Overlooked Opportunities in BAS Functionality
What opportunity is most often overlooked in commercial facilities in regard to BAS functionality?
Proper alarm management would be one of the top opportunities for facility managers who are interested in producing improved operational efficiency. Many facility groups do not have a plan for alarm management. A plan means that the facility group needs to figure out all the alarms they can possibly have or want, decide who is going to respond to each alarm, what the response process is and whether it's low priority or high priority. Many times what happens without an alarm management plan is any alarm coming in is taken on a first come first served basis; the downside to that is engineers or technicians are possibly working on lower priority incidents while higher priority alarms, which could be costing money, are not being addressed.
The second overlooked opportunity is the use of analytic software to identify faults within the HVAC system, something called fault detection and diagnostics. The HVAC system is the most complex system in the building and has the most data points. There was research done on fault detection for HVAC systems six or seven years ago by NIST and some software companies have taken that research, expanded it and created software tools to support facility managers and engineers.
Basically, fault detection and diagnostic software can tell you if the relationship between the chiller and the air handler, for example, is not optimal and provides information on the potential problem or cause. Even though the system is running and not alarming, it will tell you what you need to do to optimize HVAC performance. Analytic software will result in energy savings from 10 to potentially 20 percent on an HVAC system.