As winter has officially arrived in Canada, it brings on a myriad of troubles and unseen issues when it comes to keeping your HVAC system running. This makes the onset of winter the perfect time to start prepping your commercial building so that you do not run into last minute issues, resulting in costly repairs, downtime, and a dent in your profit margin. Although there are several ways you can optimize your HVAC system for tackling winter challenges, investing in an efficient building automation system can definitely take a lot off your plate and keep your HVAC system running smoothly and efficiently.
Importance of Building Automation System for HVAC system
Are you sure that your heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system can handle this winter season without giving you any trouble? If you are a commercial building owner or facility manager, then pretty sure you know the energy spikes that take place during winter season to keep the premises running and the occupants comfortable, which is why it is imperative that your HVAC system is functioning efficiently. So how can building automation system help you manage your HVAC system better during the winter season?
Building automation and control system offers a distributed control system tailored to track and manage several building components such as mechanical, HVAC, lighting, security, and so on within a building or several buildings. The ultimate goal of building automation system is to maintain building ambiance in a specific range based on the presence of occupants. In addition, it also helps to monitor the various system and provide updates and alerts regarding any system issues. With HVAC system overworking during the winter season, it makes sense for commercial building owners and managers to invest in such a system that can do all of these without any hassle or expert help.
Common HVAC problems in winter and how to solve them
Frozen or malfunctioning heat pump
Rooftop commercial HVAC units are exposed to extreme cold temperatures during harsh winters. Although slight frosting is not an issue, prolonged and repeated exposure can be detrimental to your HVAC system. For example, the HVAC coil could be covered in snow or other debris or may have frosted in freezing rain. Often these rooftop units are out of sight and maintenance is neglected until it is too late. Having a building automation system can help you provide remote HVAC monitoring and alerting while automated defrost setting can ensure your heat pump does not freeze and malfunction. Otherwise, if the coils or fans are frozen and this setting is broken, then you would need to manually remove the frosting.
Dirty air filters
During winter, due to extreme weather conditions as well as negligence in proper maintenance of HVAC system can result in dirty air filters. This can obstruct airflow and reduce HVAC system efficiency, making the system put in twice as much work to maintain the building environment. Clogged filters also have a secondary impact on the coils which result in poor heat conduction, improper humidity level and decreased efficiency of the compressor. With building automation system of your HVAC, it can notify you of any anomalies in airflow, pressure change, so that you can take corrective actions. Also, if the filter is permanently discolored or disfigured, you need to replace it with a new one.
During winter, the required quantity of airflow to heat a space differs than the required airflow in summer as the goal in summer is to cool a room rather than heat. Also, different areas in your building will have different requirements so you may feel one room is colder than others. When you are a commercial building owner or manager, it can be hard for you to track these small nuances. With a building automation system, you can adjust airflow supply settings remotely and make changes in real-time to not only increase your HVAC efficiency but also enhance occupants’ comfort.
Incorrect temperature settings
It is very common for humans to forget obvious things like changing temperature settings during the winter season. If you have a thermostat that is not properly calibrated, then your HVAC system will not provide proper heating, whereas investing in a smart thermostat or building automation, allows you to control the heating and cooling of your commercial building much more effectively. With this, you can find out which areas are using unnecessary heating and cut down costs by 20%-50%.
Leaks and improper refrigerant level
Sometimes, your HVAC system can give out cold air even if the thermostat is working properly in case of improper refrigerant level or leaks. When you invest in building automation and controls, you can stay ahead of these issues with alerts even before a major problem occurs and prevent damage to your equipment.
Carbon monoxide leaks
Although new HVAC systems will be efficient and only release hot or cool air, with time your HVAC system will get rusty and release toxic fumes. Carbon monoxide leaks can be extremely detrimental to health so if you own or manage a commercial building, you must be vigilant about carbon monoxide HVAC problems and have carbon monoxide detectors installed and checked routinely. Also, inspect your heating and cooling equipment by professionals like A-TECH Engineering – a leading HVAC Contractor based in Toronto for making sure they are safe and sound.
Having a professional HVAC inspection
Apart from investing in building automation system to keep your HVAC running smoothly, you should also make sure that the HVAC system is inspected by a professional annually. These inspections should be done in fall, spring or before onset of winter to prevent major issues when HVAC demand is the highest. Also, it is recommended to have a HVAC maintenance agreement with a qualified and reputable HVAC contractor so you get on time and priority service any time there is an issue.
