Building Automation and Controls (BAC), in simple terms, is analogous to the brain that controls the body. In this sense, it is the system that controls the building. Most commercial, institutional, and industrial buildings built after 2000 include a BAC. Many older buildings have been retrofitted with a new BAC, typically financed through energy savings, and other savings associated with pre-emptive maintenance and fault detection. A building controlled by a BAC is often referred to as an "intelligent building" or "smart building".
Commercial and industrial buildings have historically relied on robust proven protocols (like BACnet, ModBUS, LonWorks, KNX, DALI, etc.). Today these technologies mainly focus on HVAC systems and they can be applied in varying degrees of integration and sophistication.
Legacy vs. Open Protocols
The massive amounts of choices in the market with respect to BAC's and configurations can be confusing. Many companies design smart building systems using their proprietary equipment and programming. However, sometimes these new installations fail to integrate other existing building systems into the smart building network. This even become worse when the building owner has more than one building to manage. As a result, the building will miss out on the beneficial synergies of an integrated network. Moreover, the building may be stuck with a system that can only be serviced by the company that installed it.
Fortunately, the principles outlined in ASHRAE’s Guideline 13 - 2015, can provide neutral best practices that will design towards an installation based on an open protocol that works with a wide range of systems and does not lock the building into a single service provider (Smart Buildings: A Foundation for Safe, Healthy & Resilient Cities, Produced by the GCTC Smart Buildings Super Cluster).
Automation Transition and Potential
Detailed analyses have shown that BAC's are among the set of cost-optimal measures that will produce economically viable energy savings. Thus the BAC can:
Allow visualization of energy consumption in a building;
Identify the effect of compliance with an order and automatically reduce energy consumption in response;
Optimize the use of energy sources;
Respond on the basis of occupation and behavior;
Contribute to temporarily reduce the use of electricity in buildings and homes when the grid is close to capacity (if combined with demand response schemes, BACs with the ability to adapt the energy consumption of buildings to the network).
As a result, these technologies minimize building lifetime costs while ensuring occupant comfort. Accordingly to EUROBAC - European Association of Building Automation Controls, there's a savings opportunities of about 40% if a fine tuned BAC.
So, what are you waiting for? Let's fine tuned those BAC's!!!