In theory, a BAS provides all of the hardware and software required to analyze and operate all functions within a building. In reality, though, what most of these systems do best is control the HVAC system. This leaves the critical tasks — evaluating building performance, deciding if it is optimal, and identifying what changes might be required to improve efficiency — to the operator. On most projects, the end results are a BAS that is underutilized and system performance that is less than optimal.
Over the last several years, there has been a movement to provide software-based tools to better analyze issues related to building operations. There is a broad variety of tools and services being offered, and their functionality varies from providing improved tools to view system data to automated systems that perform optimization. Here is a summary of the different types of tools available.