You can contact A-TECH Engineering Ltd. to optimize your HVAC system through smart building automation, professional contracting services and discover untapped potential while increasing the lifespan of your HVAC system.
During the winter season, it is a given that your commercial buildings consume more energy because of shorter days, increased use of lighting and heating systems. In commercial buildings, Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning (HVAC) as well as lighting are the biggest energy consumers as per EPA. As a commercial business owner or property manager, you might be struggling with running your business and paying the utility bills, especially in these trying times of COVID-19. Finding out how much energy your building systems are using can help you with useful information on how to mitigate energy consumption, reduce energy costs and increase the net profitability. This is where building analytics services come to the rescue.
So what is building analytics?
Building analytics services provide you with valuable insights and data pertaining to your building systems such as lighting, heating, temperature, humidity, automation building system and so on. It facilitates you to make improved and faster building management decisions, resulting in a better energy saving building and reduced carbon footprint.
In winter, your commercial building has higher energy consumption, and without building analytics services, it becomes harder to track and identify how energy is being used. In addition, large commercial buildings contain a plethora of data within their myriad of systems and equipment. However, all this data is useless if there is no analytical system to track, monitor and utilize those to implement actions that can improve the overall building system.
Although many progressive business owners have turned to Building Automation System to get better control over their various building systems, the system still has some shortcomings. For instance, not having a way to store data, set benchmark performance and so on are issues of a building automation system without the back up of building analytics services. A-TECH Engineering Ltd. provides building analytics services in Toronto and elsewhere in Canada that augment your Building Automation System and provide important data and insights pertaining to the various building systems. This facilitates business owners and building operators to observe and track the systems minutely in real-time, increase operational efficiency, reduce waste while ensuring occupants’ comfort.
How building analytics can help reduce energy cost in winter?
Winter can wreak havoc on your utility bills, especially when you have businesses operating in climate as harsh as that in Canada. It is your HVAC system that pulls most of the work to keep the building running as well as provide comfort to the occupants. In addition, the HVAC is also a critical component that affects air quality in your building, which is now more important than ever in the time of covid-19. Hence, it is imperative to ensure its servicing and maintenance is carried out regularly to prevent nasty interruptions.
With building analytics services, you can easily optimize your HVAC performance by monitoring it acutely, getting insights on its usage, identifying sources of inefficiencies and making corrective actions faster. For example, with the internet of things – IoT solutions, combined with building analytics services, it is possible to get predictive analysis which can tell you of impending problems and save you major repair costs and reduce downtime.
In addition, having building analytics technology gives you remote access building systems data at all times to be monitored and analysed efficiently. For HVAC systems, this monitoring system measures and analyzes how frequently the system is running, how fast set points are met as well as when the building has occupants inside. For instance, your HVAC system may have a refrigerant leak due to which it is not performing optimally and on top of that wasting precious energy. Using data analytics, you can identify the system error and take corrective measures to rectify the problem sooner. This way, building analytics can be translated into actions that drive HVAC optimization, increase lifespan, reduce energy cost, and at the same time enhance the comfort of the building users.
Building analytics systems are a vast analytical tool that encompasses not only data related to your HVAC system but also lighting, automation systems, meters, alarms and so on providing you with insightful information that you can leverage to reduce energy consumption and maximize building efficiency. For example, during the winter period, due to shorter days, the lighting system can wreak up your electricity bills especially in commercial buildings. With data analytics, you can get real-time data on energy use, find out discrepancies and take actions to optimize use of lighting and lower energy costs.
Building analytics services can be implemented in any kind of industries – be it large commercial buildings, hotels and resorts, shopping malls, apartment complexes, or industrial facilities.
A-TECH Engineering Ltd provides building analytics services in Toronto as well as GTA and major cities in Canada that help you better manage your building facility and reduce energy costs while ensuring building efficiency. Connect with an A-TECH team member to discover your building’s potential savings.
HVAC systems are important building systems when it comes to commercial space. Their core function in commercial buildings is to provide an optimum temperature for a multitude of reasons. HVAC system can differ in number and size depending on building size, functionality and so on. This is why it is imperative that you have a means to monitor your HVAC systems easily and efficiently. With the development of building automation and controls, you can find a plethora of HVAC monitoring systems, including HVAC monitoring app that allows you to remotely control your HVAC system connected through IoT.
