Workman’s IBOS drives energy savings across 4m sq ft24 May 2023
Workman’s IBOS drives energy savings across 4m sq ft24 May 2023
Workman has partnered with clients to roll out its Intelligent Building Operating System (IBOS) across more than 4 million sq ft of commercial space. Results prove the power of smart tech to immediately improve building performance.
This is particularly pertinent in the context of spiralling energy prices, the climate emergency and hybrid working patterns that have made traditional operating practices deeply inefficient. Clients adopting the technology include Blackrock, Columbia Threadneedle and Federated Hermes.
- 270,000kWh (15%) annual energy savings at a 140,000 sq ft Bristol site
- £269,000 annual cost savings at a 90,000 sq ft Uxbridge office scheme
- 150 tonnes annual carbon savings at a 90,000 sq ft central London office
- Wellbeing benefits for occupants
Workman is a commercial property management and building consultancy firm. Recognising that energy efficiency, indoor air quality and carbon reduction are priorities for property owners and occupiers, Workman partnered with Bubll Automation to develop a digital platform to automate and optimise building performance. After 18 months of development and testing in buildings with different levels of infrastructure and technology, Workman launched its Intelligent Building Operating System (IBOS) in May 2021. There is growing demand for technological solutions, as property owners and occupiers face rising energy costs and challenging climate goals.
Installing the system
IBOS typically takes around two days to install, with data accessible within two weeks and energy savings of at least 15% usually identified within the first three months. Now installed in more than 50 buildings across the UK, the system has proved commercially viable in spaces as small as 3,600 sq ft, as large as 200,000 sq ft and in vacant and fully occupied units. As it does not require buildings to have an existing Building Management System (BMS), it works across buildings with different infrastructure levels and allows data from whole portfolios to be managed on one central platform. The technology is supported by experts who provide monthly reports highlighting opportunities to further improve building performance, including changes to building systems sequences and rules. This support is key to ongoing savings.
Driving energy savings
Across properties where IBOS has been installed so far, average reductions in energy consumption of 20-40% have been recorded within the first 12 months.
The most significant savings in the first year usually came from identifying buildings ‘going rogue’ when occupants were not using them. In one 90,000 sq ft London office, after the system identified an out-of-hours energy spike, optimisation rules implemented to the central plant cut energy use by 27%, saving around £200,000 per year and cutting carbon by 150 tonnes.
Similarly, optimising out-of-hours energy demand in an Uxbridge office was key to cutting energy consumption by 28%, saving an estimated £460,000 per year.
Without access to 24/7 monitoring and analytics, it is easy to miss these savings opportunities.
The system offers occupiers access to an app that allows them to control temperatures and lighting for wellbeing, as well as providing air quality information. Workman is installing air quality sensors as part of the IBOS rollout. These link directly into IBOS, allowing building teams to create rules based on air quality, rather than pumping out a standardised ratio of fresh air per sq ft. This is not only positive for wellbeing, but also for energy efficiency as when fewer people are using a space, best-practice air quality can be maintained without equipment working to the maximum.
- Return on investment is usually achieved within two to six months of the initial report, as optimisation rules are applied. This payback period is speeding up as energy costs rise.
- 15% typical savings on energy costs, reaching up to 60% in some buildings.
- Annual cost savings have proven to be as much as £270,000 – reducing energy bills as quickly as possible for clients and occupiers – while mitigating against soaring energy costs.
- Across those properties where IBOS is installed so far, average reductions in energy consumption of 20-40% have been recorded within the first 12 months – improving operational efficiency.
- 166 tonnes of annual carbon savings were recorded at one site – empowering clients and occupiers to meet net zero carbon targets.
- Wellbeing benefits for occupants, enhancing air quality, thermal comfort, and lighting, efficiently.
- Contributing to GRESB submissions for clients and occupiers.
- Supporting leasing, with agents using the occupier app as a tool to sell workspace.
- Facilitating collaboration between property owners and occupiers in managing workplaces.
Challenges and Achievements
How to overcome misperceptions?
Many clients have a misperception that smart systems are expensive and therefore only viable for trophy assets. Workman shared data with clients on energy, cost and carbon from trials to prove that the IBOS system is affordable for whole portfolios – in buildings of different sizes, asset values and occupancy levels, including vacant and fully occupied buildings. As more buildings have come online, this data has become stronger and it is even easier for clients to see the benefits.
Some maintenance companies were concerned that the system was going to show them up. In reality, it gives them the data to optimise commercial buildings, which are often highly complex, with multiple, legacy platforms for heating, cooling, lighting, access, and safety.
More targeted maintenance and the ability to discover issues without maintenance workers necessarily having to visit site can improve profit margins and allow Facilities Management (FM) businesses to put their teams where they can make a real difference. Workman has spent time growing relationships with a range of FM partners, successfully collaborating in different buildings and across a variety of BMS platforms, in addition to IBOS.
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