Automation is the process of reducing human work by use of control systems and information technologies in order to effectively and efficiently produces goods and offer services in an acceptable manner. In essence, automation is seen a big step forward in terms of industrialization.
So, what is building automation system (BAS)? BAS is an intelligent system that combines both hardware and software, connecting heating, venting and air conditioning system (HVAC), lighting, security, and other systems to communicate within a single platform, this allows automation systems to deliver you crucial information on the operational performance of a building as well as enhancing the safety and comfort of its occupants.
Usually, these types of automation systems are installed in brand new buildings or as part of a retrofitting an old building. The main purposes of building automation systems are to reduce maintenance costs, reduce energy consumption, improving occupants’ comfort and productivity, while extending the lifespan of the building.
What is the function of the building automation system (BAS)?
Buildings controlled by BAS often times are called smart or intelligent buildings. Why is that? Because the building is more user-friendly, a greener option, and less expensive to operate. Most of the processes are handled by a centralized control unit. More advanced systems can also be controlled remotely on different mobile devices using specific apps or platforms which contributes to the “smart building” term.
Basically, building automation system (BAS) is just like the human brain, it tells the building equipment what to do, just like your brain tells your hands and legs to move. The core functionalities of BAS are its control and operation system based on an occupancy schedule, proper functioning of the HVAC, elevators, fire prevention, security and other critical systems in the building.
It will also monitor the performance and potential failures of each utility and alert the managers of the buildings of detected malfunctions. For example, based on the data provided, BAS will regulate the temperature in the building according to the occupants’ needs, or through its sensors uncover that there is a need for improving the indoor air quality.
Components of BAS
Building automation systems usually have 5 components. We will describe how these components interact and communicate with each other.
Every BAS has a user interface or workstation from which building and facility operators can access it. This workstation helps users to understand the information transferred between each component and gives the opportunity for making adjustments manually.
It is used to interact with Building Automation Systems where building data reported. The displays are visual with photo-realistic graphics. These graphics usually show each floor plan with each piece of equipment.
Controllers are the brain of the building’s automation system. They collect all of the information from the sensors and according to that information, send commands to all connected systems, like HVAC systems, lighting systems, and more. And, controller is also a key component in Building Automation System which is a small, specialized computer with various application.
Sensors are devices that keep track of the humidity, temperature, lighting levels, how many people are in the room, if there is smoke in the rooms, and other parameters. After gathering this information, sensors transmit them to the controllers.
- Output devices
When the controller sends out a command, relays and actuators of the specific systems follow the new instructions or requirements. For example, turning on the heating or air conditioning at 6am so when people come to work at 8 am, it’s properly heated or air-conditioned.
- Communication protocols
Every building automation system uses a specific language to connect each individual component. Protocols such as BACnet, LonWork and Modus help each component to send and receive information in order to adjust its settings and execute commands.
Why is BAS so important
Modern BAS is equipped with many sensors and meters that provide benefits not just for the building owners in terms of save costs but also monitoring the building’s well being. A well-utilized BAS helps operate a building at optimize efficiency, increases productivity, enhances comfort levels.
- Saving Cost
Even though implementing a BAS is a costly project, proper used systems pays for itself over time by lowering the maintenance costs and utility bills. There are many studies that show by allowing BAS to monitor and adjust the HVAC system according to the occupancy, there can be cost savings from 10-30 percent at a minimum.
When the use of every piece of equipment is optimized, its lifespan increases, which result in more indirect savings. BAS reduces energy consumption via data collected & utility bills by automate sensors and timers, and it is also efficient on maintenance savings, its control gives less wear and strain of mechanical equipment.
- Improved environment quality
BAS provide indoor air monitoring and testing that identifies and eliminates unsafe levels of CO, CO2, and NO2 in buildings and parking garages; the integrated solution can also control humidity and remove unwanted odors to improve occupant comfort and health. BAS efficiencies equate to a reduced environmental impact which means better air quality for everyone.
Smart buildings are proven to have fewer carbon footprints thus making them more sustainable and energy-efficient, which opens the door for receiving certifications, such as LEED, Energy Star, or Tenant Star. Many building owners are particularly interested in having a portfolio of energy-efficient buildings.
- Real Time
Real-time monitoring and Internet protocol (IP) capability are essential in a BAS. Alarms are faster and more detailed in today’s systems. Knowing them and being able to respond in seconds can correct potential problems before building occupants are aware anything’s amiss. BAS allows monitoring and controlling of building’s systems from anywhere, anytime.
- Increased Productivity
BAS allows your systems to run more efficiently, eg. break down and require repairs which can be disruptive to a business’s daily operations. BAS will be able to maximize the use of natural light, then to regulate the amount of fresh air in the building and more. An example would be how when people start feeling sleepy and lethargic it’s because of the lack of fresh air and oxygen.
- Increased Comfort
Smarter control of the building’s environment to maintain an ideal level of comfort & reduces complaints and resolution time. Even though the occupant’s comfort can’t be presented in numbers, that doesn’t mean that should not be taken into account.
The biggest benefit of having an automated HVAC system is having proper temperature throughout the day by regulating the temperature before anyone arrives in the building and after everyone leaves. Properly configured BAS can help to build operators to avoid unpleasant calls of employees feeling too hot or too cold.
- Increased Security
The need for security depends on the nature of the business conducted in the building. A BAS can be programmed to lock doors and turn off lights at a designated time. Should an employee wishes to access the building after a certain time, a key card will allow access and the system will turn on the lights in the area where the employee is working, but nowhere else. The system can also be programmed to control exterior lights in parking lots and security cameras. Should a security breach occur, the system will notify appropriate personnel.
If you are interested to know more about building automation system and to understand how to implement BAS for your building needs, ADF team is fully committed to assist. Lets connect by calling us on +603-62062189 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.