What is a HVAC Monitoring App?
It is an application developed that can consistently track the performance as well as energy consumption of HVAC systems in a building, with an aim to provide alerts and notifications regarding any faults or inefficiencies. In addition, it also helps you reduce your energy costs as you can have better control of your system.
Importance of HVAC Monitoring Systems
HVAC is undoubtedly one of the massive energy consuming systems in a building so a proper monitoring system is crucial for maintaining the system and reducing energy costs. Without an efficient HVAC monitoring system, you may have issues that can go unnoticed for long periods of time and result in costly repairs. On top of giving you ridiculously high operating costs, persistent HVAC problems can also cause serious damage to your asset.
When you invest in monitoring your HVAC system that can screen the full system such as exhaust fans, chillers, compressors, air-filters and so on, it becomes easier for you to be on top of any impending issues and take preventive measures proactively. This results in fewer maintenance and servicing, saves you major headaches and costly repairs, thus lowering your expenses.
With a remote HVAC monitoring system, you can indulge in several benefits such as:
- Access your HVAC systems in a building from anywhere connected to IOT.
- Get real-time updates of your HVAC stats such as temperature, flow rates, pressure differential and so on.
- Control temperature settings from anywhere via IOT. This results in increased occupants’ comfort as well as better performance of the overall system.
- Ensure your HVAC system is operating at its maximum efficiency through better control of your HVAC system.
- HVAC monitoring app gives you a unified platform with access to entire HVAC systems including chillers, exhaust fans, etc. through which issues can be perceived early on and fixed instantly.
- In addition, energy consumption profiles can be analyzed by AI to predict when problems are going to occur so you can make minor fixes instead of costly repairs.
- With remote HVAC monitoring app, you can view, change settings and get analytical data without the need to call a technician every time you run into an issue.
So how does it work?
HVAC monitoring apps are very simple and easy to use. The app uses temperature sensors and airflow sensors in the HVAC system. While temperature sensors give you an overview of temperature settings of the HVAC system, it does not give you the bigger picture. Airflow sensors allow you to monitor changes in airflow and detect problems not so easily visible, such as when your air filters are starting to clog and making your HVAC system work harder, reducing its efficiency.
A smart HVAC monitoring and alerting app will also let you see lead-lag functions of your system. For example, if you have multiple HVAC units, they are set up in a lead-lag fashion to provide the best results through rotation. A controller assures that this lead-lag is set up correctly so that all your HVAC systems run optimally. With HVAC monitoring app, you can view for yourself the comparative performance of each HVAC system and adjust accordingly for ensuring high performance. Apart from this, it provides real-time statistics on daily usage, on-off cycle data, overall operating summary for the HVAC units and so on, keeping you on top of things.
When you are considering to invest in a HVAC monitoring app, you need to keep in mind certain factors such as how easy it is easy to install and integrate into your current system, what are the prerequisites, how user-friendly it is and so on. A remote HVAC monitoring and alerting system will do the work for you while giving you peace of mind and reduce your energy costs.
A-TECH Engineering Ltd. a leading HVAC Controls Contractor in Toronto can help you with monitoring your HVAC system remotely from anywhere right at your fingertips with advanced IoT solutions. For details, contact one of our team members today.
Warehouses are essential infrastructures where large volume of goods and products are stored. Owing to their large square feet area and functionality to store goods and products in safe conditions, it is imperative that warehouses are managed efficiently. Because of their purpose of use, warehouse also happens to be big on energy consumption. In today’s technological era, having a building automation system for warehouse can greatly boost efficiency and reduce costs. The key benefits of BAS for warehouses include commercial HVAC controls and energy management system. Building Automation System is also an energy management system that reduces costs by efficiently controlling air conditioning and heating as well increases system performance and enhances occupancy comfort.
Building Automation System
Building automation system refers to the central control of a building’s several systems mainly the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) as well as lighting, security system, access control, and other interrelated systems through a Building Management System (BMS) or Building Automation System (BAS). The BAS offers a centralized platform or interface which allows you to modify the control settings, monitor the system status, and identify any possible issues associated to building system performance and take preventive measures.
Having a building automation system includes several benefits such as improved occupancy comfort, efficient operation of building systems, lowering of energy consumption, reduced operational costs, enhanced security, remote access, control and operation of building systems as well increased sustainable use of resources and equipment.
