There was a time when Facilities Management was simply electrical sockets, lighting, reception desk and ‘nut to cup’ coffee machines.
Those days are long gone. We now have Intelligent Buildings, Building Management Systems, Circadian LED lighting with Dali controls, PIR, CCTV, Wi-Fi, Li-Fi, Remote Powering and IoT.
There are even mysterious things called ‘Intelligent Break-Out Areas with Perch Benches’, but we still have ‘nut to cup’ coffee.
The fact is that technology has now encroached on all aspects of the office environment and for the better, if it is installed, monitored and controlled correctly.
Intelligent Buildings, IBM state’ “help facility managers and space planners improve occupancy, utilisation and employee productivity. From IoT devices and occupant behaviours, it generates actionable insights to optimise the entire real estate portfolio.”
Building Management Systems are regularly implemented in projects with extensive mechanical, HVAC, and electrical systems i.e. the high energy usage components of a building. BEMS are computer-based systems that allow the Facilities Team to manage the environment from a single location.
In addition to controlling the building's internal environment, BEMS systems can also be linked to security systems such as access door controls, CCTV, motion detectors, fire alarm systems and lifts.
LED bulbs last much longer than other bulbs. Traditional Compact Fluorescent Bulbs are expected to give out light for around 10,000 hours, whereas LEDs can last 60,000 hours. Despite being a little more expensive than other types, LED bulbs provide a quick return on investment because of the lower cost in power and their durability.
Cost savings can be up to 80% of your ‘year on year’ lighting costs. Buckingham Palace has trimmed Her Majesty’s onerous household budget in exactly this way.
An additional benefit of using these high-efficiency visible-light LEDs is that localised lighting can be powered using Category 6A UTP cabling capable of delivering 100W of power. Called ‘Remote Powering’ (or PoE by some) this means that your lighting, CCTV, computers, audio-visual equipment and IP telephones can all be supplied by the same cable type by the same contractor – an economy of scale cost saving and a very flexible solution.
IP (Internet Protocol) enabled LEDs future proof your building ready for Li-Fi - it will be a replacement for, or an addition to Wi-Fi. Li-Fi uses light to deliver wireless communications at higher speeds to ‘light sensitive’ devices.
A DALI Lighting control system is versatile and highly beneficial if you're looking for a system that helps save energy and costs and does not compromise in terms of utilisation and efficiency. This system will adjust the amount of light in areas of your building according to your needs and preferences and when a PIR motion detection system is also used then no light need ever be left on.
The Internet of Things
IoT is a network of devices in a building that feed data back to the Facilities Team directly or to a BEMS system. IoT data assists the Facilities Team in making informed decisions to better optimise the building environment and reduce costs.
British Standard BS EN15232-1:2017, ‘Energy Performance of Buildings. Impact of Building Automation, Controls and Building Management’, highlights that the convergence of all aspects of building environment control can result in significant energy savings, e.g. more than 50% for thermal energy usage in an office (Class A compliant vs. Class D).
It is essential that network security is not compromised. All contractors involved in these new initiatives must abide by all common network security principles. ThePrimary Contractor must be given responsibility for liaising with the in-house IT security team and then imposing the rules upon all involved.
IoT devices should be treated in the same high-risk category as laptops and mobile devices with controls put around them and this can only be done at the network level.
GCL Building Technologies have a proven track record of delivering sustainable end-to-end smart intra-structure solutions that harness new and innovative technology. We cover a wide variety of industry sectors including construction, commercial, private and property management.
We are driven by a highly skilled team of industry experts with over 30 years of experience in delivering exemplary Smart Building technology. These skills will align all your specific business requirements, keeping you at the forefront of the latest technologies to improve productivity and performance.
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