settings and performance monitoring.
Ecobee EMS Si
The best commercial smart thermostat, with limitations around economi
zer controls. The Ecobee smart buildings portal is also a huge benefit for those the own and operate multiple properties.
Ecobee is a huge brand name and platform, and easily installs on most systems and is designed for commercial systems in mind with the EMS Si. The SmartBuldings platform allows you to manage multiple buildings from one platform, making it ideal for fire stations and fast food restaurant franchise restaurants.
Nest Smart Thermostat
Designed for residential, but the easiest to smart thermostat to install and best in terms of data collection and interface. The Nest portal is simple and easy to use for almost any household or business.
For businesses or public buildings with split systems (furnace and AC are separate), we recommend the Nest smart thermostat. While not as robust in performance as the Ecobee or Pelican, they are easy to use and have great internal algorithms to save energy. After all, if you have the best system in the world but it is running all the time, you are wasting a ton of energy.
Pelican Smart Thermostat
This is the best overall energy savings tool, when combined with the demand control ventilation and new PEARL economizer module. Data is more robust on the Pelican thermostat system.
There are opportunities with the Pelican to both detect CO2 within a space, to drive real demand control ventilation with your HVAC system. This means that your system will properly move air throughout a space based on occupancy – something more and more important in terms of air quality and COVID 19 building safety.
Building Safety and Thermostats
For office buildings, the CDC normally recommends that buildings run the fan on HVAC equipment continuously during occupied hours, starting an hour before and running until an hour after. This means if your building is occupied from 9 to 5 – you should run your HVAC fan to “on” during the time from 8 to 6. This will bring in the proper amount of outside air to turn over the air in a space and make sure germs, contaminants, and overall air quality is safe for occupancy.
During COVID 19 concerns, the CDC simply recommends adding an additional hour to this time, so two hours before and two hours after occupancy to properly circulate air. While advanced systems like the Pelican can help you control your economizer to bring in additional fresh air – the simple thermostat setting can accomplish this according to the CDC. These advanced settings cannot be accomplished efficiently without programmable or smart thermostats.
Why Choose Verde for Your Automation Needs?
Since 2010 Verde has been helping customers upgrade inefficient and outdated lighting solutions that have translated to thousands of dollars saved on energy bills. Our experienced team helps guide you through the entire process from providing a free energy assessment, to installing the solutions and even helping you get money back through government incentives and utility company rebates. We offer complete services, from start to finish, with a single point of contact, so you can rest assured that all aspects of your project are covered.
How it all works
Call in the pros.
Give us a call, and we’ll come take a look around – no fees, no commitments. Within a week or so, we’ll give you a custom, detailed report of where you can decrease your energy costs and how much you can expect to save.
Let’s do this.
Our Energy Efficiency Professionals do the necessary swaps, tweaks, and in some cases, complete overhauls to bring your costs way down and your savings way up. We know how to save you money – and we know what it takes to make the most of all of those energy rebate programs. In fact, we guarantee that no one can find more rebates off your project than Verde.
We’ve got your back.
If a bulb burns out or an issue occurs, call us. We’ll make it right.
The bean counters on your team will be jumping for joy from the unexpected savings and your team’s Earth lovers will be singing your praises in no time. That’s because Verde’s solutions are just as good for your bottom line as they are for the Earth.
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