The energy consumption of commercial buildings is great. In fact, about 15 percent of North America’s energy consumption is used by commercial facilities. Every day, many systems are running to power operations, including lighting, heating and cooling, office equipment, and more. Over the course of a commercial building’s life, those systems account for about 85 percent of the overall energy consumed by the building.

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Implementing building automation systems in energy efficient building design can lower the overall energy used by commercial buildings over their lifetime. Building automation can create energy savings by controlling the energy use of building systems like lighting and commercial HVAC systems. The investment in building automation offers great returns due to the energy they can save the building, and are ideal for use in multiple commercial applications such as office buildings, healthcare facilities, and lodging.

The use of a building automation system gives facility managers the ability to control and monitor energy use. System settings can be optimized for convenience as well as energy savings. Building automation systems are flexible and can be adjusted to utilize the best settings for building occupants and operations, as well as account for seasonal and workload changes that affect the building. The monitoring options available provide commercial businesses and facility managers the data needed to continually evaluate the building’s energy use and make improvements to the facility’s energy strategies.

Building automation systems can be integrated with energy efficient building design for new structures, or retrofit for existing commercial facilities. A hardwired system is labor intensive as the multiple components which include sensors, controllers, and actuators, will be wired for communication. A hardwired system is more suitable for a new build, while wireless building automation components are ideal for use in new buildings and existing buildings. Using wireless building automation components can reduce the time and labor involved in a retrofit scenario, and can eliminate obstacles within the existing building’s design that can make wiring a system difficult.

The payback period for installing building automation systems is favorable. With the energy savings these systems help buildings achieve, return on investment can be met between 2 and 10 years in most scenarios. The return period is wide due to the options available in energy efficient building design; the type of system installed, the building application, and the building’s needs all factor into determining the right system for the commercial space.