Power Access Management And Its Impact on Cost Savings

Thanks to inflation and ongoing budget constraints, facility managers everywhere are consistently challenged to do more with less. While there are no shortages of apps, products, programs, and expert advice to help you reduce operating costs, choosing the best options for both short- and long-term savings can be difficult.

In most buildings, HVAC systems and lighting are responsible for over 50% of a building’s monthly energy usage (HVAC: 35%; lighting: 17%)1. Since any reduction in energy usage is a win, most cost-saving initiatives focus on lowering energy costs. As a result, many owners and facility managers are planning to be, or are already, busy updating their building systems with new technology.

Unfortunately, the potential savings that a power access management system can provide for commercial buildings is often overlooked. For example, installing new technology will often require access to:

  • Plenums or attic spaces above the ceiling
  • Walls
  • Underground utilities

All of these modifications are expensive, time-consuming, and a huge inconvenience for employees or tenants.

Further complicating the power access management issue is the ongoing development and growth of the IoT (Internet of Things), which will allow for the automation of countless activities moving forward. As the number of smart cities continues to grow (Global CAGR of 14.9% through 20272), updating power and cabling systems could quickly become a top priority for facility management teams.

Countless buildings and facilities managers could benefit from an effective power access management system.

Choosing an Effective Power Access Management System

In most cases, the initial material and labor costs don’t provide a large enough ROI to make traditional raised flooring systems (computer floors) a practical solution for most existing commercial buildings. With the recommended minimum computer floor height being 6” above the slab, you can quickly find yourself having to alter every door, window, and staircase landing in the immediate and adjoining areas.

One solution that works for Fortune 500 companies and commercial building owners alike is a low-profile raised access flooring system (sometimes called a cable management floor or power access management floor). These systems typically move data and power cabling from overhead or underground locations to the space created between the existing slab and the raised flooring system.

With a low-profile system, next time you need to install a bank of new workstations or reconfigure a tenant space, instead of working through the ceiling or trenching a slab, you can simply remove the carpet tiles to quickly access all the affected power and data cabling.

No dust, no barricades, and no noise complaints either.

While there are numerous low-profile flooring systems that promise to make your job easier while lowering costs, sorting fact from fiction amid all the online noise can be time-consuming Obviously, the ideal power management solution should integrate seamlessly with your cable management system to reduce the number of home runs back to the panel, further compounding the material and labor savings. Here are some additional features to look for when considering different raised flooring products or systems:

Steel construction

Allows the components to be picked up, moved, or reconfigured multiple times without any loss of structure or performance. Steel is also 100% recyclable, which contributes to fostering a circular economy philosophy.

Fastener-less installation

Since the raised flooring system doesn’t attach to the building structure, it can be depreciated as equipment, providing potential tax savings.

No special floor preparation

The raised flooring system can easily be installed on any surface suitable for carpet, linoleum, or PVC flooring.

Simple and fast installation

To shorten installation and reconfiguration time even further, the best systems offer the following benefits:

  • Modular components
  • A complete line of trims and connectors
  • Don’t require special tools

Adjustability

The system should have an adjustment factor for dealing with slab imperfections such as uneven expansion joints and minor settling.

AR (Augmented Reality) technology

Some cable management flooring systems include an AR application that allows a tech to use their smartphone to “see” all the power and data cabling within the room. 

With the correct raised flooring system, it is possible to reconfigure the data and power cabling for a 20,000-square-foot tenant space in weeks, not months. If you’re ready to learn more about leveraging a power access management system to reduce operating costs, our team of advisors is ready to answer any questions you might have.