BACnet Data Access, Commissioning, Maintenance Are Key Tools
BACnet systems can help reduce TCO by fostering a cost-effective, integrated approach. Part 3 of a 3-part article.
Report Prepared for BACnet International
BACnet provides data access that allows facility managers to identify recurring, non-productive, or wasteful costs within operations. Other key tools for managers include commissioning and maintenance.
In terms of data access, "Understanding BACnet and staying current on related industry developments will help facility managers minimize the total cost of ownership of a BACnet BAS," McMillan says. "One of the most effective ways to do that is to sign up for a no-cost, individual membership with BACnet International."
Another step facility professionals should take is to familiarize themselves with the global product test and certification programs implemented by the BACnet community — the BACnet Testing Laboratories (BTL) Mark and BTL Listing. (See "Look for the BTL Mark" sidebar in Part 2 of this article.)
Once these certified components are integrated into the BAS, the next key step in the process is commissioning, followed by ongoing maintenance — something facility managers should not overlook, says Kolasa.
"Select a well-qualified integrator to commission and service the BAS for optimal performance," Kolasa says. He also notes that whether or not the facility manager self-maintains or contracts ongoing service and maintenance to the integrator or third party, a best practice is to license and store software tools, programs, and databases needed to maintain or expand the BAS. The latter might include adding controllers and sensors or initiating system recovery after a catastrophic failure.
Future Proof With BACnet
Because buildings' needs and uses change over time, the ability to easily and efficiently incorporate modifications is an important consideration when it comes to assessing total cost of ownership. Specifying an open BACnet protocol as the BAS backbone not only enables system integration and provides simple access to data today, but also provides flexibility in future expansions and upgrades. It future-proofs the building automation system.
"Minimizing total cost of ownership hinges greatly on choosing a BAS built on an open, standard protocol," Shedivy says. "An open system that grows and changes to fit specific building needs — on the schedule and budget best suited to the particular situation — offers the greatest potential for life-cycle cost savings."
That's where BACnet, with its long history of successful interoperability and its promise for future expandability, comes into play.
"BACnet has been a standard for 20 years and is still being extended to incorporate new technologies, such as web services," McMillan points out. "This continuous development ensures that systems incorporating BACnet will be able to leverage future developments, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), without the need to re-implement the whole system. Given the rapid change in tenant expectations and the regulatory environment, this forward-looking flexibility will likely be a significant factor in minimizing total cost of ownership."
More on BACnet International Programs, Testing Lab
The goal of BACnet International is to support the use of the BACnet protocol. For facility managers, two noteworthy areas of activity in that regard are education and product testing.
BACnet International has a range of programs to disseminate information about the BACnet standard, which was developed by ASHRAE, including educational events, publications, and a website.
Equally important, BACnet International sustains and funds the BACnet Testing Lab (BTL), which performs compliance and interoperability testing for products that have implemented the BACnet protocol. The BTL Mark is a facility manager's assurance that a product has implemented all of the required capabilities for a particular profile.
Visit www.bacnetinternational.org for more information about BACnet International.