Sunday, July 8, 2007

Minding intelligent buildings: Is your IT group ready?

Standalone BA systems often work against each other, explains Ron Zimmer, president of the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA), an Ottawa-based industry group. Lighting systems, for example, are major energy hogs. About 70% of the energy they consume is produced as heat, not light — which is the last thing you want in summer, as air conditioning systems will kick in to cool the environment, thus wasting yet more energy. Connecting lighting and HVAC systems to an IT management system can cut energy costs by a third by harvesting lighting's heat in winter and reducing lighting in summer when more sunlight is available.

Integrating BA with IT systems that monitor and modulate environmental factors improves a building's operational efficiency and can have healthy effects on a business' bottom line. Of the total costs incurred during an average building's 50-year lifespan, about 50% are operating costs, says Zimmer. Fully integrated BA systems can cut those by half, thereby increasing the value of the building, says Claude Boudriau, global program manager at BA vendor Honeywell International's Montreal office. (Honeywell plans to show off its next-generation building design in new headquarters scheduled to be built in Toronto in 2008.) Research also suggests tenant retention rates are about 4% higher. ....Minding intelligent buildings: Is your IT group ready? | Innovation | Canadian Business Online

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