What is the difference between a typical BAS scenario and one that involves building analytics? And why did one library start to see its utility costs and trouble calls start to spiral upward? As you might imagine, the answers to these questions are related …
Since the early ’80s, building automation technology (BAS) have played an integral role in engineers’ ability to aid facility owners and operators in achieving operational efficiency, dependable comfort, and lower energy costs. However, despite significant capital investments, often times the full potential of these systems is not realized, resulting in less than optimal building performance.
In the beginning, the goal is to enable the operations and maintenance staff to work with the system to give it the best chance to perform as designed. Later, the vision is a culture of continuous improvement that can withstand changes in technology and personnel. In between? Plenty of opportunity for thoughtful operations and standardized routines.
We almost always think about the BAS as a tool that is a critical part of energy management, so these systems are typically focused on those systems that directly use energy — notably the HVAC and lighting systems.
Generally, when we think about BAS, it is in the context of large commercial buildings, those well over 25,000 sq ft. According to the latest government data though (from the 2012 Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey), 88% of all commercial buildings are 25,000 sq ft or less.
Leaning on experience and data from various K-12 cities and projects, the author pursues some less conventional design approaches. They may revolve around radiant heating and/or cooling, but depending on school size and other factors, the smart use of heat recovery, DOAS, and improved central plants could also put a project on the HVAC honor roll.