On average, Americans keep their smartphones for two years before trading up to the latest model. Laptop computers have a useful life expectancy of around four years. Many buildings, though, are operating with the same control systems that were installed when the building was constructed ten or more years ago. While we do expect a building control system to have a longer life expectancy than a smartphone, it is important to keep in mind that these systems do need to be regularly updated and, in many cases, replaced periodically. Here are some of the key issues we examine when evaluating a building control system.
• Pneumatic or DDC. Control systems that are reliant on pneumatic or electromechanical controls tend to require more maintenance and are harder to optimize than those that are completely digital. Ideally, we like to upgrade pneumatic systems including thermostats and actuators to all DDC whenever feasible. This provides for better control and comfort and allows for enhanced optimization.