The Right Fit – Choosing a Building-Automation System For Your Retrofit Projects

Two of the most important steps for reducing energy consumption in building retrofits are active energy management and new controls. Building-Automation Systems (BAS) enable dynamic monitoring and the management of energy consumption. This includes: heating, cooling, lighting, and plug loads. Control retrofits and strategies have a payback period of around 3 to 4 years.

Numerous examples of retrofits using BAS show a substantial amount of financial benefits. Building-automation systems are made up of 3 integrated components: wall sensors, software and control modules. These 3 elements enable facility managers to monitor HVAC energy consumption, lighting, plug loads, and other building systems.

The systems can help manage equipment maintenance and replacement costs, saving money in the process. Managers can program their BAS to provide alarms when equipment operates out of spec. BAS can also simplify building commissioning processes in retrofits and new construction. Operating costs of a commissioned building are 8% to 20% less than non-commissioned buildings.

A well-equipped BAS enables control and monitoring of many different building systems. Some of the features to consider are software, the control module, and wall sensors.

Software:
Software is essential for users to access the BAS. 3D graphical interfaces make it easy for people to learn how to use the BAS. Users can access the system from virtually any desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Control Module:
The control module in a building is the central processing unit (CPU) for the BAS. The control module enables the BAS to interact and communicate with building equipment from numerous sources, including HVAC. Here are some of the features that the control module includes:
– Lighting
– Heating and cooling
– Security
– Access control
– Fire safety
– Elevators
– Escalators

The benefits of a well-designed building control module go beyond cost savings when managing building systems. A properly designed BAS can also assist with billing tenants for leased spaces, providing more accurate billing and tracking of rent revenues.

Wall Sensors:
Occupants in the building use wall sensors as their touch point to the BAS. Sleek and attractive sensor designs complement retrofits with contemporary styling. A microset introduced this year has a touch interface similar to a smartphone. Easy to understand icons help the building occupants with the various environmental readings and system status updates. Some of the displayed data includes room and outdoor temperatures, humidity, and CO2 levels. Colored LED lights on the unit indicate to occupants whether the equipment is in heating or cooling mode as well.