Building Automation System Integration for HVAC Controls System
Many large commercials including warehouses have central HVAC system in order to provide heating and cooling to the entire facility. They can also have multiple HVAC plants depending on building size and use. Building automation system allows integration of all these multiple systems on a unified interface, thereby providing better control, reducing inefficiencies, and lowering energy consumption.
How can warehouses benefit from Building Automation System?
The major areas where warehouse uses energy include lighting, temperature control such as humidity levels, refrigeration, heated casings and so on. Regulation of accurate temperature is vital as different products and goods require varying storage conditions.
Then there are also seasonal warehouses that operate only during certain parts of the year. For example, agro-based warehouses are operational only during the season of its yield. However, the warehouse facility needs to be maintained throughout the year to ensure its functionality. Introducing an efficient building automation system to your warehouse will give you better control on energy consumption as you can track and regulate building variables easily with integrated IoT solutions. IoT solutions can help you remotely access, regulate and operate building systems of your warehouse.
Building automation system helps you cut your warehouse energy costs by giving you valuable insights and data pertaining to your warehouse. Some of these are:
- Are you heating your warehouse when it is not necessary?
- Are you heating your warehouse in areas it is not needed?
- Is your HVAC energy efficient?
- Is your lighting energy efficient?
- Are you lighting your warehouse when it is not required?
If your warehouse is still relying on traditional ways for its operation, chances are that you have no way of having all these data, all of which can translate into enhanced warehouse efficiency and reduced costs.
With building automation system you can have a better understanding of energy use in your warehouse,
identify opportunities when you can cut energy use and set benchmark on how much energy you want spent in your warehouse.
You might feel that with building automation system, you will be handing over control to automated system but think of it like a puppet with strings- the system is the puppet but you are the one pulling the strings as you have full control over the system right at your fingertips.
In addition, having automated building system for your warehouse does not only mean that you are improving efficiency of your warehouse but also increasing your productivity and ROI. For example building automation system and control uses intuitive technology that autocorrects if there is any error in the system, so if you require warehouse temperature at a certain degree to store goods, it will auto-set it and prevent damage to the goods which you may not even be aware of if you were the one overseeing these variables.
The integration of building automation system combined with data analytics, gives you easy access to a plethora of valuable insights into the working environment of your warehouse. You can easily find out heating and cooling temperatures, HVAC monitoring, indoor air quality monitoring, and lighting besides other functional aspect of your warehouse to ensure everything is in working order.
Another way building automation system enhances your warehouse productivity is by ensuring a safe workplace for your employees. Employees not only have boosted morale to work productively but also health risks with air quality monitoring and regulated temperatures are minimized. This in turn results in greater productivity and increased net profitability for your warehouse.
Running a warehouse is a massive task and you might be inclined to thinking that having an automation system is just a superfluous addition which your business does not require, when in fact it could actually help you reduce unnecessary energy costs and grow your net profitability.
A-TECH Engineering Ltd. – a leading building automation system provider in Toronto as well as other major cities in Canada can provide custom building automation and control system tailored for your warehouse requirements, which will result in better performance, reduced costs and greater comfort of occupants. Contact our team today to find out how we can help your warehouse business become more sustainable.
The internet has brought us a great deal of power. We are currently able to control so many things from the comfort of our couches that we can often take this for granted. It is incredible to see technology grow to facilitate our lives at such a staggering rate and yet, there may be a lot of things that we could do more efficiently.
Even though we are now accustomed to simplify our lives through the use of technology there may be areas that we overlook. Maybe we think that technology is not there yet, or too expensive for us to afford in a particular field. That is still true, but more often than not a few minutes of searching can yield great results that can make your life a little (or a lot) better.
This is clearly the case when it comes to HVAC and other related controls, and we will discuss why in a bit of detail as we explore the topic in this article.
Perhaps you are a newcomer to this world of remote administration of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning systems (HVAC for short), or maybe you are a veteran looking to improve your current setup. You will find useful information here regardless.
The main objective here is to put systems in place that will enable a user to receive alerts and monitor the way in which a given set of devices is operating, to ensure that energy efficiency is at peak levels at all times.
With a good HVAC monitoring system on your side, you can be sure that machines spend as little as they possibly can to maintain the optimal range of conditions in your given working environment, which helps lower energy costs by a lot and can simplify a few crucial tasks. All of this is, of course, at the tip of your fingers nowadays. A-TECH Engineering Ltd has worked hard to produce a top-of-the-line HVAC Monitoring App to ensure that you can get all the benefits of this technique. It has been built from the ground up to interact well with the most popular providers of equipment and many other BACnet-compliant pieces of hardware.
