Complete integration of an entire facility is the goal that any modern automation system attempts to achieve. The distributed control system – the computer networking of electronic devices designed to monitor and control the mechanical, security, fire, lighting, HVAC and humidity control and ventilation systems in a building or across several campuses.
The Building Automation System (BAS) core functionality is to keep building climate within a specified range, light rooms based on an occupancy schedule, monitor performance and device failures in all systems and provide malfunction alarms. Automation systems reduce building energy and maintenance costs compared to a non-controlled building. Typically they are financed through energy and insurance savings and other savings associated with pre-emptive maintenance and quick detection of issues.
A building controlled by a BAS is often referred to as an intelligent building or “smart building”. Commercial and industrial buildings have historically relied on robust proven protocols like BACnet.
Almost all multi-story green buildings are designed to accommodate a BAS for the energy, air and water conservation characteristics. Electrical device demand response is a typical function of a BAS, as is the more sophisticated ventilation and humidity monitoring required of “tight” insulated buildings. Most green buildings also use as many low-power DC devices as possible, typically integrated with power over Ethernet wiring, so by definition always accessible to a BAS through the Ethernet connectivity. Even a passive design intended to consume no net energy whatsoever will typically require a BAS to manage heat capture, shading and venting, and scheduling device use.