Tuesday, 13 August 2013

How You Can Use Your Access Control System to Save Money

No, I'm not talking about the savings you make through reduced thefts of your property; but a clever way of integrating your access control system with your heating system.

The key is in being able to extract data from the access control system’s usage. Many systems used in large office, commercial or public buildings will store their usage data within a linked database. The idea is to extract this data and create graphs to show the activity within each room against the time and day of the week. You can then get an idea of which rooms are unoccupied at what times of the week. Then, you simply calibrate the heating such that when rooms are unused, they’re not heated.

The approach will not only significantly reduce your heating costs but is also a great way to improve sustainability. What’s more, it’ll look particularly impressive as it’s such an out-of-the-box solution in an area that can be quite difficult to improve & devise initiatives for.

A way to take this even further is to use a Building Energy Management System (BEMS). This approach is particularly useful for large buildings & organisations where the number of thermostats that need to be changed each day makes all those cost savings disappear into maintenance wages.

BEMS were designed to be more of a self-contained system that monitors temperature and other indicators throughout a building and respond accordingly. However, with clever use of databases and a little computer know-how you can automatically feed the BEMS the data from your access control system. The next step is to program the BEMS to apply heat loss algorithms to calculate the minimum amount of heat required for a building, based on which rooms are used when. The BEMS will also need to factor in routines; if an occupied or unoccupied room doesn't fit a developing pattern then the anomaly should be ignored.