Open systems: The foundation for a new era of BAS

As system integration strategies become more complex, the need for improved building automation system specifications becomes evident.


Learning objectives

1. Understand open and closed building automation systems.

2. Learn about system integration, system specifications, and their complexities.

3. Understand the roles and responsibilities of vendors, consultants, and integrators.

Throughout the past two decades, the building automation system (BAS) industry has witnessed the introduction, incorporation, and acceptance of open systems (see sidebar, "Definitions and terminology") as a practical-and largely preferred-solution for system integration and enterprise-wide interoperability. As the industry moves farther away from proprietary or "closed" systems, the market opens a new level of opportunity for vendors, consultants, and integrators to engineer specialized products and craft solutions that utilize widely available technologies and provide cross-platform accessibility.

There is plenty of room in the market for innovation with an open systems approach, and those who embrace it are free to innovate the next generation of intelligent and interoperable buildings. Success will be measured by the level of interoperability, transparency, and acceptance by end users. By adopting a multi-tier division of responsibility and validation process, a sustainable check-and-balance system can be put in place. This article discusses these concepts and how they apply to a single building, a collection of buildings (campus or site), and a full enterprise solution. The enterprise is the highest level of abstraction and supervisory access: think SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) for hundreds or even thousands of facilities!

Specifications that deliver open systems

Figure 1: The Project Process defines the stages of ensuring a successful implementation strategy for an open BAS project. Courtesy: RBCG LLCAs integration strategies become more complex, the need for improved specifications becomes evident. The opportunity arises for consulting engineers to increase the value of their business by providing more comprehensive BAS control specifications and work with owners to define corporate standards and openness, and improve cost of ownership. Generic specifications that simply require a system be "open" are no longer acceptable. Specifications must address a sophisticated level of integration, cross subsystem interaction, IT integration, and data management elements so owners have clear ownership and access.

Learning the basics of what makes a good specification requires more information than just a mechanical or electrical system specification. The process starts with a clear vision and objective followed by a well-defined project scope. It will provide context for the project, help the engineer create the specification, and set a foundation for the team to get on the same page. Industry suppliers and integrators are engaged to ensure adoption of and compliance to the specification. This step is followed by a verification and validation model where adjustments are made as needed.

According to John Huston, President and CEO of Division 25, a consulting engineering firm based in Chicago, "The biggest issue is education. Unfortunately, the BAS design market hasn't required many extra demands over the last 30 years or so. When older systems were initially created, they were proprietary, and engineers got used to designing very generic systems. But today, technology has evolved significantly, and engineers must learn what these technologies are and how they can be properly integrated so they can do what they've been hired to do, and that's providing expertise to their clients.

"The role of our firm is to serve as a technology partner, and this inevitably leads to educating our clients on the options available to them, and doing so on whatever level they are most comfortable. As the technology partner, we fill in the gaps where the client lacks expertise or simply doesn't want to maintain internally."

To help address this issue sample guide specifications are being created that incorporate all the necessary integration elements as a starting place for consulting engineers. This work is being done in the ASHRAE SGPC-13 Standing Guideline Project Committee, a team of industry experts developing a standard guide specification for use by system designers, consulting engineers, and end users with the goal the goal of having a draft ready for public review in 2013. The guide specification outlines the responsibilities of the integrators and associated vendors. It does not mandate a specific technology or protocol. In fact, there will be references that provide options for both a LonWorks and a BACnet system. In some cases, solutions may require both in the same facility, and this will be accommodated.

<< First < Previous 1 2 3 4 Next > Last >>

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me