To Get Benefits Of BAS, Overcome Resistance To Change

  June 19, 2015

This quick read comes from James Piper, a contributing editor for Building Operating Management. To maximize the benefits of a BAS, the facility manager must often overcome resistance to change. Facility departments are very conservative organizations. They look for ways to do things, and when those practices work, the facility staff tends to stick with them even if they are not the best practice available. Change is often frowned upon. While some new technologies are embraced, there is an inverse relationship between how quickly they are accepted and their complexity. Hand-held devices, meters, and other small-scale technology items gain acceptance rather quickly. Facility-wide, computer-based control systems do not.

To some extent, this conservative approach is understandable. The focus on operating and maintenance personnel is and must be on keeping things operating. The most frequently stressed benefits promised by building automation — improved effectiveness and reduced energy costs — are secondary to the operating staff. The job for managers is to find a way of overcoming this resistance.

One effective method is to set up a demonstration program. The program can involve an entire building, or a single system within a building. Select a building or system where there have been an above-average number of problems, such as occupant complaints, maintenance calls, or nuisance system failures. Set up control system operations on the building or system that personnel have been reluctant to implement. Establish performance criteria that will be evaluated, such as the number of customer complaints, maintenance calls, or energy use. Monitor operations for a set period of time, and go over the results with operators and maintenance personnel.

It can be expected that the number of problems in the building or system will significantly increase during the early days of the demonstration program, as many of these deficiencies have existed undetected for some time. But as the demonstration program progresses, the frequency of problems will fall. Energy savings, provided that there are sufficient submeters, will be demonstrated. Occupant complaints will decline. Demonstrating these improvements over time will help to win over skeptics.

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