Building automation systems are an essential part of making your building more efficient. They help you save money and energy by monitoring and controlling a range of mechanical, security, HVAC, lighting, and ventilation systems.
Whether you’re just beginning to think about installing a BAS or you’ve already started, it’s essential to understand these systems. You can learn all about how they operate right here.
Building automation systems use a computer to control all the equipment and sensors. They connect the various components of a building, so they can share data and communicate with each other to improve operations and save money.
The system controls a building’s HVAC, lighting, power, and access control systems from a single interface, making them easier to manage. It allows operators to get a clear view of all the equipment and adjust them as needed, so they can improve occupant comfort, reduce energy consumption, and lower operating costs.
Building automation systems can also include fail-safe procedures that can be activated when they happen to prevent mechanical or electrical failures from posing a risk to building inhabitants. They can even monitor indoor air quality and temperature to detect pollutants and correct them automatically.
Software is vital to building automation systems, and choosing a vendor that offers quality software is essential. Ensure that your chosen software will accurately represent sensor data, identify conditions triggering maintenance calls, and minimize the latency between sensors and actuators.
Controllers are a vital part of building automation systems. They direct the operation of connected systems, such as HVAC or lighting, while communicating with a central system.
These devices are vital to the entire building management system and can be found in every office, warehouse, industrial plant or commercial space. Proper controls can help reduce energy costs by turning lights off when they’re not needed and scheduling heating or air conditioning.
They can also help improve occupant comfort and productivity by automatically controlling temperatures. They may also remove CO2 and other harmful gases, monitor, and modify ventilation systems for better air quality, and find leaks before they cause damage.
Controllers can be found in many forms, from simple manual devices to complex electro-mechanical devices. They all receive voltage inputs, analyze them, and oversee condition changes via signal outputs.
Input devices are the hardware that transmits data to a computer and enables interaction and control. They include keyboards, mice, joysticks and other devices that can be used to type, draw, or move on a screen.
Input devices may also include sensors to read variables such as temperature, pressure, or humidity. These can be analog or digital.
The input devices can be split into keyboards, pointing, and data-entry devices depending on their function.
The keyboard, which resembles a typewriter and lets you enter data into your computer, is the most used input device. Other input devices include scanners, microphones, and webcams.
Another pointing input device is a light gun, which points at and shoots at targets on the screen in an arcade or video game. This technology was first used in the MIT Whirlwind computer and is now being incorporated into gaming consoles.
Many other pointing input devices, such as joysticks and paddles, can move your cursor on a monitor screen. These can be used in CAD software and other computer applications.
A building automation system (BAS) pulls together heating, venting, air conditioning (HVAC), lighting, fire, and security systems to make them all communicate with each other. It helps property owners and managers keep track of each building system’s performance and ensure it works efficiently.
Controllers receive data from sensors that monitor a space’s temperature, humidity, and other parameters. Based on this information, they send commands to the appropriate actuators.
Input devices allow controllers to read variable measurements from sensors like temperature, pressure, humidity, and current. These inputs can be analog or digital.
Analog outputs control the speed or position of a device, such as a variable frequency drive, an I-P (current to pneumatics) transducer, or a valve or damper actuator. They may also be pulse-type outputs that emit a frequency of pulses over some time.
Output devices in a BAS can be categorized into three categories: programmable logic controllers, system/network controllers, and terminal unit controllers. The latter can control lighting and other more straightforward equipment unsuited to programmable logic controllers and third-party systems.
The communications protocols that control building automation systems are crucial to a well-designed system. They help ensure data is transmitted correctly and quickly to create a more intelligent building. As building automation technology advances, we need more efficient communication protocols to ensure that devices at the network’s edge can handle data transfer. It is especially true with wireless devices, which are smaller and require less power.
While proprietary communication protocols kept devices distinct from other manufacturers, developing open communication protocols has considerably leveled the playing field. These open protocols are independent of hardware or software and are based on a standard set by organizations or industry groups.