Commissioning & Engineering

Automated Building Controls

Automated Building Controls

Mechanical systems such as HVAC and electrical/lighting comprise a large portion of a building’s operating budget but can also contribute to much of a facility’s waste if mismanaged. Increasing numbers of facility owners and managers are turning to building automation to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs. As a leader in energy savings strategies in the Mid-Atlantic region, Reynolds partners with organizations to design and implement automated building control systems that add value to operations, improve building efficiency and positively impact the bottom line.

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Building Automation Controls: The Basics

Automated building controls are the development and implementation of a network of hardware and software that enables the centralized management of a facility’s essential MEP and related systems, such as HVAC, lighting, plumbing and security.

The centerpiece of building automation is the controller — a small, computer-like device that regulates the function and performance of the mechanical systems. Other components include sensors, output devices, protocols that enable the components to “communicate,” and a user interface that allows facility managers or owners to interact with and manage the system.

What Can You Do With Automated Building Controls?

Implementing automated building control solutions allows you to:

  • Increase the overall efficiency of a facility’s systems by integrating and coordinating their functionality
  • Control the building’s temperature by regulating the flow of air from the outside
  • Monitor the performance of mechanical systems and even set up an automated schedule to control their operation
  • Receive an instant alert whenever there’s a problem with a system
  • Monitor who is entering and exiting a facility and designated areas within it
  • Initiate the operation of surveillance cameras for monitoring and recording purposes when activity occurs in a specific area

 

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Real-World Scenarios

The possibilities for using automated building controls to increase efficiency and avoid costs are virtually limitless. For example, suppose a facility has a conference room where regular weekly staff meetings are held. Through the use of artificial intelligence, the business owner can automate the control of the temperature and lighting to accommodate the needs of the meeting attendees. The systems can then readjust (e.g., lowering the heat and turning off the lighting when the room is vacant), which can result in substantial energy savings.

In another scenario, suppose a building uses a series of rooftop HVAC units equipped with programmable thermostats. Ordinarily, an employee would need to head up to the roof to adjust the settings manually to change the thermostats’ operating schedule. If there are 40-50 HVAC units, this process could take several hours. Automated building controls enable building facility managers to make adjustments with a few keystrokes in a matter of minutes, saving time and labor.

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