The process of setting this kind of thing up can be cumbersome at times, but A-TECH Engineering Ltd makes sure that there is no pain in it. An HVAC Control App such as the one that is provided will enable you to control as well as monitor, the amount of control you have depends on your hardware setup, but it is often enough to make a big difference and save you from an emergency car trip to turn a physical nob or flip a switch.
But what is it exactly that enables us to control these devices from afar with precision? This technology is built around two main components: Sensors and Connectivity. Much of what is available today in this field would not have been possible ten years ago. Much of the technology involved was either too expensive or non-existent. Let us break down these two so that we can better understand what is happening when we operate these machines in such a convenient way.
These are the way in which a particular piece of equipment is capable of measuring certain aspects of its surroundings and report its own operation. It is possible today to acquire very accurate and reliable sensor equipment for almost any piece of hardware, we can even rely on the ones that are present in our own cellphones. That is the case because the cost of quality digital sensors has dropped significantly in the last few years and they are now cheaper to make. They are also smaller, more reliable, and packed with a lot more reporting features than ever before. Current HVAC equipment is capable of reading its environment and use that data to adjust its operation according to preset parameters. That means that we are now able to establish our desired outcome and let the machine do its work.
The equipment will also periodically inform a lot of useful data, such as how much energy it is consuming and many other operational details. This can help to quickly diagnose any malfunction remotely, which can then can either be addressed in the same way or in person. This enables companies and consumers to always be able to operate at peak efficiency, spending as little as possible to achieve the necessary conditions.
The most common sensors that come with this kind of equipment are Temperature, Pressure, and Humidity. There are other options available and different combinations depending on the equipment and manufacturer.
Armed with these, the machinery can be instructed to maintain a certain range of conditions. This is very useful when trying to control the temperature in a Hotel or office, for instance. But it is also very important in an industrial environment to make sure that the equipment is operating at nominal conditions. Many such places have come to rely on this kind of technology to operate, and the technology itself is more reliable than ever.
All of this reporting is only useful as long as it can be communicated in real-time to wherever it needs to get to. That is where the other aspect of this technological advancement comes into place.
We have come to expect that each of our gadgets is connected to the internet and can talk to each other in some form or another. Our phones talk to our computers, TVs and even refrigerators. The number of so-called “smart” devices continues to grow and is a trend that is expected to continue to rise in the future.
Most current equipment offers a connectivity solution and many are well-designed to interact even with similar equipment of different brands and third parties through what is known as BACnet.
Building Automation and Control networks are a form of standard protocol that is designed exactly with the purpose that we have been discussing in mind. It enables devices that have different functions and may even be from different brands to interact in a compatible way to provide the user with the ability to control their function. Such protocol is used for controlling all the sensor-related features that we have been discussing, as well as controlling lights, locks, and other features. Our brand new BACnet app interacts with many devices that support this protocol in a flawless way, providing a simple way to control many of these in a streamlined fashion.
Although BACnet is a dedicated protocol there are other alternatives to having devices connect with each other and a controlling user. The IoT or Internet of Things is the network of intelligent devices that surrounds us. It is comprised of every single piece of equipment that has the ability to connect to the Internet and is an alternative to dedicated protocols such as BACnet. There are advantages and disadvantages to this alternative. It is is very easy to set up and compatibility is also very high. If security is a concern we would recommend that you either take steps to secure these devices or consider other options. The IoT has been growing strongly because it is the main method by which consumer products are connected. It is used in home appliances of all kinds.
Both the networking and sensor solutions available to you will depend on the equipment you are working with. The good thing to keep in mind is that you will be able to use our BMS Monitoring App in most cases due to our high compatibility and support. We work well with the biggest brands in the market and also with smaller vendors that comply with some of the protocols that we have mentioned above.
We highly encourage you to look into this matter further if you have not done so yet. It will make a big difference and simplify a lot of tasks. Once you adopt a remote management solution for your HVAC concerns you will not look back.
If, on the other hand, you are already connected and experienced you will find that A-TECH Engineering Ltd’s brand new App will offer a great improvement, you will benefit from an interface that is designed specially to handle in a simple way the most common concerns when it comes to Monitoring your equipment. You will be able to configure not only the machinery, but also the alerts that you receive. Everything in a single app on your phone.
