Integration of BAS into buildings plays a crucial role in optimising utilisation of energy
Published on : Thursday 05-10-2023
Gangadhar Krishnamoorthy, Associate Partner, KPMG in India.
Estimates vary, but buildings account for 30-40% of energy consumption. How does building automation contribute to energy efficiency?
Building Automation Systems (BAS) monitor and improve HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems, lighting, and entry/exit systems. By adjusting operating parameters in real time based on occupancy, weather, and demand prediction, BAS effectively reduces HVAC energy consumption.
The BAS system monitors and adjusts lighting based on occupancy and natural light, while also offering remote monitoring and control for building managers to promptly address issues. BAS monitors energy usage in buildings to identify areas of excessive consumption and potential improvements based on past consumption patterns. This effectively improves energy efficiency.
What are the specific building automation technologies that help optimise heating, cooling, and lighting systems for energy savings?
There are several technologies that can improve HVAC and lighting systems' efficiency. Here are a few that can help:
• Demand-controlled Ventilation adjusts the amount of outside air brought into a building based on the number of people inside. This helps to save energy by reducing the need for mechanical refrigeration
• Occupancy-based Lighting Control uses sensor-based systems such as DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) or wireless lighting to adjust lighting levels based on the number of individuals in a room and optimise energy consumption
• Smart Building Analytics uses machine learning algorithms to analyse data from various building systems and identify opportunities for energy savings. Energy Simulation Software packages are now able to simulate various scenarios (occupancy level, heating, and cooling requirements) to predict the energy requirements accurately, and
• Variable Frequency Drives used in HVAC systems control the speed of motors driving compressors and fans to operate the system at the most efficient operating point corresponding to the current demand. This helps improve system efficiency and reduce energy consumption.
How does the integration of sensors and smart controls in building automation enhance indoor air quality and occupant comfort while still maintaining energy efficiency?
Sensors can continuously monitor various factors such as temperature, humidity, and air quality in real-time. This data is then used by smart controls to adjust heating, cooling, and other systems to maintain an optimal indoor environment for comfort and well-being.
Occupancy-based lighting control uses sensors to detect when areas of a building are occupied and adjust lighting levels accordingly, saving energy and providing appropriate lighting levels. Daylight harvesting and automatic institutional tuning results in energy conservation to the order 30-35%.
Advanced analytics algorithms can analyse historic sensor data to identify patterns and trends and optimise building operations in advance to improve energy efficiency and enhance occupant comfort.
What are the challenges that organisations face when implementing building automation for sustainability, and how can these be overcome?
Implementing BAS can be challenging due to compatibility issues with old infrastructure, the complexity of integrating different building systems, and potential operational setbacks caused by lack of employee awareness.
To minimise such issues and setbacks, organisations should proactively identify potential integration problems and upgrade older infrastructure to newer and more compatible systems. Additionally, it is important to provide proper training to employees to ensure they are comfortable and confident in working with automated systems.
What is the potential for renewable energy integration within building automation systems, and how does this contribute to a building's overall sustainability profile?
The integration of BAS into buildings plays a crucial role in optimising the utilisation of renewable energy. BAS can prioritise the use of electricity from renewable energy sources, when available, particularly during peak demand, and maximise the utilisation of clean energy. RE sources coupled with storage when combined with accurate energy forecasts based on simulation tools can lead to significant energy savings. Moreover, BAS can predict building loads and optimise energy costs by changing cooling cycles. Additionally, the cooling cycles can be optimised during power outages to minimise the use of diesel generated electricity. Integration of BAS not only has a positive environmental impact, but it also ensures sustainability and resilience. With increased net-metering adoption, RE integration is providing economic benefits.
How do building automation systems facilitate the collection of data related to energy consumption and environmental impact, and how can this data be used for continuous improvement?
These systems use sensors, meters, and other monitoring devices to gather real-time data on energy usage, indoor air quality, temperature, humidity, and other relevant parameters. The collected data is then processed and analysed using advanced analytics tools to identify patterns, trends, and areas for improvement
The data collected by building automation systems can be used for continuous improvement in several ways:
• Energy Efficiency Optimisation: By analysing energy consumption patterns, BAS can predict building loads and optimise energy costs by adjusting HVAC system operating parameters, cooling cycles and lighting schedules.
• Predictive Maintenance: Building automation systems can monitor the performance of critical equipment and detect anomalies or potential issues in real-time. This enables proactive maintenance and helps prevent costly breakdowns or inefficiencies.
• Occupant Comfort Enhancement: Data on indoor environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, and air quality can be used to optimise occupant comfort. Building automation systems can automatically adjust HVAC settings based on occupancy levels or individual preferences.
• Sustainability & Reporting: The data collected by building automation systems can be used to optimise energy consumption, prioritise usage of renewable energy sources and reduce diesel consumption. Additionally, BAS generated dashboards and reports on energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and other sustainability metrics allow building operators to identify additional opportunities for improvement.
(The views expressed in interviews are personal, not necessarily of the organisations represented)
With inputs from BR Shivakumar, Rohit Sharma and Sandeep Chittora and KPMG's Industry 4.0 Consulting Business- KPMG Industrial Automation Intelligence and Digitalisation"
Gangadhar Krishnamoorthy is a Business Advisory Consultant with a unique blend of solution design and delivery, business development and pre-sales, technical expertise in shop floor automation and strong manufacturing domain knowledge in providing transformational Digital Engineering solutions towards smart manufacturing (Industry 4.0) and IIoT.