The North American building automation market is expected to grow slightly over the next few years with virtually no growth from new building construction in the office building space, according to a new report from BCS Partners. After a significant pullback in 2009, the market is not expected to reach its pre-crisis levels until 2012.
The building control systems enterprise market, consisting of all building control functions including performance contracting and facilities management, will grow 2 percent in 2010, reaching more than $8 billion with growth driven by larger enterprises, according to the BCS/2010 report. Products in this category include actuators, valves, sensors/transmitters and controllers.
“Energy efficiency is the underlying driver for the building controls business since the ‘Energy Crisis’ of 1973,” says Terry McMahon, consultant for BCS Partners. “Most building controls suppliers, however, have moved on to other topics assuming that energy-cost savings will provide the bulk of the justification for improved control.”
The report finds that existing building retrofits, which account for about 70-75 percent of the market, are not growing as fast as they should primarily because smaller building owners are not aware of the benefits of building automation controls. The study also reveals that a good percentage of smaller buildings have little or no advanced building automation systems in place or even planned. As a result, BCS analysts recommend that suppliers spend more of their marketing dollars on educating building owners on the benefits of automation.
In comparison, larger buildings, campuses and national franchises typically have on-staff engineers and analysts that can implement available technology to reduce costs. Emerging technologies such as wireless data sensors and transmitters are making positive headway in the market due to their energy-efficient management coupled with greater savings in comfort, productivity and preventive maintenance, according to the report.
Another finding shows that the focus on total building operation and maintenance were only included in the business plans of the largest manufacturers until recently when smaller companies started to look at new technologies.
In 2009, many small to large businesses found that they could significantly cut their energy costs by implementing new technologies that monitor their energy use and deliver faster payoffs in investments. And despite the recession many building owners moved forward with their renovation and new building plans to incorporate energy-saving and eco-friendly upgrades including building automation control system to save money in the long-term.
BCS expects the fastest growth rates to come from heath care and educational buildings followed by commercial buildings. Office buildings will lag behind.