WHAT'S NEW AT BASS
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Three reasons may justify an investment in upgraded building automation or energy management systems.
The past few years have seen a substantial amount of innovation in building automation and energy management systems.
In some cases, the innovations have come from suppliers of the automation systems; in other cases,
the new applications have been developed by third party software developers.
Three economic forces are moving more buildings into modern building automation or energy management operations:
First, tenant comfort can be significantly improved, because building management can monitor building components more thoroughly than older building automation or energy management applications could. With today's technology, you really can see everything you need to see at a high level to ensure your building's occupants are comfortable.
The second force is control of utility costs. Facility managers can react quickly to address usage anomalies. So if tenants add a new lighting system that causes their usage to jump by 1,000 kilowatts, you know immediately. You have time to see if you can do something to correct the matter or possibly adjust the contract with them for the additional usage.
The third motivator is manpower savings. Alarms and sensors keep building operators aware of what's happening via the building automation or energy management network, before staff are dispatched. Soft diagnostics, built into today's controls, identify potential glitches before they become problems. Sometimes the diagnostics can correct the problem directly. But even when the controller cannot fix the problem, it can note early warning signs. For example, the controls will note the water pressure is dropping before the basement is flooded.
As facility managers consider whether to replace an existing building automation system or to upgrade it,
three factors may tip the balance toward replacement.
One of the most significant benefits of replacing a system is the ability to take advantage of new system technologies. During the past two decades, systems have vastly expanded in both capacity and capability. Interoperability has allowed standalone systems to be merged into a single, comprehensive system. Wireless technology has helped to reduce installation costs while increasing system flexibility. Advances in computer technology have slashed equipment costs while vastly improving system performance. Software improvements have made the systems easier to use.
Replacing a BAS also staves off obsolescence. All system designs have a finite service life, typically around ten years. If a seven-year-old system is expanded or upgraded, it may slightly extend its service life as long as the manufacturer continues to support it. In contrast, a new system would reset the clock on both service life and manufacturer support.
System replacement also offers facility executives the opportunity to more closely match system features and capabilities with facility needs. Expanding or upgrading an existing system may bring system features and facility needs into closer agreement, but chances are that alignment will never be as close as could be achieved with a complete replacement.
It can't be denied that new generation systems are powerful.
The graphics can present an impressive picture of what is going on within different areas of the facility.
But those capabilities are useful only if they meet some specific existing need of the facility.
Investing in system capabilities that are not needed is simply a waste of money.