How managers can move their organization from reactive emergencies to planned activities
Angela Testa, senior vice president of operations at American Campus Communities, strengthens operations without compromising a healthy work environment
One way facility executives can respond to the economic downturn is finding new ways to increase operating efficiency while reducing energy consumption. Energy management systems (EMS) and building automation systems (BAS) have achieved both goals when properly applied. The challenge is to make the case for EMS/BAS upgrades.
Before proceeding with upgrades to an existing EMS/BAS — or in lieu of an upgrade if the budget does not allow for it — facility executives should make sure existing systems are operating at optimal levels. First, examine the HVAC equipment under EMS/BAS control, using the principles of retro-engineering to audit mechanical and electrical performance. Reevaluating existing mechanical equipment ensures that equipment selected for automation can be controlled by an EMS/BAS in the most energy-efficient manner.
The existing legacy control system equipment also should be reviewed. Technologically outdated control equipment that uses obsolete programming languages and lacks sufficient memory or expansion capabilities should be replaced. Replacement will reduce the time and cost of labor required for troubleshooting and software revision. This also is an opportunity to install electronic metering to gather the data required to verify energy savings from EMS/BAS upgrades on legacy systems (or justify their replacement).
In addition, check facility measuring devices such as temperature, humidity and pressure sensors responsible for maintaining operating parameters for major HVAC equipment. As part of a facilitywide standard, select industry-standard end devices that provide 4-20 ma or 0-10 volt output signals with high measuring accuracy.