Buildings IoT

The First Two Things You Should Know Before Starting a BAS Project in NYC

By Matt White | March 29, 2018


For all of its reputation and glamour, New York City may be best defined by its skyline. The buildings that fill in the grid like a 5,000-piece puzzle are icons even if you don’t know their names or what the people inside of them are doing. And remarkably, on the 304-square-mile island there are always more buildings working their way up toward the horizon line, like these beauties expected to be complete by 2021.

With that backdrop, NYC is an incredible place to embark on a building automation or controls project. What presents the most opportunity for building owners, contractors and tenants in the city are the older buildings that don’t get as much attention. About half of all commercial buildings in the United States were constructed before 1980. To drill down into the age of New York City’s buildings alone, turn to this incredible technicolor map. It puts NYC in line with the national numbers and it’s fun to zoom in and see the surprising bursts of hot pink noting a building here and there that is nearly 200 years old.

That large inventory of rather old buildings is where building automation and energy management projects can thrive. A lot has changed in building and energy management just in the past 10 years, let alone the last three to five decades. New York City happens to be an incredible place to start improving that existing stock of old buildings that no longer operate like they should.

These are the first two things you should know before you grab that bull by the horns and get to work on a building automation project in the city.

1.) Find the right partners

The right partner can not only keep the job moving, they can present opportunities you didn’t even know about. Enter NYSERDA, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. They’re tasked with promoting energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources across the state. Don’t worry, this isn’t a fad group that just cropped up and may be out of money by the time you get around to opening their web page. NYSERDA has been governed by a 13-member board providing objective information and analysis, technical expertise and support across the buildings industry since 1975. They have a long list of programs and services for customers and vendors. OTI was recently certified for their Real Time Energy Management (RTEM) Program, so we can bring up to 30% in project discounts by using this program.

2.) Consider the cloud

Many building owners may have a nagging feeling that their building systems are outdated or not performing like they could be if they were utilizing more advanced technology. But those same building owners are likely not willing or able to authorize the gutting of an entire system based on a hunch. So contractors and integrators would be wise to start small. Focus on one system or desired outcome and prioritize. Once you get beyond the basics of repairing and replacing parts that are clearly malfunctioning, cloud-based monitoring can open valuable windows into the operation of the system. These systems – which typically offer real-time views and various analytics – can show you what devices are causing problems, so you can more easily make the case for work to be done.

*Skyline photo by Matheu Slotero on Flickr

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