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4  FM quick reads on Building automation system

1. Building Automation Systems: Three Reasons to Replace Rather Than Upgrade

Today's tip from Building Operating Management comes from James Piper, contributing editor: As facility managers consider whether to replace an existing building automation system or to upgrade it, three factors may tip the balance toward replacement.

1. One of the most significant benefits of replacing a system is the ability to take advantage of new system technologies. During the past two decades, systems have vastly expanded in both capacity and capability. Interoperability has allowed standalone systems to be merged into a single, comprehensive system. Wireless technology has helped to reduce installation costs while increasing system flexibility. Advances in computer technology have slashed equipment costs while vastly improving system performance. Software improvements have made the systems easier to use.

2. Replacing a BAS also staves off obsolescence. All system designs have a finite service life, typically around ten years. If a seven-year-old system is expanded or upgraded, it may slightly extend its service life as long as the manufacturer continues to support it. In contrast, a new system would reset the clock on both service life and manufacturer support.

3. System replacement also offers facility executives the opportunity to more closely match system features and capabilities with facility needs. Expanding or upgrading an existing system may bring system features and facility needs into closer agreement, but chances are that alignment will never be as close as could be achieved with a complete replacement.

It can't be denied that new generation systems are powerful. The graphics can present an impressive picture of what is going on within different areas of the facility. But those capabilities are useful only if they meet some specific existing need of the facility. Investing in system capabilities that are not needed is simply a waste of money.

2.  Five Ways BIM Can Benefit FM

Today's tip is about five benefits facility managers can take advantage of by using building information modeling, or BIM, as a tool for facility management.

The first benefit comes from integrating a BIM model with a facility's maintenance management system. If a preventive maintenance program isn't already automated, BIM can do that. And if it is, BIM can connect to the existing software package to supplement the data and information that already exists, ensure an even more robust maintenance program. Essentially, the BIM model becomes an electronic owners manual, and can also be a valuable tool if facility managers undertake a recommissioning process.

Secondly, BIM can improve space management. BIM can show quickly and visually where space could be used more efficiently and help make it

Third, BIM can help with building analysis, especially in regards to sustainability initiatives, like LEED-EBOM. The BIM model can be a continuously updatable repository for all the data collected and programs developed in conjunction with green goals. That way, when it comes time for LEED-EBOM recertification, the BIM model is a one-stop shop for identifying which new credits to tackle or which credits should be improved upon.

Fourth, BIM can help streamline change management. Facility managers can use the BIM model to scenario plan and configure space more efficiently. BIM can also help identify conflicts when space requirements or purposes change.

Fifth, new software packages are being created and put out on the market that allow a BIM model to connect with a facility's building automation system. This has numerous benefits in terms of information management and system efficiency. After all, nothing is more expensive than information you can't trust, as the common saying goes.

3.  Four Steps Can Help Determine Whether to Upgrade or Replace Building Automation System

Today's tip from Building Operating Management comes from James Piper, contributing editor: Use these four steps when deciding whether to upgrade or replace a building automation system.

After a facility manager has examined how well the current building automation system is meeting the needs of the facility, as well as what new options are available in the latest generation of building automation systems, it is time to evaluate whether to upgrade or replace the existing system. Here are four steps to help make that decision.

1. For the existing and the possible replacement systems, develop a list of all of the positive and negative aspects of each system. In addition to the features and limitations of the systems, consider other factors such as how easy the system is to operate, the level of training required for both operators and mechanics to use the system, how well the system is supported by the manufacturer, and how difficult it is to obtain service and spare parts.

2. Another important factor to consider is if there is a mechanism for upgrading the current system so that it is compatible with the latest generation system from that manufacturer. If an upgrade path is available, chances are that upgrading will be able to provide the level of functionality of a system replacement at a much lower cost.

3. All systems have a limit on their maximum size. As systems approach this size limit, they can experience significant decreases in performance. If the current system is approaching this limit, or if any planned expansion results in the system approaching this limit, that's an argument for system replacement. Maxing out a system severely limits future changes and growth as well as performance.

4. Finally, it's useful to consider the relationship with the vendor that supports the existing system. Vendor issues weigh heavily in the decision-making process, but be careful not to confuse the lack of vendor support with poor system performance.

4.  Energy Management System Can Streamline Facility Maintenance Tasks

Today's topic concerns the way an energy management system can help improve maintenance.

The two biggest reasons that an energy management system are installed are to improve occupant comfort and to reduce energy costs. But there's a third important benefit that, while it may be difficult to quantify, should not be discounted, says the California Energy Commission. That benefit is improved maintenance.

A properly programmed energy management system can help maintenance in several ways. Simply being able to monitor building systems from a central location is a big plus for maintenance. Instead of having to go to a specific unit to try to determine what's wrong, the maintenance staff may be able to use the energy management system to gather information. What's more, energy management system alarm monitoring makes it easier to detect abnormal conditions and equipment problems, reducing the time it takes to respond to those problems.

What's more, the energy management system can capture data about equipment runtime and use that information to automatically generate work orders for scheduled maintenance, which can help extend the life of equipment. And it can monitor and capture trends for system parameters that are used to troubleshoot building systems and equipment.

Finally, the energy management system can automatically make the change to daylight savings time and back, saving staff time and preventing problems.


Building automation system , BAS , energy management system , EMS , retrofit

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