Get to Know the Building Automation System and How it Works

By Pryastuti Handhayani | Published On: 23 December 2022
Get to Know the Building Automation System and How it Works

In every industry, people throw new terms and phrases around without fully understanding what they mean. “Building automation system” is a commonly used phrase in this context. How often do you hear this term used in discussions about building facilities?

Those who have not worked on or dealt with this system are likely to find it confusing and convoluted. What exactly is building automation? What exactly does a building automation system include?

Before proceeding, take a moment to read about what a building automation system (BAS) is, what it does, and how it can help with the management of commercial or public buildings.

Definition of Building Automation System (BAS)

A Building Automation System (BAS), also known as a Building Management System or Building Control System, is a system that controls various electrical, electronic, and mechanical systems throughout a building, according to IOP Publishing.

It is a distributed control system that combines various types of building systems into a single centralized location. Building automation systems primarily control heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) in buildings, but they can also control lighting, security, and other building systems.

A building automation system (BAS) is a computer network system that monitors and controls various electronic and mechanical systems. It allows these various systems to communicate across platforms, software, and languages.

A building automation system (BAS) is a network that connects and automates certain building functions. Lighting and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems, as well as fire and security systems, are all linked through a single set of controls.

Green buildings frequently include building automation systems (BAS).

A smart building, also known as a smart building, is one that has a building automation system (BAS).

The Building Automation System (BAS) helps maintain indoor air quality and energy efficiency by tracking the status of related systems, which is what makes them smart. It does not have to be a single structure. If you manage a commercial property with multiple buildings, you can manage them all from a single user interface. This enables your building’s facilities management team to work smarter rather than harder.

Building Automation System Functions

Modern BASs, when outfitted with appropriate meters and sensors, provide benefits in three areas: convenience, financial, and environmental.

Convenience Advantage

The most obvious benefit of the BAS in terms of tenant comfort is temperature regulation. BAS can help avoid cold, hot summer mornings by turning on the temperature control system before anyone arrives and turning it off after everyone has left by automating the HVAC system. Building Automation Systems are also used to control the amount of fresh air allowed into a building or to maximize the natural light-to-electricity ratio. Although difficult to quantify, the impact of improved tenant comfort is a major draw for modern building automation systems. The amount of fresh air available is also critical. Remember how everyone gets sleepy during afternoon meetings? The room is probably full of carbon dioxide.

Financial Gain

When used correctly, BAS will generally pay for itself over time through lower electricity bills. According to one estimate, simply monitoring occupancy and allowing BAS to adjust HVAC usage accordingly results in savings ranging from 10% to 30%. Peak load reductions and other energy-saving benefits help to reduce utility costs further. Building automation systems can also assist in optimizing the use of heavy equipment, extending its useful life and providing more indirect savings. It is also necessary to consider properties with inflated values. Smart buildings that are well-managed are more comfortable and environmentally friendly, making them more appealing to certain tenants. This can cause a rise in property values that outweighs the benefit of lower operating costs.

Environmental Advantage

While, as previously stated, environmental benefits generally do not directly benefit the building owner, they can serve to make the property more desirable. Many owners have a vested interest in maintaining an energy-efficient building portfolio. Buildings that use BAS are more likely to be has a significantly lower carbon footprint. Buildings with smart metering for use with BAS can use that data to validate their energy usage for regulatory agencies.

How the Building Automation System Works

According to I Own Your Building, most building automation systems (BAS) connect input and output devices to controllers and user interfaces. All of these components collaborate to collect, process, and customize data.

The five main components of most building automation systems (BAS) are as follows:

  • Input devices (sensors) collect data (such as CO2 in air and humidity)
  • Controller: the system’s “brain” decides how to respond to the data.
  • Output devices (actuators): carry out the controller’s programmed response.
  • Communication protocol: the language used by the components to “talk” to one another.
  • User interfaces (UI): screens and dashboards for reviewing building data reports

Input devices measure things like room temperature and whether or not the equipment is turned on. These measurements are adapted by output devices, such as lowering the temperature or turning off equipment. The controller oversees all of the devices in the building’s main system, processing data from input devices and sending changes to output devices. These components communicate using a common language or protocol, such as BACnet. The controller’s command is carried out by the output device in accordance with the programmed response. When CO2 levels are too high, for example, ventilation is automatically increased. Finally, the user interface visually displays the data. This can be a computer or a web-based application. However, the user interface does not need to actually execute the controls; it simply serves as a single dashboard container for all of the data coming in through the input devices.

Why do buildings need a Building Automation System (BAS)?

To begin with, building automation systems help save money. Consider how hot a building would be in the absence of air conditioning. Keeping the building at a comfortable room temperature when no one is present may seem unnecessary during the holiday season.

Based on the arrival time of your occupants, you can set specific start and end times for your building’s normal temperature. If people usually leave at 9:00 p.m. and return at 7:00 a.m. the next day, you can set a lower temperature in between to save energy and money. This option may not be available for everyone, as it is still dependent on the state of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

That is one reason why a building must have a building automation system.

Difference between Building Automation System (BAS) and Building Management System (BMS)

There are also the terms Building Management System (BMS) and Building Control System (BCS) (BCS). There is, however, little difference between the two and the Building Automation System (BAS). BAS is a more general term, and the designation BAS is preferred because BAS emphasizes process automation to the greatest extent possible. Reducing direct oversight frees up valuable time and resources for your company to address other pressing issues.

Building Operation

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