BAS Upgrades: Balance Sustainability with Functionality

By Doug Yon, P.E.  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: BAS Upgrades: Develop a Master PlanPt. 2: Building Automation: Document Commissioning for New InstallationsPt. 3: BAS Upgrades: Consider Staffing and Training NeedsPt. 4: This Page

As building automation becomes more integrated into system functionality, its impact on occupant comfort and energy use becomes more important. BAS operators must balance the need for maximizing functionality with the need for reducing energy use. Through proper monitoring and control of the system's operating conditions, technicians can optimize performance and maintain comfort. To maximize building performance, BAS operators need to pay attention to: changing times for scheduled starts and stops; daily and weekly coordination with building activities; and optimal system start-up.

Optimizing building energy and system performance is a cornerstone of supporting energy efficiency and sustainability efforts, such as pursuing certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (LEED-EB: O&M) rating system. In both cases, the BAS not only provides control resulting in improved building performance. It also might help document and trend building comfort and air quality, as well as support sub-metering utility use. A BAS can be instrumental in earning credits that involve:

  • monitoring outdoor-air delivery with carbon-dioxide sensors
  • documenting increased ventilation rates
  • monitoring thermal comfort
  • providing daylighting controls for consistent lighting levels.

Developing and implementing a comprehensive BAS master plan will ensure managers and front-line technicians that the specification process gives post-installation issues proper consideration. When functioning efficiently and operating properly, a BAS promotes sustainability, energy management, and overall operational excellence.

Doug Yon, P.E., CEP, is a project manager with Facility Engineering Associates Inc., and is a key contributor to the energy management and sustainability and facility asset management service lines.

Spotlight: BACnet International

BACnet International is an industry association that facilitates the successful use of the BACnet protocol in building automation and control systems through interoperability testing, educational programs, and promotional activities. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) developed the BACnet standard and made it publicly available so manufacturers can create interoperable systems of products. BACnet International complements the work of the ASHRAE standards committee and BACnet-related interest groups around the world. The association's members include building owners, consulting engineers and facility managers, and companies involved in the design, manufacturing, installation, commissioning, and maintenance of control equipment that uses BACnet for communication. For more information and resources, visit

Continue Reading: Upgrades to Building-Automation Systems

BAS Upgrades: Develop a Master Plan

Building Automation: Document Commissioning for New Installations

BAS Upgrades: Consider Staffing and Training Needs

BAS Upgrades: Balance Sustainability with Functionality

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  posted on 4/1/2011   Article Use Policy

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