Building management and automation solutions
Building automation is the automatic centralised control of a building’s HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), lighting, Access Control, Security Systems, and other interrelated systems through a Building Management System (BMS) or Building Automation System (BAS). The objectives of building automation are improved occupant comfort, efficient operation of building systems, reduction in energy consumption, reduced operating costs, increased security, historical performance documentation, remote access/control/operation, and improved life cycle of equipment and related utilities.
Building automation is an example of a distributed control system – the computer networking of electronic devices designed to monitor and control the systems in a building.
BAS core functionality keeps building climate within a specified range, provides light to rooms based on an occupancy schedule (in the absence of overt switches to the contrary), monitors performance and device failures in all systems, and provides malfunction alarms to building maintenance staff. A BAS should reduce building energy and maintenance costs compared to a non-controlled building. Most commercial, institutional, and industrial buildings built after 2000 include a BAS. Many older buildings have been retrofitted with a new BAS, typically financed through energy and insurance savings, and other savings associated with pre-emptive maintenance and fault detection.
A building controlled by a BAS is often referred to as an intelligent building, “smart building”, or (if a residence) a “smart home”.
The primary function of building management systems is most often to control the HVAC, heating, and ventilation systems, but there are other functions as well. The main components of a building management system and their basic functionalities are as follows:
• Boiler controls—maintain a constant temperature and switch boilers on/off at certain times.
• HVAC—maintain a specified air state with regard to temperature and humidity; control fans and dampers; control air handling units and fan coil units.
• Lighting control—turn lights on/off according to a specified schedule.
• Electric power control—control and monitor core electrical and mechanical equipment.
• Heating—schedule the system on and off; maintain a set temperature point.
• Ventilation—adjust based on occupancy controls.
• Security and observation—access control; surveillance and intrusion detection.
• Fire alarm system—smoke control system; active alarm locations.
• Elevators—elevator video display; status system.
• Plumbing and water monitoring—detect hydraulic flows; open/close valves automatically; monitor/observe temperature deviations.
Many building management systems have additional capabilities and features; some can even be designed specifically for the facility itself. Typically, these types of systems use a combination of hardware and software to monitor and manage, including a central server or servers, monitoring stations (for systems administrators), and remote sensors, as well as software that allows you to interact with the system.