Building Automation And Control

What is building automation and control?

Building automation refers to a system of controlling the operation of building functions. Automation can affect a building's daily operations in many ways, but most commonly affects the HVAC and electrical systems.Almost all connected automation in a building runs through a BAS, or Building Automation System.As a whole, automation, especially when it is combined with artificial intelligence, is paving the way for a more intelligent and efficient construction industry. BAS is already common, but now it's also making its way into new phases of construction. Many green buildings are equipped with BAS systems to reduce energy consumption and increase occupant convenience.Controlling building operations naturally minimizes energy waste and shrinks energy consumption habits. A BAS is therefore an important tool for developers who wish to reduce their carbon footprint.Monitoring and controlling facility operations seamlessly provides tenants with a more reliable working environment. Additionally, the efficiency gained through automation allows the building's facility management team to adopt more sustainable practices and lower energy costs. Before we explore its eco-friendly features, let's dig into the basics of building automation.

Cores of Building Automation systems

All automated aspects of a building's operation are managed by building automation systems. It includes HVAC systems, electrical systems, and plumbing and mechanical systems. The management of these systems by humans individually is inefficient and costly. Building automation, thankfully, eliminates the guesswork and optimises efficiency. A building automation system is made up of four "layers." Each layer takes care of a distinct aspect of the automation process, from user input to action execution. The basic structure of any BAS, from simple to sophisticated, is made up of these layers. Following are the four core functions of a building automation system:

  • To regulate systems based on the number of people in the room and the amount of energy consumed.
  • Controlling the atmosphere in the building.
  • When necessary, to alert or sound alarms.
  • To keep track of and improve the system's performance.

An automated building is greener and more user-friendly than a non-controlled building when operating at optimum efficiency.

What is the meaning of “Controlled”?

A controller, which is a compact, specialised computer, is an important part of a building automation system. it's critical to comprehend the controllers' applications.

The performance of various facilities within the building is regulated by controllers. This has traditionally included the following:

  • Systems involving electricity
  • sewage and plumbing systems
  • Ventilation, heating and air-conditioning systems
  • Lighting systems
  • System of Surveillance
  • Security Systems

Security systems, fire alarm systems, and escalators can all be controlled by a more powerful building automation system.

Imagine a much old structure, such as an ancient heating system, to comprehend the need of control. Take, for example, wood-burning stoves. Anyone who heated their building with pure woodfire had no way of controlling the temperature or even the amount of smoke produced. Furthermore, it took a lot of effort to keep that fire going.

But in later years, technology evolved in large scale, then Smart controllers that can set the temperature of the surrounding room to an exact degree can be used to control heating systems. It can also be configured to cool down automatically overnight when no one is in the building.

Today's technology allows structures to essentially learn from themselves. A smart building automation system will keep track of the numerous facilities it manages in order to figure out how to maximise efficiency. It's no more just a matter of heating a room to a specified temperature; today's systems can even track who visits which rooms at what times, allowing buildings to adapt to their occupants' requirements and save energy when it's not needed. The idea of controlling a building and learning from all the data the system receives is becoming increasingly entwined. That's why automated constructions are referred regarded as "smart" or "intelligent" structures. They're also getting smarter by the day.

The Expansion of Smart Buildings

Building automation, like most technologies, has grown at a rate that would have perplexed facility managers and engineers in, say, the 1950s. Back then, mechanical controls were used to control automated structures, with compressed air serving as the medium of exchange for the system's monitors and controllers.

Through the 1980s, microchips had shrunk in size and cost to the point where they could be used in building automation systems. It was nothing short of a revolution to go from compressed air through analogue controls to digital controls. Broad protocols were introduced a decade later, enabling the controlled facilities to connect with one another. Wireless technology allowed components to communicate without the use of cables around the turn of the century.

As a first glance, the phrases used by building automation professionals appear to be a gigantic alphabet soup. There are acronyms all over the place. And, as Marc Petock, Lynxspring's VP of Marketing, pointed out on LinkedIn, some people use these names indiscriminately. Let's get this straight right now:

  • Building Management System (BMS) and Building Control System (BCS) - Although not necessarily automation systems, these are more general terminology for systems that control a building's facilities.
  • Building Automation System (BAS) - A BAS is a subsection of the management and control systems mentioned above, and it can be incorporated into a larger BMS or BCS. However, in recent years, the terms "building management" and "building automation" have become so interlaced that it's reasonable that individuals would use them interchangeably.
  • Energy Management System (EMS) and Energy Management Control System (EMCS) - These are mechanisms that deal especially with energy usage, metering, and other related issues. The functions of a BAS and an EMS are substantially similar that we can consider them interchangeable.
  • Direct Digital Control (DDC) - Small, low-cost microprocessors were responsible for this breakthrough in the 1980s. The technique by which the components of a digital system communicate is referred to as DDC.
  • Application Programming Interface (API) - This is a word used frequently in the field of computer programming. It refers to the code that specifies how two or more parts of software interact with one another. The terminology is made even more complex by the fact that technology advances so quickly that it's hard to recognize when a new phrase should be used. Then there are experts from other countries that use different phrases but must still interact with one another.

What a Building Automation System can do?

