Building automation systems (BAS) or direct digital control (DDC) systems have been used in all building types throughout the last few decades to control and monitor mechanical and electrical equipment such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. BAS are also important tools to troubleshoot issues related to HVAC and building systems, ensure that building comfort levels are maintained, and minimize energy consumption. When properly designed, maintained, and operated, a BAS will deliver stable control and smooth operation for campus facilities.
Over time, BAS have evolved to not only monitor indoor environmental quality, but to also include other building systems such as lighting and access control, closed circuit television (CCTV), lab airflow/fume hood ventilation, and utility metering. To fully capture the comprehensive application of this campus system, it will be referred to as an energy management and control system (EMCS).
This chapter specifically looks at operating an EMCS in the context of a central campus such as a university or college facility. Computerized controls are an integral part of operating a campus to ensure that environmental comfort is achieved while consuming the lowest amount of energy to accomplish that goal. An EMCS is only as good as the equipment it controls and the building operators who maintain said equipment.
As computing technology continues to advance, even more information will be integrated into EMCSs, permitting them to respond to building demands even more dynamically. This real-time identification of operational issues will allow building owners to have less downtime on HVAC equipment, reduce maintenance and replacement costs, and identify greater energy savings. The use of an open protocol for communication, such as BACnet, is also an important choice that allows equipment from multiple vendors be used in one system. However, it is important to understand that an EMCS is only a tool, needs to be managed effectively, and still requires dedicated professionals to properly understand the inputs and outputs of the system, the networking, and of course the thermodynamics and HVAC equipment.
Comfort is the goal of a properly implemented, maintained, and operated EMCS. Energy savings, reduced maintenance, and operator savings are secondary benefits of a properly maintained EMCS.