Is an Energy Management System Right for Your Building?
Is an Energy Management System Right for Your Building or Business?
As the owner of a medium-size contracting business in Mesa, AZ I know as well as the next entrepreneur that keeping operating expenses as low as possible equals a healthy bottom line.
As the owner of both a commercial building which I lease back to my contracting business, as well as vacation rental homes, I know as well as the next building owner or property manager that keeping my utility costs low means more money my businesses get to keep instead of giving it to the power company.
My company, Magic Touch Mechanical, has been providing HVAC & energy efficiency improvements to both commercial and residential clients in Phoenix, AZ for more than two decades so I get the opportunity to talk to a lot of people about their energy use, how much their monthly power bill is, business hours of operation, building occupancy, etc.
Most of the building owners, property managers, and even business owners renting via a triple net lease (tenant is responsible for all maintenance and utility costs) I talk to, never realized not only how quickly they can significantly lower their operating costs, but that there is rebate money available to fund the improvements that are very easy to qualify for.
While there are many improvements that fall into this category, this post is specifically about controlling your building’s lighting, HVAC systems, and other plug-loads (any appliance, computer, lamp, etc. that is plugged into the wall) with an Energy Management System (EMS) or Building Automation System (BAS), also sometimes referred to as a Building Management System (BMS).
If you think these types of systems are only for huge businesses and buildings, and not affordable for a small building, think again. Magic Touch designs and installs Energy Management Systems for many small to medium size buildings in applications like: Churches, day care centers, restaurants, office buildings, even HOA clubhouses.
EMS technology today is more affordable and easier to manage today than it ever has been.
Imagine having full control of all the air conditioning systems, lighting, appliances, and other electronics from your living room, or while on a cruise from your smart phone. Imagine, when 1/3 of your staff leave their offices, their lights and workstation power down automatically, and A/C automatically raises the temperature – but the occupied areas stay operational.
Advancements in wireless technology have significantly decreased the installation costs of energy management systems in recent years. One of the biggest advancements is the ability for every occupancy sensor, thermostat, lighting control, and other sensors to communicate with each other wirelessly creating what’s known as a “wireless mesh”. This wireless mesh means these sensors no longer have to be “daisy chained” or hard-wired to each other in order to communicate back with the central command unit. Removing this additional labor and material cost puts the upfront costs of a EMS or BMS within reach of small business owners.
Another benefit of an energy managing system that uses wireless mesh is, increased reliability. When one component loses its communication with the next, it “hunts” for the next closest sensor. Think of this like a string of modern Christmas tree lights, when one fails the rest keep working – only unlike a string of lights, when a sensor on an EMS goes down (or say an AC unit fails) you know right away, and can even set it up to send an E-mail or text alert to you…and even one to Magic Touch Mechanical if you want!
How much money can a small business save by installing an Energy Management System?
The square footage of a building, number of HVAC units, building use, occupancy, plug loads to be controlled, etc. all play a role in energy savings, total investment, utility rebates, and return on investment – all of which starts with a consultation. But to put things into perspective, in many cases, the energy savings can be greater than 25%, the EMS can be financed with the money saved from the reduction in monthly utility costs, and return on investment can be in as little as 2-3 years – after which that savings continues to go to the bottom line every month.
Plus, if you use a company like Magic Touch Mechanical, a SRP Energy Efficiency Alliance approved contractor, and APS approved contractor to install an energy management system in your building, you can also qualify for cash rebates to further accelerate the payback period.
But the initial question remains; is an energy management system right for your building?
I’ve included a few criteria below that will help you determine if an energy management system is right for your building or not…BUT, keep in mind, even if an EMS is not right for your application, a more basic control system more than likely is. And, there are commercial business rebates available for even basic smart thermostats ($150 per thermostat from SRP for example).
If your building meets any of these criteria an energy management system is probably right for you:
- SRP or APS is your power company (outside the Phoenix, AZ area check with your local utility to find out about EMS and other energy efficiency rebates)
- Churches, restaurants, bars, office buildings, day care centers, community centers, manufacturing facilities, call centers
- Buildings 5,000 square feet or larger
- Buildings with a lot of occupants during business hours
- Buildings with 8 or more HVAC units
- Buildings with high energy usage
Magic Touch Mechanical has been installing energy management systems in Phoenix, AZ and nearby cities for over 20-years! Check out our service area to find out if Magic Touch Mechanical provides services in your area, and if you would like to schedule a consultation with us to see if an Energy Management System is right for your building, Contact Us today!