Building controls play a huge role in your facility’s overall health and equipment performance. In this article we break down control capabilities and how they can be used in the real world.
These control systems are usually part of an overall Building Automation System (BAS). BAS can monitor your buildings mechanical and electrical equipment and relay real time information to a central system through a graphical user interface. This allows for a clear picture of your buildings condition and assets from a single screen.
Alarming is one capability of controls. This allows you to be alerted via audible noise, text message or email when something goes wrong.
We commonly set alarms to:
- Send emails or texts out to a boiler operator when a boiler system goes down.
- Alert school staff that a freezer has gone down, allowing them to save the food.
- Monitor indoor air to alert facility managers when temperatures, humidifies or CO2 get outside of design parameters.
- Send notification to a facility manager when a chiller is performing below a certain threshold.
Some common industries that use alarming include office buildings, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, production facilities, government buildings and many more.
Energy Monitoring And Conservation
A good controls system will trend energy data on your equipment and take steps to reduce energy usage where possible. By using this data controls can ramp systems up to meet demand then also lower energy usage when demand decreases.
Microprocessors in some system can adjust equipment in real time to optimize performance. For example, some controls can take into account future weather patterns. This allows them to optimize the start and stop of boilers, air handlers and other HVAC equipment. This can minimize equipment run time which reduces energy costs.
By understanding your occupants behavior, you can program controls for night setbacks. This way when occupants leave the building, systems can ramp down and conserve energy. This can have a direct impact on the bottom line.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratories performed a study showing that when properly implemented building controls can cut commercial building energy consumption by approximately 29%. An article written by Amerlux highlights a few more studies:
“Building automation systems can decrease equipment operating costs by 15%. The Metropolitan Energy Coalition estimates that BAS controls can yield savings between $0.20 and $0.40 per square foot for most buildings.
Per the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, smart building technologies save the average office 18% in HVAC costs, 28% in plug load and 33% in lighting energy. Meanwhile, Gartner estimates that smart lighting system installation can reduce energy costs by 90%.”
Looking Forward To The Future
Technology continues to move forward and with each year, improvements are continuously made to building controls. However, these controls have not innovated at the speed of some other technology around them. Engineered Systems writes in their article The Future Of Building Controls:
“Beginning in the 1980s, building control technology transitioned from pneumatics to direct digital control. The transition was motivated by:
- The low cost of digital control technology
- Better comfort control
- Ease of programming
- Increased accuracy and reliability
- Reduced energy costs
- Reduced maintenance requirements
- And actionable building data.
This has resulted in innovation, including a major shift to the use of open standard protocols. Such as BACnet, web pages for user interface, and more network-based controllers. Today, we have a well-understood controls’ architecture that is supported by a small group of established, high-quality suppliers.
While we have seen steady progress in building controls, the world of computing has made quantum leaps.
Think of some of the tools we rely on every day, such as Google Search (1998), smartphones (2007), smart thermostats and the Internet of Things (IoT) (2011), and digital assistants (2014). Today, this innovation continues at record speed with major innovations occurring in areas including artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and machine learning.
These new technologies continue to evolve and become easier and more economical to implement. It’s becoming clear that it’s time for the industry to move to the “next generation” of building controls. “
Contact The Experts
Our team can help design the entire system from the ground up. This includes all programming, graphic interface, trending, alarming and monitoring. Our Temperature Controls Division is a Honeywell Authorized Controls Integrator (ACI), providing our customers with innovative solutions in automated building management. Our veteran controls technicians deliver:
- Optimum Energy Efficiency
- Web-Accessible Reporting Dashboards
- Alarm Monitoring and Notification for
- Critical Environments
- Remote Diagnostic and Consultative Services
- LEED Certified Buildings
- Lower System Operating Costs
With both Honeywell WEBs-N4 and WEBs-AX software, we can take all aspects of your building and occupants needs into consideration.
- Honeywell AX-Certified technicians and engineers
- Tridium certified contractor
- Software and hardware system design and engineering
- Device installation, programming, and commissioning
- Legacy system support (retro-commissioning & retrofits)
- Cost-Effective remote system diagnostics, and service dispatch
- Integration of multiple manufacturer components