4  FM quick reads on Building Automation

1. What Interoperability Is and Isn’t

If two devices are interoperable, they can share information and commands without the need for a gateway or other special hardware or software to translate from one protocol to another.

But that doesn’t mean the devices are interchangeable. In other words, just because thermostats from two different manufacturers are interoperable, facility executives cannot simply replace one with another and expect the second to work exactly the way the first did.

For devices to be interchangeable, both the way protocols are implemented and the capabilities of devices would need to be standardized to a far greater extent than is currently the case.

If devices were interchangeable, facility executives would have far more freedom to mix and match devices from different manufacturers. But there would be fewer choices about features and the way those features are implemented.

Look at Green Building Needs When Planning BAS

There are many advantages to a good building automation system, but one that is increasingly important but often overlooked is the way that a sophisticated control system can help a facility pursue green strategies.

A building automation system can be designed to make it easier to save energy and to ensure good indoor air quality. But achieving those benefits to the fullest may entail extra points of control, which may raise the cost of the system. Understanding how those benefits support the larger goal of green design can help to justify any extra costs, as well as the time required for the facility executive to ensure that those control strategies are part of the specification.

A building automation system can be particularly important in facilities that decide to seek LEED for Existing Buildings, or LEED-EB, certification. One of the biggest challenges of LEED-EB is gathering information to document building performance. A sophisticated building automation system can provide a lot of that information.

Even if a building never seeks LEED-EB certification, the environmental benefits from the building automation capabilities remain — a fact that should be considered at the earliest stages of BAS design.


Building Automation , Interoperability , Open Systems

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