Is Your Building Automation System Doing Its Job?
Many large building owners choose to utilize a building automation system to reduce costs, improve their business’ performance, and to more efficiently manage their electricity consumption. For these systems to function as designed, it is very important that they be integrated properly. A poorly functioning building automation system may offer no improvement.
“In one detailed study of 11 BAS-equipped buildings in New England, five were found to be underachievers, producing less than 55 percent of the expected savings. One site produced no savings at all.”
– As described at AutomatedBuildings.com
What Is A Building Automation System?
Building automation systems, or BAS, use computer networking to maintain constant control over when and how heating and cooling, security, safety, lighting, and mechanical systems operate. It is a much more advanced version of the timers that turn your outdoor lights on or off at a certain time. This means that systems can be utilized only when they are needed even without a person around to regulate it.
Much of the energy consumption in our homes and businesses gets wasted. Lights get turned on and get left on even when no one is using them, or the full set of systems in a building may be running while only one employee works inside in one small area.
Take for example a small office building with constant volume package units. What could you possibly get for energy savings in this environment? Fan energy, or the energy used to blow air out of the vent in your office, comprises almost 70% of the energy consumption in a building. By controlling the fans more tightly with a schedule you can save up to 15% on your bill every year. To take it one step further, by increasing cooling and decreasing heating setpoints during peak usage hours you can alleviate 5-10% consumption; all with minimal impact to your workforce. That’s up to 20-25% reduction without any mechanical upgrades.
Why Do Building Automation Systems Not Function Properly?
– The system was set up based on another building’s settings. The whole principle behind this system works because the resources of the business are only running exactly what that individual building needs. If the BAS has the heating and cooling system working to the specifications of another building, it will be running harder or less efficiently than it should, resulting in wasted resources.
– The setup process did not take into consideration the real issues and goals of the business. It is important while thinking of how to integrate the BAS to consider what problems it will solve for every area of your business. A well-integrated BAS contains all of the components that business needs and nothing else. It may be helpful for the management, maintenance personnel, security personnel, and owners to collaborate in the setup process. Even after set-up, it may benefit the business to hold a few well-timed meetings to discuss if the system is working as intended or if it could be improved.
A building automation system can be a great investment in the performance and energy efficiency of your business. To make sure that is true, the business owner should keep an eye on how well the system is running and whether it may be improved.