Replacing a standard HVAC system with an automated system in a commercial building could save you money and make the building more comfortable as a whole. But just as with standard HVAC systems, an automated system can be thrown off by occupants who keep opening windows instead of just letting the air conditioner or heater do its thing. That people keep opening windows is understandable; they want a breeze or want to air out a stuffy or smelly room. But that can unbalance the temperature in the office as one part now becomes cooler or warmer than the other.
An automated system would face the same problem, so you might wonder if it's worth the money to install building automation in a structure where people can open windows whenever they want. The answer is that yes, it can be worth it, and in fact, building automation may smooth over some of those bumps caused by personal preference.
If They Don't Open Windows, They'll Open Doors
First, if your building didn't have windows that could open, chances are people would still try to prop open doors to get some air. So just having windows that open shouldn't really be a factor in your decision even though they seem like a major issue. It's just that in your building, those windows are more convenient to open. So if you're thinking you shouldn't add building automation because people will still open windows, you can cross that reasoning off your list.
Automation Should Make Temperatures More Stable
In fact, building automation may be better at compensating for changes in temperature because the system monitors for changes. With a standard HVAC system, you set the thermostat and then just reset it when someone complains about the temperature. An automated system can adjust on its own.
More Thermostat Access Might Help
You may also want to consider adding more zones and more thermostats so that separate parts of a floor can control their own climate. This will likely be more expensive, of course, but it would allow for customization, especially if most of the people in one section preferred a different temperature than what others in the building want.
You'll have other issues to deal with when installing automated systems, of course. People will need to get used to the system, for example, and if you're installing any new intake vents in the building, you have to be sure they won't be too close to parking lots or loading docks, where exhaust could be an issue. The installers can help you with any questions you have.
To learn more about building automation systems, talk to an automation business in your area.