Integrating “Smart” Technologies into Your Design-Build is a Must

Smart technologies that address the growing desire for decreased operating costs, a reduction in energy consumption, and improved equipment life cycles are essential as food processors pursue LEED-certification. Partnering with a design-build engineering firm can bring energy-efficiency options and alternatives to the table during the design phase, prior to facility construction.

“The knowledge and experience of a design team in integrating smart technologies at the forefront of the process is fundamental if the end-user is going to benefit from these technologies,” says Timothy Gibbons, Vice President of Design for ESI Group USA. “These technologies are relatively easy to integrate at the front end of a building project, and almost impossible to do once the building is constructed and operational. At that point, installing the necessary sensors, modules, and equipment is time consuming, expensive, and difficult. As a result, only smaller monitoring systems would be possible.”

One smart technology that is drawing attention from the food industry is a Building Management System (BMS) or also called a Building Automation System (BAS). Research and Markets experts predict the global market for this technology will reach $155 billion by 2026, up from $58 billion just three years ago. While both involve hardware and software, a BMS is a computer-based control system that monitors and controls a building’s mechanical and electrical equipment such as power systems, ventilation, security, elevators, lighting, and fire systems.

The Savings Add Up

These integration systems come with upfront costs for installing the hardware and software and the potential to add time to the construction schedule. However, integrated smart technologies can provide convenience by providing a one-stop-shop for building control and systems monitoring. “For example, rather than having to monitor each HVAC unit, integration of all units into one platform for control and monitoring is exceptionally efficient, leading to a reduction in energy usage, maintenance, and potential staff,” says Gibbons.

As a critical component of managing energy demand, systems (i.e., HVAC, water heaters, and space heating systems) linked to a BMS typically represent 40% of a building’s energy usage; if the lighting is included, this number reaches upwards to 70%. MarketWatch reported that the average net energy savings per installation of these systems in 2016 was about 36% for cooling, ventilation, space heating, and water heating; and 23% for lighting. This reduced energy consumption is also beneficial toward achieving LEED certification.

BMS can also be part of a proactive maintenance tracking program. The systems can monitor how a piece of equipment is operating, alert to performance degradation, provide diagnostic information, and track the maintenance record for a particular piece of equipment. “Typically, the convenience and ease of maintaining the building systems for the life of the building outweighs the initial upfront costs associated with the planning and installation. All of these advantages add to life of building cost savings,” says Gibbons.

ESI can help clients run a cost-benefit analysis to determine the return on investment of implementing a BMS. Experienced mechanical and electrical engineers who are knowledgeable about these systems can offer guidance on how best to integrate a BMS for an individual project.

Quick Facts:

  • The global Building Management System (BMS) market could reach $155 billion by 2026.
  • Systems linked to a BMS typically represent 40% of a building’s energy use.
  •  A BMS can save about 36% for cooling, ventilation, space heating, and water heating; and 23% for lighting.

Client Testimonial:

“We are pleased to have partnered with a firm that shares similar values and a vision to be THE LEADER in customer service.  To date, this is our second project with ESI Group USA and I look forward to working together for our future facility needs.”

– William Feld, D&G Transportation

Join our eNewsletter

Get industry trends and insights for food facility design and construction quarterly.