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Getting What You Want from a Building Automation System

building automation, controls, system integration

I’m Ed Sullivan, editor of Building Operating Management magazine. Today’s topic is building automation systems.

If you’re planning to install a building automation system, a crucial step is to decide what you want it to do. That sounds obvious, but in too many cases it doesn’t happen.

It’s not enough to say that you want to improve control or increase comfort. It’s not even enough to say that you want to reduce temperature swings in a given part of the building. Those are legitimate goals, but when it comes to planning the system they aren’t sufficient.

Instead, the specification must spell out the points that the system is expected to control – all the points. That’s no small task. It takes both time and expertise to complete the job. In some cases, the expertise may exist in-house. In other cases you may want to bring in an independent engineer. But either way, it’s essential that time and money be made available to identify all the points to be controlled. Without that level of detail, there’s no way to ensure that the system will actually be designed to do what you want it to do.

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