What is a BAS?
How Does It Work?
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HVAC Division

Energy Savings And Increased Comfort Through Automation
A Building Automation System is computer controlled system that can perform many functions that were not available with conventional control systems. Although a BAS can be used to control many building operations such as security, lighting, fire alarm, etc, the area with the quickest Return On Investment is the control of HVAC systems.

According to the US Department Of Energy, 40% of the energy used in a typical commercial building is consumed by the HVAC systems. A properly designed BAS system can significantly reduce the amount of energy that HVAC systems consume.Building Automation Systems provide computerized control of HVAC systems in a precise and economical manner.

With a BAS installed, any function of the system (air temp, amp draw, etc.) can be monitored, and many of those functions can be adjusted from anywhere with a computer. The system can also record information (such as room temperature) in any increments over any period of time.

The system can easily be programmed to send an alarm to a pager or other device if acceptable conditions are deviated from. For example, you may want the system to send out an alarm if the temperature in a computer room exceeds a desired level; or you may want it to send out an alarm only if it exceeds the desired level for a period of time. It's all easily programmable. More examples of BAS functions are in our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section.

What a "bare bones" BAS will look like: The conventional wall thermostats are replaced with wall mounted room temperature sensors. A control module is mounted in each hvac unit or depending on the type of hvac unit, multiple units may share a module. And finally, one communication module with a modem is mounted somewhere within the building. All of these devices are connected together with communication cable. The modem is connected to a phone line and a communication cable is connected from the communication device to a local PC (computer) and/or an internet connection.

The system is programmed using a computer and any program changes would be performed from a computer either on site, or by dialing-in from any remote location, or from any internet connection anywhere in the world. A computer would also be used to receive and manipulate any data reported from the modules, such as trending, etc. Then any data and any alarms can be delivered to anyone via e-mail (see FAQ).

Adding on to the "bare bones" system: Rarely would a "bare bones" system be installed; a few more sensors are needed to get the full advantage of the BAS. Additional sensors that are typical with most of our systems would read outdoor air temp., supply air temp., return air temp., compressor amp draw, fan motor amp draw, total building current draw, and in many cases indoor & outdoor humidity. And there are many other data points that can be monitored if desired, such as compressor operating pressures, etc. All of this data is used by the control modules to control the hvac equipment efficiently and to report any operating condition that is out of normal range. All of the data can be accessed and easily read with a computer.

If this sounds somewhat confusing, it is probably just because we tried to sum up a complete BAS in only 3 paragraphs. Please contact us with any questions; we will be happy to provide as much detail as you care to hear.