The Ultimate Guide to Building Automation | Toronto
Building Automation is the automatic, systematic monitoring and centralized control of a building’s infrastructure. Building Automation System (BAS), also known as Building Management System(BMS) are the ways that use the advancement of Information Technology (hardware & software) in aspects of building operations. Such functions are, Mechanical, Electrical, Heating & Ventilation and Air conditioning (HVAC), Security, Life Safety, Lighting, Utilities, Telecom, and Energy Management of the building. These are independent entities, however, they are related to each other to operate. The objective of building automation is to create Smart and Intelligent building that will improve occupants comfort, efficient operation of building systems, reduction in energy consumption and operating costs, and improved life cycle of utilities.
For easy understanding, here are examples of common Building Automation,
- In the hotel industry. Empty rooms usually are not ventilated or lit so as to reduce energy usage. When the occupants enter the rooms using the hotel key cards light automatically opens.
- The use of Smoke detectors that are placed along with ceilings or high on walls which has the ability to identify a fire while it is still in its incipient. Alarms & later the sprinklers may be activated automatically.
- Installation of Programmable thermostat in different parts of the building. It can automatically control to switch on air in rooms that are occupied, switch off during off-peak hours as well as to program desired setpoints.
To provide anything you need to know, whether your planning into the transition of your traditional building into an automated building or eyeing maintenance and upgrades for your smart or an Intelligent buildings, Here are the ULTIMATE GUIDE in Building Automation.
How Building Automation works
Components of Building Automation
- Communications Bus
A contraction of the Latin omnibus  is a series of wires connecting field controllers to one another and to the supervisory device. This is a pathway for digital signals to rapidly move data.
Most building automation networks consist of a primary and secondary bus which connect high-level controllers with lower-level controllers.
Connects sensors and actors (up to 64 devices on the bus) with a central control unit.
This is optional, connects up to 8 central control units, a GSM unit or a unit of
Logical functions. TCP/ IP modules or other high-end devices.
2. Communications Protocol
Sets of Rules for how messages are formed and transmitted across the wire. These are needed to facilitate the control functions to specify control system capabilities on data collection, archiving, networking, remote annunciation. These mainly used for the automation process.
- 2.1. BACnet ( Building Automation & Control Network)
A Data Communication Protocol for Building Automation and Control Networks.
Developed under the auspices of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), BACnet is an American national standard, a European standard, a national standard in more than 30 countries, and an ISO global standard. It was designed to allow communication of building automation and control systems for applications such as heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning control (HVAC), lighting control, access control, and fire detection systems and their associated equipment. The BACnet protocol provides mechanisms for computerized building automation devices to exchange information, regardless of the particular building service they perform.
A network protocol best used for industrial automation systems specifically for connecting electronic equipment. Developed under Modicon Inc. and standard maintained by Modbus Organization, Inc  It is an application-layer messaging protocol to provide client/server communication between devices connected on different types of buses or networks.
- 2.3. LonWorks (Local operating netWorks)
An open platform for connecting building systems to each other and the Internet.
The system consists of the LonTalk communication protocol, a dedicated controller (Neuron Chip) and a network management tool.
It was designed on low bandwidth, for networking devices through power lines, fibre optics, and other media. Developed by Echelon Corporation(Motorola).
Systems Architecture of BACnet 
BAS Controllers are purpose-built computers with input and output capabilities, it was considered as the “brain” of Building Automation System. It has two main processes, the Input, which takes the data from the sensors and decide how the system will respond. The outputs, that allow the controller to send command and control signals to slave devices, and to other parts of the system.
Categories of Controllers
- 1. Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs)
A digital computer used for industrial automation to automate different electro-mechanical processes. These controllers are specially designed to survive in harsh situations and shielded from heat, cold, dust, and moisture etc. PLC consists of a microprocessor which is programmed using the computer language.
- 2. System/Network controllers, and Terminal Unit controllers
It can be applied to control one or more mechanical systems such as an Air Handler Unit (AHU), boiler, chiller, etc., or they may supervise a sub-network of controllers.
- 3. Terminal Unit controllers
Are suited for control of lighting and/or simpler devices such as a package rooftop unit, heat pump, VAV box, fan coil, etc. The installer typically selects one of the available pre-programmed personalities best suited to the device to be controlled, and does not have to create new control logic.
