How a sustainable building management system can grow your profit potential

No matter what industry you’re in, you’ll no doubt be feeling the pressure to embrace sustainability. From farming to aviation to building management, businesses are being expected to adopt more sustainable practices in the name of environmental care and corporate responsibility.

But in an increasingly unpredictable economy, businesses also have to consider the financial implications of ‘going green’. While we all want to be more sustainable, everything has a cost. Keeping costs down is an important part of running a successful business.

The good news is sustainability and cost savings don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Buildings who invest (smartly) in more efficient and sustainable building management systems (BMS) can not only save money but make more money out of them.

The most obvious costs can be the hardest to cut

When looking to reduce costs in a business, it’s smart to look for the low hanging fruit. What is the most obvious and largest expense, and how can you cut it down?

For large commercial buildings, HVAC is the number one power user. Which means it’s also one of a building’s highest costs. Reducing power usage is one of the best ways buildings can reduce costs and improve sustainability at the same time. You’re killing two birds with one stone.

This isn’t news for most building management teams. So then, why aren’t more buildings succeeding at reducing their usage? There are some common reasons:

Using old systems

Older BMS are just not as energy efficient as their newer counterparts. They also don’t have the technology needed to measure usage, which is the first step to reduction. Unwillingness to invest in updates or upgrades leaves buildings with a system that drains money and power.

Using band-aid solutions

Investing in smaller, cheaper solutions (instead of investing in the higher cost, bigger saving opportunities) leaves buildings without any real long-term savings or real improvements.

Investing, but not in the right places

It’s not uncommon to see buildings fork out big bucks for a new BMS, but fail to budget for the sub-metering that they need to measure and reduce usage. As they say, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. And if you can’t manage it, you certainly can’t benefit from it.

Underestimating the importance of maintenance

You can have a new, sophisticated BMS and all the right measuring equipment. But if attached equipment isn’t properly maintained or kept tuned, it won’t perform properly or give accurate data – making the expensive BMS useless.

Focus on the long-term performance of your assets

A band-aid might be cheaper now, but it will fail to make a meaningful impact on expenditure. A bigger, smarter investment in building systems has the opportunity to lead to long-term, continuous value.

More importantly, a bigger investment in your BMS doesn’t necessarily mean a longer wait for ROI. On average, buildings have seen a return in as little as 2.5 years.

To achieve this, though, you need to determine which option is best for you. Having your essential building services provider or an external contractor look at your system is a good place to start. They can help you:

  • Understand efficiency vs. cost

Updating and improving your system can mean it gets worse before it gets better. You need to get it working properly, before doing the work to reduce the usage.

  • Consider your options

Sub-metering can be included in a new system, or CTs can be rented, added and removed to measure usage in a smaller timeframe. This can be a more affordable or less invasive option.

  • Think bigger

HVAC isn’t your only major cost. Investing in a system update can help reduce other major power costs, including lighting and chillers.

Look closely, invest well, think big

There are clearly social and environmental reasons to get behind sustainability. But when it comes down to it, investing in sustainability can also be a financially sound decision for commercial buildings.

The return you’ll receive on your investment is multifaceted. And it’s one of the best reasons to invest in cost reduction that also focuses on sustainability because it offers both direct savings and indirect profits.

Direct benefits

By investing properly in systems and management that will minimise power usage, you directly save cost off your bills. One major Victorian shopping centre who invested in better measurement and management of their system saved 12% in the first month – about $30,000. This continued, giving them an overall saving of hundreds of thousands of dollars over the year.

Indirect benefits

As sustainability becomes more important to consumers, corporate responsibility becomes more important to businesses that provide to them. Businesses that want to be seen as responsible, seek tenancies in buildings that prove that they are. Investment in sustainability can improve NABERs ratings, which ultimately becomes an investment in attracting premium tenants and premium rents.

If you’re going to financially benefit from improved sustainability, investing in the right system, measurements and management is key. TCM Solutions offers mechanical, electrical maintenance and fire safety services – well-rounded expertise they can use to help you optimise your entire building management system (and then some).

If you’re interested in monitoring, measuring and surveying your equipment to uncover more sustainable and cost-effective options, click here to contact the TCM Solutions team.

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