How BACnet Protocol Offers Efficiency, Ease of Operations

BACnet systems can help reduce TCO by fostering a cost-effective, integrated approach. Part 2 of a 3-part article.

Report Prepared for BACnet International

OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: BACnet Systems Can Trim Total Cost of OwnershipPt. 2: This PagePt. 3: BACnet Data Access, Commissioning, Maintenance Are Key Tools

Installing a BAS that operates with the BACnet protocol can reduce initial system integration costs and also project delays, experts say. In its ability to unite disparate systems, the protocol offers efficiency and ease of operations, as well as more competitive bidding and pricing.

The reduction in the initial system integration costs and project delays can occur because of BACnet's wide implementation, with compatible products available from virtually all major controls suppliers. Facilities professionals can mix and match controls vendors, getting the freedom to choose "best-of-breed" technologies in each application.

"It offers greater efficiency and ease of operation by providing the ability to tie many of the individual pieces and capabilities together, allowing for more intelligent and effective building management," says Eugene Shedivy, BAS product leader at Trane.

Because BACnet fosters a cost-effective, integrated approach within the BAS, it truly can reduce long-term costs. "The key steps to minimize total cost of ownership of a BACnet BAS lie in the identification of intelligent investments into systems with actionable and traceable results," Hollinger says. "The costs for a facility can be intelligently spent to drive the revenue-producing activities, while minimizing the long-term facility-operations-driven costs of such activities."

The ability to bring disparate systems together for a single, simplified snapshot of how a building's systems are operating saves time and streamlines operations. This approach also opens up the field for competitive bids and pricing.

"With proprietary-protocol systems, building owners and facilities teams may be at the mercy of a single service provider for access to the system and to perform routine maintenance," Kehr says. "This can be costly, as there is little competition. With BACnet, qualified technicians from a wide range of service providers have the ability to service the system and compete for the service agreement, lowering costs and increasing transparency."

What's more, notes Andy McMillan, president and managing director of BACnet International, the broad availability of BACnet components ensures that there will be competitive pricing for both replacement parts and new components needed for future system expansion. "This can dramatically reduce the total cost of ownership over the life of a system," McMillan says.

In an integration, some experts advise going with "islands" of control vendors. Through this approach, an installation can be cut into separate autonomous pieces, with each piece being the domain of a single vendor. "Within an island, mixing in packaged equipment from other vendors is acceptable, but single-source selection for any particular type of product usually is best," Rae says, noting, for example, that drivers could be all Vendor A, while all stats would be from Vendor B.

"Selecting a BACnet BAS means you can also use a separate vendor for the front-end management system," he adds.

Rae says, however, that it's essential to avoid selecting operator work stations that use proprietary communications to bring the BACnet islands together. Look for such features as 100 percent access to all features, the ability to make changes to programming and settings, and no hidden passwords, to name just a few considerations.

Look for the BTL Mark BTL Mark

The BACnet Testing Laboratories (BTL) Mark and BTL Listing programs provide facility managers with a simple mechanism to identify products that have been independently tested with the best industry-wide BACnet test suite available, notes Andy McMillan, president and managing director of BACnet International.

"Facility managers who require BACnet products used in their systems to be BTL Listed are likely to reduce their total cost of ownership through lower integration costs and fewer operating issues and costs in the future," he says.

Continue Reading: Building Automation Systems

BACnet Systems Can Trim Total Cost of Ownership

How BACnet Protocol Offers Efficiency, Ease of Operations

BACnet Data Access, Commissioning, Maintenance Are Key Tools

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  posted on 4/8/2015   Article Use Policy

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