Are Building Automation Systems the future of smart buildings?

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Building Automation Systems (BAS) are the automatic centralized control of any building’s HVAC, electrical, lightning, shading, security systems etc. It is basically a system of controls that commands and automates the operation of various building functions. Building Automation coupled with AI is perhaps becoming one of the most efficient construction industry trends. Some examples of building automation includes: smart windows that can adapt to achieve objectives like passive heating, cooling, light levels etc. or safety systems that have automated fire detection and sprinkler system. In fact, one great example of safety related function of automated system can be found through elevators which are connected to earthquake warning systems and which stop on the nearest floor. In the current article we will looking at the advantages offered by Building Automation Systems and also how they can be used with modern construction technology like BIM, Scan to BIM Services etc. to enhance their performance throughout the building’s lifecycle.

Advantages of Building Automation Systems:

There are a variety of advantages that are associated with building automation systems. They can be broadly clubbed into three main parts:

1. Comfort Advantages:

Whether it is residential or a commercial building the owners will install any system considering the comfort of the tenant. BAS provides a few benefits that could, in fact, make the life of the inhabitants quite easy. Take temperature regulation for instance, it could automatically increase and reduce room temperature based on the external environmental conditions or it could automatically power up the temperature control system based on the number of people. It could also regulate the amount of fresh air that is allowed in the building; maximize the ratio of natural and electric light etc. Automated systems could reduce discomfort of the building occupants in the offices and increase their comfort and productivity.

2. Financial Advantages:

BAS systems are in no way cheap but they are cost-effective and generally pay for themselves overtime. BAS can be instrumental in saving a considerable amount of energy and thereby money. It can adjust HVAC use, bring reductions in peak loads and other energy benefits that decrease utility and cost. It also optimizes the use of heavy and expensive equipment ultimately increasing their lifespan and bringing indirect savings. Finally, properly managed buildings with BAS are more comfortable and environmentally friendly making them more desirable and expensive.

3. Environmental Advantages:

BAS can result in a slew of environmental benefits which has become one of its most appealing features. Since BAS can be made to operate within a certain set of usage guidelines. For instance, lights that adjust according to the external light will reduce the energy consumed; similarly HVAC systems like heaters can be scheduled to operate on low levels throughout the building when there is more heat. BAS could also cut back on unintended waste in large facilities like malls, airports etc. by regulating areas which have been unoccupied for a while and shutting the systems during that time.

BAS is not useful to automate the building functions but also collect data regarding building’s energy usage which can be studied for potential improvements and also be essential for monitoring.

BIM and Building Automation Systems

Building Automation Systems are extremely appealing and lucrative however its rewards become more prominent when associated with BIM throughout its lifecycle. BIM could be essential when planning and designing buildings which incorporates BAS. It provides information regarding cost estimation, cost scheduling, durability and sustainability which are essential throughout the installation and construction of building. 3D visualization combined with VR and AR could help properly showcase the BAS systems in the building.

Also, Facility Management Services are crucial in effective maintenance and management of buildings which incorporate BAS. Scan to BIM can be used to update the BIM models that were used for construction in order to create as-built BIM models that can be used for facility management. They provide location of all the components making it easy to locate and carry out quick repairs. The intelligent 3D model also provides details like material specifications, asset numbers, manufactures details etc. which makes it possible for facility managers to make updates, ensure optimal functioning or even when they want to carry out a restoration project.

Written By:
Dhvani Badheka
Dhvani is an irreverent writer who has over 4 years of experience under her belt. She is a life-long learner and a quick study which provides her articles a unique insight. She is always reading, researching new materials and trying to expand her knowledge of the AEC industry so that she can create interesting and valuable content.