• Building Energy Management
  • Intelligent Buildings
  • Energy Efficiency

Energy Conservation Measures and the Procurement Process

Tom Machinchick
Mar 08, 2019

Smart Building

If you have been in the buildings industry for any amount of time, you have heard of the problem of operating building equipment in a silo—or, in other words, independent of all other building systems. Efficiencies can be gained by implementing energy conservation measures on any particular system. 

When operating a building component in a silo, individual system gains can be on the order of 5%-15% in energy savings. Through coordinated operation of all building systems, however, savings up to 35% or more can be gained. Siloed systems can often step on the actions taken by other building systems that are trying to operate more efficiently. In contrast, when systems are integrated and work together toward a common efficiency goal, operational actions taken by one system do not degrade performance of other systems in the same building or setting. 

Where the Benefits of Holistic Operation Can be Foiled

Although many in the buildings industry know and understand the benefits of holistic operation of building equipment, there are areas where this intent can be foiled. This includes the task of procurement of systems.

Procurement is an area where unintentional disconnects can occur in the purchase of equipment for an intelligent building project. Many times, individual components of a system intended to be a holistic implementation are purchased separately. Price and other factors such as familiarity with certain pieces of equipment can influence the purchase of sensors, mechanical equipment, security systems, and the like. Implementers working on the project at times will look at each individual component as a separate purchase item and choose based on factors other than the holistic implementation that was intended. This does not always happen, but when it does, the project can be less effective than it was designed to be. Not only in operations, but also prior to operations during the integration of the procured components within the building. 

Commercial building projects need to have vigilance throughout the project process to assure that system being implemented will work as designed and intended. Carefully specifying and procuring the system are important components of the overall process and must be done with consideration of the end goal, which is a building that works holistically and optimally throughout its life.