The smartest people in the commercial real estate industry agree–if we really got energy efficiency in buildings right using smart building technologies, corporations could save so much money that there would be little need for solar panels or windmills. While most experts are still strong supporters of these alternative energy sources, they agree that extreme energy efficiency measures could have very dramatic positive results.
On the other hand, there are an increasing number of people who are growing disenchanted with the energy efficiency movement. It is not that they are against the idea, it just seems like it is an “all or nothing” proposition, and one of the major aspects of smart building technologies is the impact they can have on OPERATIONS and TENANT SAFETY/SATISFACTION as well as energy efficiency–which solar panels and windmills don’t offer.
In our world of buildings, a world that impacts us every time we enter an office, mall, school or sporting venue, and an environment that requires a great degree of operational support, why totally ignore the operational benefits, financial and human productivity possibilities, and tenant safety/satisfaction potential of intelligent, connected, high performance smart buildings?
This new generation of smart buildings, in which an IT infrastructure is laid on top of a building and every electro-mechanical device is IP enabled and connected with the ability to send data and be controlled, can provide energy savings and a WHOLE LOT MORE. The concept of centralized portfolio control with dramatically reengineered workflow, combined with advanced data analytics and visualization, could have an equal (if not greater) impact on the operational and tenant satisfaction bottom line of a building when comparing energy efficiency and savings.
Building owners care a lot about the costs of running a building. If these state of the art concepts and technologies can significantly reduce operating costs, why not exploit that fact? These details should be included in the overall strategy when cost-justifying the retrofitting of existing buildings. It makes sense to look at every aspect of these intelligent and smart buildings. Go through the front door with energy efficiency but, by no means stop there; operational efficiency and tenant satisfaction will round out the complete justification for making smart building investments.
One small, yet interesting example of this approach would be the management of fire extinguishers. Despite more technology in an iPhone than we had on the first space launch, we continue each month to walk every square foot of our buildings in search of a fire extinguisher with a small paper card attached and a hole to punch. With some pretty basic smart building technology, we can connect those fire extinguishers to a network and monitor them in real time, with almost no future financial investment. This also has a good sustainability aspect, as we are not using natural resources to transport humans in their search for cards to punch.
Another area relevant to smart building technology with a very fast payback is digital signage. Despite the fact that the hardware and technology costs have become very competitive, we continue to rely on analog solutions to communicate information in our lobbies. If you look at the cost and process, with multiple people and methods of getting a tenant’s name up on a lobby sign, it is a very inefficient way to communicate tenant information. In addition to a simple tenant directory, digital signage can also offer advertising (potential revenues), and fire life safety information in the event of an emergency.
Many different areas of a building’s operations would benefit greatly from automation: HVAC, lighting, security/access, energy, fire/life/safety, lifts, water management, landscaping/irrigation, audio visual, digital signage, parking, voice/data and more.
If we truly want to take our buildings to the next level of sophistication and take advantage of all available technologies, then start thinking of the three categories that make a smart building–energy efficiency and conservation, operational efficiency, tenant safety and satisfaction. If we include all of these categories in our financial justification models, it becomes a much easier decision to retrofit and move our buildings into the 21st century.
Presently the organizations have been aiming at efficient ways and procedures to attain more with less, reducing IT expenses and even minimize the incidental costs associated with data center growth and expansion. In today’s competitive market scenario data center managers need to focus on establishing effective operating environments to support the life of the existing data centers. There are numerous ways in which companies can attain data center efficiency and is inclusive of setting up a cold aisle containment system, efficient utilization of outside air and maximize compute densities. The main component however is to maintain a comprehensive metric system to evaluate how efficient is the data center and what are the efficiency enhancements that have been created.
How to estimate data center energy efficiency?
PUE, i.e. power usage effectiveness is one of the most common metrics used for calculating data center energy efficiency. It is calculated by taking into account the overall power consumption of the data center facility and then dividing it by the power consumed by the devices. The ratio that you arrive at is the effective power overhead for a single IT unit load. Most data center managers today are expected to find out ways to reduce the PUE so that the data centers can find a better way to expand.
A better way to expand is by partnering with a data center solution provider that will free organizations from all the worries of establishing and maintaining critical mission IT architecture. Advanced data center today fulfill all the needs for cloud computing services, shared hosting services, dedicated hosting services, collocation services and other security and firewall solutions. In addition to that, the organizations remain secure and well supported 24 x 7 with advanced facilities and industry leading SLAS.
Furthermore, these solution providers offer you the various ways to bring about a change and enhancement in data center energy efficiency. Two essential ways are:-
Minimizing the power that is used for the support infrastructure
Minimizing losses within the power system
By following the above mentioned ways you can ensure greater power entering the data center thereby improving its energy efficiency and reducing the PUE. At the same time, it is critical for an organization to bring down the power system losses and the power utilized for supporting infrastructure. Concurrently, it is also apparent that the mass power consumption in the data center gets transferred to the IT load. If an organization can bring down the IT load then it can naturally reduce the overall power required in the data center.