Workers use automation to manage the physical plant of a modern building.
Monty Rakusen

Adopting automated rather than manual building management systems can reduce energy consumption by 10 to 20 percent.

Building Automation Systems

Reduce SourcesElectricityEnhance Efficiency
Reduce SourcesBuildingsEnhance Efficiency
CO2 Equivalent
Reduced / Sequestered
Billion $US
Net First Cost
(To Implement Solution)
Trillion $US
Lifetime Net
Operational Savings
These systems can control heating, cooling, lighting, and appliances in commercial buildings. They cut emissions by maximizing energy efficiency and minimizing waste.

Solution Summary*

Energy courses through buildings—in heating and air-conditioning systems, electrical wiring, water heating, lighting, information and communications systems, security and access systems, fire alarms, elevators, appliances, and indirectly through plumbing. Most large commercial buildings have some form of centralized, computer-based building management, used to monitor, evaluate, and control those systems. Adopting automated rather than manual building management systems can reduce energy consumption by 10–20 percent.

A building automation system (BAS) is a building’s brain. Equipped with sensors, BAS buildings are constantly scanning and rebalancing for greatest efficiency and effectiveness. Lights switch off when no one’s around, for example, and windows vent to improve air quality and temperature. New buildings can be equipped with BAS from the start; older ones can be retrofitted to incorporate it and reap its benefits.

Beyond energy savings and reduced operations and maintenance costs, BAS benefits the well-being and productivity of people inside the building. Improved thermal and lighting comfort and indoor air quality directly impact occupant satisfaction. BAS is especially useful to ensure and maintain efficiency in green buildings, so that their ratings on paper match their actual performance.

* excerpted from the book, Drawdown

Building Automation Systems (BAS) can result in over 20 percent more efficient heating and cooling and 8 percent more efficient energy use for lighting, appliances, etc. Across the world, adoption range from close to 0 percent in some developing regions to over 75 percent in high-income countries. Expanding these adoptions significantly by mid-century—at an added cost of US$225–312 billion, building owners could save US$1.8–3.1 trillion in operating costs. Some 6.47–10.48 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions could be avoided.

Note: August 2021 corrections appear in boldface.