4.Input and Output devices
4. 1. Sensors
Analog inputs are used to read a variable measurement. A digital input indicates if a device is turned on or not – however it was detected. They capture the measurements that are sent to the controllers to be processed by the system.
Examples of Sensors
- Room temperature sensors
- Outdoor temperature sensors
- Immersion temperature sensors
- Brightness sensors
- Air quality sensors
- Pressure sensors
Analog outputs control the speed or position of a device. Digital outputs are used to open and close relays and switches as well as drive a load upon command.
Examples of Controls
- Variable frequency drive
- I-P (current to pneumatics) transducer
- Valve or damper actuator
Layers of Building Automation 
- Server/Application Layer
It consolidate data from multiple different supervisory devices. It then delivers this data to the end user through the user interface (UI), often known as clients. Also store trend, alarm, and schedule data in a database.
- Supervisory Layer
This is where the supervisory devices sit. Supervisory devices collect all of the traffic from the field controllers and consolidate this traffic.These devices serve to manage your communication trunks. Communication trunks allow your field controllers to connect to one another and allow your supervisory devices to collect information from the field controllers.
- Field Controller Layer
Look at data from inputs (temperature sensors, switches, etc) and then control outputs (actuators, relays, etc). BAS companies will use programming tools (usually developed by the BAS vendor) to program these field controllers.
- Input/Output Layer
This is where the sensors and control devices exist. There isn’t a ton to add here except that you are starting to see IP-enabled sensors that use Ethernet or Wi-Fi for their communications.
Systems, Networks & Integration
On this section, we will discuss the ways in which components are linked together to form a complete Building Management System (BMS).
- BMS Architecture
High-level organizational description of the elements that make up a building management system. These elements vary greatly from building to building, depending on the business objectives of the property managers or building owners.
Controllers are based on analogue inputs & outputs, usually used in smaller buildings. Each controller are based on operational amplifiers (now replaced by microprocessors) and linked by direct connection to the controlled output device and perform single function. Several independent control systems may coexist within the building.
- 2. Centralised Intelligence
From the use of microprocessors, it was developed to Direct Digital Control (DDC) Systems. The controller function is carried by software program, which can be program to execute to any desired control characteristic. Many control loops can be handled by the same processor. Control function can be made by changes to software alone.Without any change in the hardware.
Separate wiring for each sensor and actuator is expensive and this has led to introduction of local outstations ( Data Gathering Panels). Sensors are connected in to the outstation which performs signal processing and communications functions.
- 3. Programmable Controllers
While the use of dumb outstations reduces the wiring requirement for the large BMS, it is vulnerable for CPU failure. The programmable controllers or intelligent outstations are developed, which incorporate their own microprocessor and carry out local control functions which will operate in the event of CPU problem. Devices communicate via a local area network or bus.
Decentralisation is carried further, where the intelligent devices in the control system incorporate in their own microprocessor and communications ability. Devices are connected to a bus which allows communication between all devices using well-defined protocol. Each device is individually addressable and programmable.
The system uses a range of modular units, each of which is programmed to control specific item. There is a range of zone controllers which perform the function of local user interface. All the modules communicate thru twisted-pair bus system using the Lontalk protocol.
A package unit complete with factory installed unitary control system. It is set directly to the local controller then to the main BMS for the purpose of time scheduling and transmitting of alarm system. Each unit will control itself independently. This is often considered as economical.
 Hierarchical structure of communication level
This is the bottom part of the system, where the sensors and actuators are installed. It controls the devices in the building.
The mid part of the system, where the data from the field level are received and linked with each other via the application software of the components to enable the system to function.
The top part of the system, where the data are processed and visualized. The user himself is able to step in and change operating parameters. Additionally, it is possible to record, protocol and configure data.
Internet of Things(IOT) in Building Automation
Is an advance building automation system which uses analytic software & services. The data sent between devices and to cloud, which is more secure, manageable & user friendly. It connects people with technology. This is a network of sensors, meters, appliances, and other devices that are capable of sending and receiving the data.
Includes popular applications like wireless energy consumption monitoring.
Those that optimize lighting and HVAC use.
- Environmental quality
Devices might measure particulate matter or CO2.
- People or spaces
Devices that can measure occupancy, space utilization or how many people have passed through a certain entrance.
Plan to jump in, into IOT from traditional building? We’ll be glad to help, feel free to Contact us.