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Beginner’s Guide to Building Automation Systems

As technology advances more each day, we must learn to adapt to new programs and systems. Building automation systems have become an easy and innovative way to increase efficiency. What is a building automation system and how does it work? 

In this article you will learn about what a building automation system is, as well as the benefits and challenges of having one.

What is a Building Automation System (BAS)?

A building automation system (BAS) is a centralized system within a building that provides automated controls over different internal systems. A building that is controlled by a BAS is commonly referred to as an intelligent building or a “smart building.” 

The main function of a BAS is to be able to control individual systems through one centralized place. There are several systems that can be controlled by a building automation system: HVAC, building access, security, electrical, fire and smoke alarms, water, temperature, and more. By having a building automation system, all of these separate systems can be controlled and monitored through one system.

"A building automation system is a system, or set of systems, that provide automated control and monitoring within a building. Control is centralized, meaning that these systems can be monitored and adjusted from a small number of stations located throughout the building."

Five Components of a BAS

There are five main components of a building automation system:

1. Sensors – transmit information such as lighting level, temperature, among other things. Learn more about different types of sensors for building projects from ELPROCUS

2. Controllers – collects data from sensors and sends commands to the connected systems

3. Output Devices – follow the commands and acts accordingly (ex: turning on the HVAC systems, dimming the lights)

4. Communication Protocols – building automation systems use a specific language that is understood by individual parts

5. Terminal Interface – customers monitor and control the BAS through the interface

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Benefits of a BAS

Building automation systems have a multitude of benefits, which is why they are so important to have. 

The greatest benefit of a BAS is that it can be remotely monitored and controlled. Being able to monitor buildings remotely can help managers stay updated about what is going on in a building when they are not there. 

Another major benefit of a BAS is the reduced energy and operating costs. Since a building automation system increases the efficiency of several systems, the overall cost of utilities such as water and electricity decrease immensely. Check out this article from Intel to learn more about costs and savings for smart buildings.

An additional advantage is that a BAS improves the life cycle of equipment. Although a BAS can have a large cost upfront, it pays for itself over time. Furthermore, a BAS improves occupant comfort. Temperature and humidity levels can be closely monitored and optimized for maximum comfort.

Is your BAS confusing to use or have limited system control? Integrate your existing BAS into Particle Space’s Smart Building platform for advanced monitoring and control of all your systems in one easy cloud platform.

Challenges of a BAS

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to having a building automation system. 

Since many buildings have older systems, a full upgrade is necessary in order to use BAS technology, which can incur a lot of upfront expenses. Luckily, managers can reduce this cost by using a retrofitted system.

Another downside to a BAS is vendor lock-in. If a single company provides the system for the building, any updates or new systems added will most likely have to go through the same company. Luckily, there is a solution for both these challenges regardless of vendors. Manager’s can integrate their existing BAS and other existing building systems into Particle Space’s Smart Building platform to monitor and control all their systems in one place.

Lastly, a building automation system will age out after a decade or two. Building managers should ensure that they have a plan in place for when the system needs to be replaced. Read more about how to deal with an aging BAS here by Primex.

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Particle Space integrates with your existing building systems to give you advanced control & intelligent monitoring without the startup costs.