Tips for a Better BAS Investment

August 3, 2015 By Karen Henry

modern office bldgs Energy ManageA building automation system (BAS) is a big investment. To help maximize that investment, an article in Buildings suggests to begin by focusing on your broader goal rather than your building’s biggest energy drain.

  • The Buildings article continues with the following tips:
  • When evaluating BAS systems, have scalability in mind. Your BAS should be able to expand to additional building systems later if you’re satisfied with the initial savings.
  • Examine your existing team and assets so that you can weed out BAS products that don’t fit well.
  • Develop a list of requirements that your BAS will have to meet. ASHRAE’s 2015 update to Guideline 13: Specifying Building Automation Systems evaluates the pros and cons of different features, outlines important project considerations and provides tips on creating a BAS specification.
  • Before speaking with vendors, develop a master plan with a neutral advisor or automation consultant. This will help you avoid accidental bias from sales pitches.

As you get closer to the bidding and purchasing stage, here are four additional steps to take:

  1. Team up with the right people. For example, bringing in your IT department on the front end will ensure that the first tier of the BAS’ structure can support further development later in the process.
  2. Develop an energy-saving strategy for your BAS. Identify the building system that offers the biggest savings potential, which can then fund later integration of other building systems.
  3. Even if you have no current plans to expand, make sure your infrastructure is designed to allow additional integration over time.
  4. Pick a system that’s right-sized for your building. An ideal BAS should bridge the gap between too complex and too basic while leaving room to integrate other building systems later.

During the initial setup process, follow a logical device naming system that’s easy to remember and repeat on future installations. Develop a corporate standard to help you avoid expansion problems on campuses for future BAS installations. Document rules and procedures for your organization’s automation needs and ask any future vendors to comply with your requirements. To help avoid false alarms, customize alarm rules to the season and time of day.

Once your system is up and running, use your BAS to find areas of dysfunction. Track your savings by benchmarking for avoided costs. This will also help you demonstrate the system’s value to decision-makers.

Photo via Shutterstock.

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