Traditionally, building automation controls for heating and cooling systems were installed on medium to large buildings. Yet the controls for some buildings, like strip malls or larger retail stores, only have 7-day programmable thermostats. Though these simple controls work, building controls are more involved than just turning on the heating or cooling to keep the building comfortable.
Besides heating and cooling, a control system can:
Determine how much fresh air to bring in to the building and the ability to change it based on other conditions
Add and remove humidity to a space
Use cooler outside air to cool the space
Purge the building by programming the system to bring in cool, clean outside air at night before the building opens for the next day
Measure and control carbon dioxide levels in the building (CO2, the air we breathe out)
Control building pressure to keep unfiltered outside air from leaking in to the building
Start the heating or cooling depending on outside air temperature so it is comfortable when the building opens, saving energy
Send email and text alarms when equipment fails, air filters are dirty, or space conditions are out of range or unsafe
Create graphs and histories of how the space and equipment have been running
Incorporate data analytics to understand and fine tune the building for best comfort, safety, and cost performance
While individual components can accomplish most of these features, a building controls system ensures that all the systems are working together to control the space.
We all spend time in buildings working, shopping, eating, and playing, so the building environment needs to be taken seriously. As recent events have shown us, our building environments can have an impact on an occupant’s health. The CDC, ASHRAE, and other organizations are continually adjusting and learning new techniques to help buildings run safer, creating new standards as our knowledge evolves.
The controls system can be a vital part of keeping up with these changes, as they can be reprogrammed and added on to as needed, protecting your investment while still being able to adapt to our ever-changing world. New and safer options like touchless technologies for door and elevator access, light switches, and cell phone-accessible thermostats are being added to these systems to help stop the spread of germs while keeping systems running uninterrupted.
All buildings, large or small, can benefit from building controls and the right HVAC equipment. Please reach out to LONG to see how we can help your building run healthier and more efficient.