Many existing building owners find the concept of systems integration persuasive, but they struggle with moving from the concept to actual deployment. Three steps can help achieve successful integration of systems in existing buildings.
1. Gather information about the capabilities and features of the existing systems. There is no such thing as having too much information and documentation about the building's subsystems. By the end of a systems integration project the facility manager will have to know every system in detail; the sooner that is done, the faster the project will be completed. Information to be gathered includes as-built drawings, control drawings, points' lists, model numbers, versions, system server locations, network architecture, energy data, a profile of past work orders, etc.
2. Identify opportunities for systems integration that will provide additional functionality and automation. Describe possible systems integration that can add functionality and detail the sequence of operations. Prioritize the recommended systems integrations. Here are four examples:
3. Integrate building system data into a database and link to other business systems and facility management systems. The most innovative building management systems read or write to data points in building control systems and create a database of enterprise system data. This allows one software platform and a human-machine interface to access a broader range of building data and more importantly improves the capability to analyze data. The use of analytic tools for building control systems (especially the HVAC system) has been shown to reduce energy consumption as well as to improve operations.
Building system data need to be integrated with the facility management applications for work orders, asset management, preventative maintenance, and more. Also, integrating this data into business systems such as accounting, budgeting, and purchasing enables the financial side of facility management.
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