Owner system

Schneider Electric: When to upgrade your building management system

Rob Bier is CEO and Director of TM Bier, a Master-level EcoXpert ™ BMS.

Modern building management systems (BMS) enable superior integration between intelligent systems, including operating technology (OT) and information technology (IT) systems. They also maintain heating, cooling and ventilation specifications, monitor independent power supplies, and support energy conservation and emergency response procedures.

We at TM Bier & Associates ̶ a Schneider Electric EcoXpert partner based in the New York area, specializing in the design, installation and integration of HVAC, lighting, security and building automation ̶ are often asked to consult with building owners on the best ways to upgrade their existing Building Management Systems (BMS).

For many building owners, the prospect of retrofitting their aging BMS is stressful. They know they will have to shut down large air handling units or chillers, cooling towers and / or pumps to switch from a set of building controls next. Such actions, if poorly planned, can disrupt tenants and generate more downtime costs than expected.

Key indicators that should lead to changes in the building management system

One of the biggest questions many building owners face is when is the right time to invest in a building management system upgrade. We’ve compiled a quick list of some indicators of change to look for.

Indicator # 1. The serviceability of the current building management system becomes more of a problem

One of our Manhattan-based clients has been using the same building management system for over 30 years. The controllers installed there were discontinued by the manufacturer several years ago. They can no longer buy new compatible controllers from the manufacturer, or find someone to service their existing controllers. If the system experiences a major failure, they risk losing most, if not all, of their tenants. They face an ongoing high level of risk and cost-effective maintenance of their building management system is no longer an option.

Even locations that have not yet reached such an extreme situation can suffer from high maintenance costs that continue to increase over time as the building management system ages. They also tend to experience more frequent and longer downtime. These are all clear warning signs that an immediate upgrade is needed.

Indicator # 2. Decrease in the market value of your installation

In today’s market, many large and medium-sized tenants pay specialist consultants to closely investigate a property before signing a lease. They want to know the detailed history of improvements to construction infrastructure. They are also interested in the condition of air conditioning, ventilation and lighting systems. The building management system is a big part of this assessment as they know it is a key indicator of tenant comfort, indoor air quality, temperature control and energy consumption. Buildings with outdated building management systems are likely to quickly drop from the list of tenant construction prospects under consideration.

New building management systems also make a building smarter and help the building deliver features that attract a younger workforce to a modern digital workplace. Equipment such as optical recognition for entry into spaces and lights and blinds that automatically darken to save money energy and optimizing lighting comfort help stimulate demand. An updated building management system is essential for smart building and can help homeowners maintain a higher price per square foot.

Indicator # 3. Availability of existing financial incentives for new building management systems

In recent years, more aggressive incentives and discounts for utilities have been offered to building owners. Several years ago, a utility or government affiliate funded 10-20% of a building management system installation project. But now we are seeing funding rates of 50-70% of the whole building management system project. These programs tend to be offered on a temporary basis and, if modernization is delayed, building owners may miss this substantial funding option and may have to wait years until the next funding round is available. At TM Bier, we are familiar with these programs and have extensive experience advising building owners on how to take full advantage of these and other financial incentives.

For more information

In many buildings today, an increased risk of failure of building management systems and Powerful the equipment they control is simply not acceptable. In a financial brokerage firm, for example, the disruption of the electrical systems of the building infrastructure can impact the core business and lead to huge financial losses induced by downtime. In a hospital, the impact can affect patient outcomes. This is especially true in intensive care areas such as operating theaters where a reliable supply of clean, purified air is crucial.

Building management system facilities should be built on excellent products. And most importantly, they need to be backed by a strong partner who knows how to install and support the BMS. Look for a partner who:

  • Has extensive installation experience and knowledge

  • Offers a dedicated and responsive staff

  • Provides a full range of assistance throughout the installation

  • Provides service and maintenance capabilities long after installation is complete.

When investing in a BMS upgrade, the brand of system you select can also make a big difference in how long that system can provide reliable service. Bear in mind that some brands will only support their installed controllers for five or six years while other manufacturers, like Schneider Electric, maintain their controllers for much longer periods of time. Brands with shorter coverage periods will force building owners to consider upgrading sooner or face increased risk of downtime. The reliability, innovation, and longevity of components and software all play an important role in helping building owners decide when to upgrade their BMS.

To learn more about how and when to upgrade and improve the performance of smart buildings, visit us at TM Bier & Associates or consult the Schneider Electric web pages.

EcoXpert partnership program

Interested in knowing more about the EcoXpert Partnership program? Visit the EcoXpert website for more details on the benefits of our business partners program.

Learn more about TM Bier & Associates, Inc.

TM Bier & Associés, Inc. (TMBA) was established in 1977 in Long Island, NY. Since then, the company has grown into the New York metro area’s premier independent automated building management systems engineering company. The design and installation of HVAC systems, lighting control systems, security systems and various industrial controls are only part of the solution TM Bier provides to its customers.

TM Bier uses the most advanced technology on the market in the design, installation, monitoring and maintenance of HVAC systems and controls, lighting controls, security systems and various industrial controls.

TMBA offers high quality building automation systems engineering solutions and services backed by decades of experience; the type of experience that many prestigious properties in the North East have relied on.

TM Bier is a Master-level EcoXpert BMS and is also certified as an Access Control EcoXpert.