As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to develop and enable an even greater number of systems to exchange data and communicate with each other, automation has become more intelligent. From energy management and sustainability, to data visualisation and security, building automation systems (BAS) have unlocked opportunities to improve the way buildings are managed.
To find a solution to the ever-growing global environmental issues, significant changes are being made in energy and sustainability policies for the built environment. With the advances in automation and BAS, building managers are now able to pro-actively reduce the carbon footprint of building operations, while also improving occupant comfort and productivity.
What are building automation systems (BAS)?
Building automation refers to the control and monitoring of systems within a building, encompassing elements such as lighting, security, fire safety and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). BAS provide more efficient building management by taking advantage of centralised networks that rely on both hardware and software to control different elements inside a building. The end result is a building with a better controlled environment, that presents fewer risks, and in many cases is more sustainable and cost-effective.
In the digital era, there is now a vast range of building systems that can be automated. These allow; lighting to be controlled according to a specific occupancy schedule; detect device failures and alert stakeholders of these breakdowns; enable climate control to be micromanaged; detect running fixtures and leaks in plumbing systems; and much more, as highlighted in this infographic.
The benefits of building automation systems
Enhanced energy management
From an efficiency standpoint, it makes perfect sense to tailor energy consumption based upon a building’s usage. With heating, cooling and lighting all able to be controlled by BAS, occupant comfort can be fine-tuned to ensure the best possible working environment, without any unnecessary wastage.
As well as helping to reduce costs, economising energy output can significantly improve your company’s carbon footprint. By replacing older systems with more efficient and automated processes, energy use and CO2 emissions can be reduced, helping to preserve the environment and declining energy resources. That means with BAS, building managers can save on electricity and water bills, wasting less and becoming greener in the process.
The extra control afforded by BAS mean a higher level of security. Doors can be programmed to lock at a particular time, CCTV cameras can be remotely operated and colleague access can be carefully controlled. Alerts can also be programmed to notify people and other systems based upon the severity of the threat, giving building managers and security officers access to better intelligence.
Thanks to wireless technology, building managers can have 24/7 access to their systems, whether they are on-site or not. Often, all it takes is a smartphone, tablet or computer to adjust critical system settings whenever it is needed, giving you total control of building operations.
The future of building automation
When a technology emerges that is able to make managing a built environment significantly easier, cheaper, more environmentally friendly and customisable to the user’s needs, the chances are it is here to stay. The benefits of BAS extend far beyond saving energy and sustainability, and businesses that adopt this technology are leveraging data in new ways to improve operational efficiency.
The shift away from disparate systems and toward interoperable, cloud-connected devices is only going to continue, enabling automation to integrate further within operational strategies. Whilst there is still progress to be made, automation is certainly at the heart of future “smart buildings”.
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