A properly designed Building Automation System (BAS) is critical for Facility Operations to create and maintain a “green” facility. Here is how ASHRAE’s BACnet protocol and a properly designed BAS can help meet the Facility Executive’s goal of long term sustainability for a new or an existing facility.
The three critical components are: (1) a Networked Controls design, (2) remote Internet access and (3) a commissioning process that is managed by Facility Operations.
Networked Controls Design: With the advent of BACnet, BAS systems are now interoperable or talk to each other. The BACnet protocol is now used by the electrical, fire, security, lighting and other industries. Devices such as chillers, boilers, generators, switchgear, lighting, fire, security and other equipment can now come with controls on-board. If the BAS is properly designed, the role of the Controls Contractor changes from “stick building” controls to networking controls devices onto the BACnet Internetwork. “Stick building” means that the device like an AHU comes “brain-dead” and just like Gepetto the shoemaker who brought Pinocchio the marionette to life, the BAS system “brings life” to the AHU or boiler.
Through a “Networked Controls” design that is properly specified using MasterFormat 2004 Division 25, Facility Operations can now receive information about the health of HVAC, fire, lighting, electrical and other building systems equipment. This information on faults, etc. cannot be obtained through a “stick building” design approach.
Remote Internet access to the BAS: This is critical to meeting the goal of long term sustainability. Here’s why. Internet access to a Networked Controls BAS will enable remote diagnosis. This reduces the time and transportation energy to drive to the building (and spend time going through security in some cases), just to get into the building Mechanical/Electrical room to determine the problem and to order the parts. There may be a need for additional trips by specialized technicians to diagnose the problem. There may be delays, which in turn may reduce service levels to the customer, the occupants of the building. Having remote diagnosis increases service levels and improves warranty Work Orders for BASs and equipment still under warranty. Facility Operations must work with IT to make this happen in a way that protects vital information in the Enterprise from unauthorized access.
A Facility Operations managed commissioning process: Historically Facility Operations has not been the driving force behind commissioning. Rather, this has been done by independent consultants and Facility Operations simply inherits the system. To enhance sustainability, the Facility Executive must ensure that the BAS commissioning process includes the following requirements. Commissioning is an ideal training opportunity for Facility Operations staff. The commissioning work must be structured to permit Facility Operations staff to participate. Only Facility Operations staff have a vested interest in making sure that all wiring, junction boxes, etc. are properly tagged and identified on the “as-builts” so they can be found again. No commissioning must begin until all the documentation and “as-builts” are donecompleted. Commissioning a Networked Controls system gives Facility Operations the chance to verify that the BAS is communicating with the device interface. The equipment supplier and BAS contractor must be on site at the same time to permit this. The commissioning process must test out the remote access procedures to meet IT requirements. This may require security clearances or network drops to be done ahead of time. Finally the commissioning process is the ideal time to collect data for the Enterprise PM system. Most standard commissioning forms do not collect this data. The commissioning forms or the electronic data gathering process must be designed with the intent of collecting data for Enterprise PM system.