Commercial energy management systems are a popular and effective solution for reducing costs and increasing overall efficiency. The acronyms, with which you need to become familiar, include: Building Automation System (BAS); Direct Digital Control (DDC); Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC); and, Mechanical Electrical Plumbing (MEP). BAS are centralized networks which monitor and control a facility’s environment. While managing various building systems, the automation system ensures operational performance, comfort levels, and security. Typically, BAS will be installed in new buildings or as part of a renovation project. While a complete BAS can often include lighting, security, fire systems, elevators, and plumbing operations, we will concentrate on the technology associated with MEP systems.
Building automation often begins with control of HVAC systems, including:
- Air Handling Units (AHUs)
- Roof-top Units (RTUs)
- Fan Coil Units (FCUs)
- Heat Pump Units (HPUs)
- Variable Air Volume boxes (VAVs)
The technology for BAS has been around for over 50 years, however recent advancements makes it possible for inter-operation of different products from a variety of manufacturers. There is now protocol for standardization for different products to be able to communicate with each other.
Recent BAS Trends
- Wireless technology is beginning to replace traditionally wired BAS infrastructure
- Enterprise-level initiatives are making the communication protocol of the BAS less important.
- DDC systems are the logical choice when replacing your pneumatic system; however, pneumatic-to-DDC bridging options are available
- Many controls are now factory pre-mounted to equipment
- Hardware and software continues to be augmented by energy-related visuals
Green Building Compliant
An automation system can contribute greatly to your ability to earn such recognition as the EPA ENERGY STAR or the LEED certification associated with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). This is one of your first steps toward achieving Green Building compliance!
Installation and Operation
Although it takes a professional BAS installation company to handle the setting up of the system, a properly trained in-house staff member can manage the operation and, portions of the maintenance; your installation team can also provide on-going service or train your in-house staff to self-perform service.