Benefits of Building Automation Systems - Modern buildings use DDC controls for building automation systems. Building automation systems offer energy savings because they are energy management systems. These systems allow management to automatically control many processes involved with HVAC systems, lighting, and emergency systems. The systems are generally hooked up to the internet so monitoring and control can be done worldwide.
Benefits of Building Automation Systems
- HVAC Systems – All processes are automatic and set to a DDC program in the controls. That is done by a computer and proprietary software and hardware. There are three distinct protocols that are shared by different manufacturers, so systems are integrated.
Additionally, there are building automation systems bridge programs that integrate the different DDC protocols, so points are read into different DDC software programs. Outside air and humidity can be read and applied to energy-saving programs within the BAS system.
Thermostat set points can be restricted, preventing occupants from adjusting the thermostats outside of the restricted range. Schedules set into the DDC program, so in unoccupied times, all non-essential HVAC Systems shut down.
- Lighting Systems – lighting systems, both inside and outside, can be set to a schedule so in unoccupied hours minimal lighting is on. Motion sensors can also be hooked up to DDC and monitored for usage. Programs can be set up to bill tenants for energy use for lighting and other energy-consuming systems.
- Emergency Systems – modern energy management systems can also control and monitor emergency systems. Fire alarms and stairwell pressurization along with security systems can be integrated into the DDC control system to automatically control critical emergency processes and alert necessary personnel in the event of an emergency.
Helping Building Managers Solve Problems - Benefits of Building Automation Systems
In addition to the above, building automation systems can help building managers and qualified maintenance technicians solve problems. Setting up trends inside the automation control program can be used to find intermittent problems that, in the past, were frustrating to find. For example, a relay intermittently dropping out of a circuit can cause issues with other devices.
Whether the problem is the relay or the control of the relay, a trend chart can be used to isolate and identify the problem. Further diagnostic testing can be done to eliminate the problem. Maybe a bad relay, wiring issue, or other problem, the issue can be rectified before it creates other problems.
In one case, the trending data highlighted a problem with a temperature sensor that had incorrect installation. The outdoor sensor was installed next to a dryer vent for a clothes dryer. Therefore, whenever the dryer was drying clothes, and the wind was blowing in a specific direction, the temperature sensor was affected, causing it to rise.
This created problems with the reset schedule inside the program. The temperature sensor was relocated to a better position, and the problem went away. Issues like this are easily and quickly identified by setting up the trend charts and using them to look for anomalies.
Alarms - Benefits of Building Automation Systems
Setting up alarms in the program is important to alert building managers of potential problems. It can also be used to alert maintenance technicians of maintenance schedules that need attention. Everything from critical failures to changing filters can be set up through alarms. Some maintenance items can be set up based on run time and others using sensors. An analog differential pressure sensor across a filter rack can be used to tell maintenance staff the filters are loaded up.
One problem with alarms is nuisance alarms. With proper tweaking of alarm systems with proper hierarchy can determine which alarms are essential and which require delayed attention. Modern systems can be set to alert users with a text message or email.
Setting critical failure alarms is important to head off critical problems. Instead of showing up Monday morning with a chiller not functioning the maintenance staff can be alerted on Saturday or Sunday and the problem rectified before Monday morning warm-up schedule calls for the system to come on.
Benefits of Building Automation Systems