A BAS can do multifold works in a more robust way. Let’s have a brief look on its numerous works-

  • It can programme the lighting and HVAC systems to run on a frequency, in this way making them both more intelligent and efficient.
  • It can help a building's different components and amenities coordinate and operate together for higher overall performance.
  • It may adjust freshness, temperature, and comfort inside the building by optimising the flow of incoming outside air.
  • It can alert you when an HVAC unit is on in both heating and cooling mode, which helps you save money on your electricity bills.
  • It can detect an emergency, such as a fire, and power off any facilities that could put building residents in danger.
  • It can detect a problem with one of the building's amenities — such as an escalator being stuck with people inside — and send an instant message or email to the facility manager to notify him or her of the issue.
  • It can detect who is entering and leaving a building and when they are doing so.
  • When activity occurs, it can activate a camera and begin recording, as well as provide an alarm and direct camera feed to the security team and facility manager.

The Role and Importance of Controllers

Because controllers are the BAS's brains, they necessitate a little more investigation. As previously stated, the introduction of direct digital control modules opened up a whole new world of possibilities for building automation.A digital controller can take in data, apply logic (an algorithm) to it, and then send out a directive depending on the results.

How Building Automation Systems Can Achieve Environmental Benefits?

Facilities management expenditures are reduced with automated building operations because systems control the operation of building components such as HVAC and lighting. Automation also reduces total energy demand, resulting in a victory for the environment that can help a building achieve green building certification. By incorporating automation, certain buildings can save up to 30% on energy expenses.

BAS works to reduce overall energy demand, which can lead to a host of environmental benefits that keep building residents healthier and happier. Reduced energy use and waste tapering are two advantages of automation that result in cost savings. The individual stress of a building on the electrical grid is also a factor, with automation significantly reducing that strain. The furthermore benefits are-

  • Reduced Daily Consumption - Despite the fact that a BAS does not monitor energy consumption, it can be programmed to run within a set of usage parameters. On days when the building receives a lot of heat from direct sunlight, for example, BAS with machine learning adapts to schedule HVAC systems to work at low levels.
  • Reduced amount of waste - Lighting and HVAC systems are controlled by standard building automation. When a building or wing is unoccupied for a duration of time, the BAS sends out a signal to turn off any systems that aren't needed during off-hours. A BAS can forecast when a building will be empty using artificial intelligence and organise system activities appropriately.
  • Saves Amount - The cost of operating a building can be enormous, accounting for three-quarters of total spending during the life of the structure. Systems shut down to retain efficiency when operations are done through a BAS, lowering total runtime and boosting long-term serviceable life.Moreover, for maximum effectiveness, a building can synchronise with the surrounding environment. This is especially advantageous in the spring and summer, when there is more sunshine (and hence less demand for inside lighting) and the outside temperature is warmer, allowing the building to take use of natural air circulation for comfort.

    Facility management is also more cost effective when data is collected and reported. If there is a failure somewhere in the system, it will be reported instantly on the BAS dashboard, eliminating the need for a facilities professional to spend time looking for and diagnosing the issue.Finally, improving the operations of various building facilities increases the equipment's lifespan, resulting in lower replacement and maintenance expenses.

  • Less Strain on Power Grids - Large buildings that consume a lot of energy must also create a lot of energy in order to be deemed sustainable. Building automation systems can schedule tasks to reduce peak demand, which is the building's highest daily energy use. This relieves strain on the electrical grid and provides additional energy to the remainder of the grid.

Our revolutionary building management, power management systems, and small building control technologies allow intelligent buildings that encourage occupant productivity while delivering optimal energy and operational efficiency.

Building Automation and Control

Lighting, HVAC, CCTV cameras, etc. in a home or commercial building are connected to a network and configured to conduct proactive, context-relevant activities. In a smart building, for example, sensors may detect factors such as temperature and humidity as well as the presence of smoke, triggering an alert. As another option, it can detect the presence of an intruder, snap a photo of them, and alert the security staff of their existence.

Instead of actively controlling functional aspects in your house, building automation concepts are focused on conserving energy, maximising resources and decreasing downtime. Construction of technology stacks for residential/commercial spaces as well as hardware configuration and active support for defined use-cases are our main competencies.

All of Technitab's building automation solutions are retrofit, which means you won't have to modify your building's electrical architecture to make it smart. All of this takes on in the background, without your knowledge.

The products we provide for Building Automation are:

  • Building Management
    EcoStruxure™ Building Operation, EcoStruxure™ Building Operation, Andover Continuum, TAC Vista
  • Power Management System
    EcoStruxure™ Facility Expert, EcoStruxure Power Monitoring Expert 9.0, EcoStruxure™ Power Operation, EcoStruxure™ Facility Expert Onsite (FXO)
  • Small Building Control
    EcoStruxure Building Expert MPM-UN, Modbus, 6 IO, EcoStruxure Building Expert MPM-UN, Multi-Purpose Manager: ZigBee Pro, Modbus, 6 IO
  • Fire and Security
    ESMI Fire Detection, ESMI Integration
Building Automation and Control

Need of Smart Buildings

When you create a smart building, you may improve the collective lifestyle of inhabitants while conserving energy, simplifying processes, and decreasing operating expenses. The energy you save by turning on lobby lights while someone is present is only one example. How much damage can be prevented by receiving rapid notifications in the event of an emergency, such as a fire, flood or burglary. As a result, less than 1% of real estate developers in India have used smart building infrastructure. We may expect to see a multifold rise in the use of smart building technologies in India as inhabitants become more tech-savvy and technology becomes more inexpensive (Moore's Law).

  • Automate lobby lights. Save energy.
  • Get notified before intrusion happens.
  • Open garage doors from your smartphone.
  • Trigger smart fire/smoke alarms.
  • Automate water management.
  • Keep an eye on every floor.
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