The Building Automation Group primarily focuses on ensuring that building automation capabilities are installed and operating at maximum capacity. As more buildings are constructed on campus with these advanced systems, the ability to centrally control and monitor the most complex buildings from a single workstation will grow. A byproduct of this work is to reduce consumption of electricity, gas, fuel oil, and water as opportunities present themselves. And as their expertise grows, we believe they will contribute toward making the University a more environmentally friendly, sustainable place to study, live, work, or play.

What is a building automation system?

A building automation system is a programmed, “intelligent” control system that regulates the mechanical systems in a building (environmental control systems, chillers, boilers, and temperature). It keeps the building’s climate within a specific range and collects data for documentation of performance. The intent is to create an intelligent building to reduce energy and maintenance costs. At BU, Schneider Electric and Siemens Building Technologies work with FM&P to program and maintain the system.

When any part of the system malfunctions it signals an alarm, which is visible on the building automation system’s graphic interface. Over 4,000 graphic panels display current conditions. Depending upon the nature of the problem, HVAC tradespeople, BU building automation personnel, or Siemens or Schneider Electric programmers are on hand to address the problem.

What are the benefits of a building automation system?

  • Control and diagnose what’s going on in buildings
  • Graphic representation of building settings
  • See and fix programmatic problems quickly
  • Generate reports usable by management for tracking energy consumption and the operational status of the system
  • