School districts constantly face the dilemma of balancing their budget across an operation that spans several buildings. Managing repairs, maintenance and resources can be a challenge, and improper management can lead to money lost unnecessarily to things such as inefficient use of power or water.
In this on-going balancing act, any tool that administrators and facilities teams use can provide significant leverage in terms of conserving time, money and resources. One such tool that has proven to be a valuable resource is the intelligent building - a building automation system that can help managers monitor ongoing maintenance needs, while allowing for more efficient resource usage through automating essential processes.
A growing trend
Today's Facility Manager reported data from IMS Research indicating that intelligent building systems are being embraced by more and more facilities teams. While the number of buildings being constructed with such systems from the get-go still remains small, the fact that more existing institutions are upgrading to intelligent buildings means that they have identified the cost-saving potential of such a system, with some districts already reporting significant and demonstrable savings.
According to data from SchoolDude, the St. Lucie County school district saw a savings of $7 million in energy costs over a seven-year period as a result of adopting an intelligent building system.
How can intelligent buildings help?
There are a few main benefits building automation can provide. One of the principle advantages is the ability to pre-plan essential building routines according to a schedule, making use of automation to maximize energy efficiency. Systems such as lighting and HVAC can be scheduled to run automatically, minimizing wasteful usage and cutting down on energy costs during periods where, for example, buildings aren't being occupied.
A critical alarm solution, such as the one offered by SchoolDude, can help automate the maintenance process to better effect as well. Such a system works with a building automation alarm to automatically send out work orders, adding to the efficiency of corrective maintenance management. All building alarms go through this building automation software, and are classified according to maintenance-defined parameters as nuisance alarms, reducing the money, time and resources spent on unnecessary repair operations; or are pushed through to the maintenance queue, with a work order automatically generated. This saves time on managing the paperwork and administrative side of repairs, and also provides a simple and centralized solution for tracking and following up on maintenance operations.