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Wireless Considerations for BAS Upgrades


A facility manager doesn’t need to be an expert on the intricacies of building automation system technology when planning a BAS upgrade. In fact, to select the right BAS for a building, the facility manager has to keep the big picture in mind.

One increasingly common question that comes up regards the use of wireless. There is no single wireless standard in the marketplace yet. Therefore, purchasing a wireless BAS system will lock the building into a particular line of hardware products. This is an important consideration, as the upgrade cycle on a wireless BAS system is significantly faster than on a wired system.

What’s more, wireless doesn’t mean lack of wires. Every wireless receiver or transmitter needs to be wired back to the network, so the cost of an electrician and cabling isn’t eliminated with the specification of a wireless network. Additionally, a reduction in wires needed also means the addition of batteries to both the operating budget and maintenance plan.

The principal ROI question facility managers should ask themselves when considering a wireless BAS system is: How often do the building’s HVAC components, VAV boxes, or thermostat need to be moved? Facilities with frequent turnover or reconfiguration rates are ideal for a wireless BAS.

However, with wireless solutions, there’s no one size fits all. In fact, it is possible for a facility to be partially wireless.

One other tip: Don’t forget to negotiate future software upgrades into the BAS service contract. Make sure immediate access or the option at low or no cost to do maintenance upgrades on the BAS system is included. While the BAS contractor may have a right to charge for large incremental version changes in the software, bug fixes and basic feature improvements should be at no cost to the owner.

This quick read comes from David Callan of McGuire Engineers.

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