How do Intelligent Buildings differ from Building Automation Systems?


Traditional Building Automation systems

When we think about Building Automation, it’s generally about thermostats on the wall and their relation to some kind of control device that changes the temperature of the building. The first building automation systems were invented at the end of the 19th century. In 1883, Warren Johnson came up with a mechanical thermostat that could turn the light on or off in the boiler room to tell a person to shove more coal into the furnace in order to increase the temperature. 100 years later, the first computerized currencies arrived on the market capable of acting on the feedback obtained from those thermostats. It wasn’t until the 1990s that we began to see more smart thermostats on the wall and different devices linked to a computer network. Any of these networks, in turn, were connected to the Internet by the end of the 1990s.


The limits of Building Automation systems

Building Automation is basically a self-contained device that is not always connected to the Internet. They operate solely for the benefit of the owner of the building or the management of the city. The benefits sought were decreased energy usage, expense and maintenance. Intelligent buildings go far beyond such building automation systems that concentrate solely on energy savings.


What is an Intelligent Building?

There is no defined description of what an Intelligent or Smart Building is. Unlike “green” houses, we do not have an independent assessment framework to identify one. So, the concept of an Intelligent Building varies depending on your viewpoint and what you want to get out of that intellect. There are many Intelligent Buildings cable standards that exist today to help prepare the implementation of the network. Both CENELEC EN 50173-6:2018 and ISO / IEC 11801-6 are unique to Distributed Building Services. BICSI 007-2017 also has an ICT concept for Intelligent Buildings and Premises.


In essence, the Intelligent Building has sensors and devices that allow us to digitally represent physical objects, structures and spaces. The data collected by IoT devices allows us to optimize the operation of the building’s systems and spaces inside the building.


The Difference

Building automation systems allow the facility owner to save energy and maximize efficiency through items like scheduling, occupancy-based production monitoring, and more. The capabilities of the conventional BAS, however, end there. The main difference between the BAS and the Intelligent Building is the capacity of the Intelligent Building to interpret data from various sources. Management of the facility assets becomes ‘intelligent’ by the ability of the facility to learn from the data and to adjust operations accordingly. For owners with a robust BAS at their facility today, switching to an intelligent building is the next move forward.


Let ‘s look at a few basic examples of how an intelligent building brings value to the owner:


Lighting Controls

Lighting control systems may now work on a schedule (i.e. – switch off automatically at 10 p.m. and switch on automatically at 7 a.m.), adjust their performance depending on occupancy or the availability of daylight in room, and their programming can be modified via a software interface.


In an intelligent house, the facility will evaluate the occupancy data in each lighting area and automatically adjust the programming. For example, if historical data from one department indicates that no one arrives before 8 a.m., the software can change to hold the lights off until 7:30 a.m. At 7:30, they move to 20 percent output and then ramp up to maximum output on occupancy detection. In the same way, via a link to your company’s schedule, the facility will automatically detect activities such as key customer visits and adjust the light output in particular departments or throughout the facility before the customer arrives on site.


Preventative Maintenance and Spare Parts

Most preventive maintenance of key facility assets today is calendar based (performed a fixed number of times per year) or event-based (performed as a result of failure). Intelligent building optimizes preventive maintenance by automatically scheduling asset maintenance based on factors like real working hours or on-board performance diagnostics in the system. When facility managers use items like variable frequency drives ( VFDs) to conserve energy, they reduce the overall operating time of a piece of equipment. The Intelligent Building can calculate the operating time of the equipment, compare it to the maintenance cycles you have scheduled, and then add the maintenance operation to the technician ‘s calendar.


Intelligent buildings can evaluate historical data and change the maintenance schedule accordingly. For example , the data in your building may indicate that a fan coil unit operating at a 100 percent output for more than one month needs maintenance activities 30 percent earlier than usual. For units that meet the requirements, your facility will automatically change the maintenance schedule based on its understanding of these historical details.


For spare parts, the Intelligent Building will evaluate the maintenance performed over a period of time, what parts were needed for these replacement efforts, and draw up a suggested list of spare parts to be maintained. Inventory systems can provide additional feedback to the facility in such a way that if one of the parts scanned for use out of inventory, the replacement part is ordered automatically.


There are various examples of how an intelligent building can maximize the facility. If a conference room is reserved and no occupancy is observed within 10 minutes of the scheduled meeting time, the conference room may be unbooked. If there is a failure on a piece of equipment that needs an emergency repair, the facility may use the wayfinding to locate and dispatch the nearest trained technician to the repair facility. The main difference is that an intelligent building uses data-driven insights and analysis; that analysis helps you to make informed decisions about your facility, proactively manage your property assets, and provide data-driven reporting to executives and shareholders.

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