Bachelor's thesis Kevin-Jan Groß


Cost distribution in building automation systems

Cost distribution Copyright: EBC Cost distribution in building automation systems

Integration of building automation systems allows a reduction of costs and energy of approximately 20 % during the operation phase. However, automatic, intelligent systems are spread in only a quarter of European building stock. This situation is transferable to Germany. The low spread of building automation, despite the possible savings, can be explained by the uncertainty regarding its amortisation. This fact may be caused by the lack of information about the cost structure of those systems. It is necessary to show the potential cost savings to increase the spread of these systems and as a consequence enhance the energetic saving profits. The potential cost savings are determined by analysing the cost structure of German building automation systems over the three periods of their lifecycle.

The lifecycle is divided into three periods: Planning, construction and operation. The periods’ costs are examined by the study of literature. Due to the fact that specific expenses mentioned by the references are not directly comparable, potential factors that drive costs upwards are deduced by an examination of the context in which they may arise. Since contemporary publications are missing, further obstacles for the investigation of current real costs emerge. Hence, a survey, which was send to planners, manufacturers and providers of building information systems, has been developed. The results were analysed with the help of descriptive statistics and fitting diagrams. Because only 8 of 47 questionnaires have been returned, the representativeness of the statistical analysis is limited.

Overall, the results show that staff expenses display the major expenditures in every period. The planning period is exclusively defined by staff costs. Their quantity in the construction period comes to 60 %. Service is characterized by 90 % and maintenance by 80 % staff expenses of the prevailing total costs. Furthermore, the analysis shows that costs and saving potentials depend on the building type. Retrofits are expected to cause higher costs but also to generate more savings. A divided, separate planning seems to be a cost driver throughout the whole realization of building automation systems. This can be explained by missing synergies and difficult installation as well as integration of the automation devices. Another cost driver is the absence of comprehensive standardization. If devices are connected in heterogeneous systems, the lack of standards causes high integration costs. Literature differs in statements about possible savings. This induces problems in the context of estimating the length of the amortisation period.

This thesis indicates that staff costs can primarily be reduced by automatized planning processes, especially during the period of construction and operation by automating the programming and implementation processes. Wireless plug and play devices can decrease execution costs nearly to the amount of staff costs. Integrative planning procedures, supported by building information modeling software, prove to be another unused potential. A widespread standardisation of building automation can simplify the development and improve the comparability during awarding and invitation to tender. Finally, this will raise the competition between building automation companies.

Future research projects should develop and evaluate wireless plug and play devices. A profound standardization can provide cost comparability as well as easier development and implementation. Regarding the potential savings, more detailed studies are required. Explicit knowledge of the amortisation duration can enhance the interest of building automation customers.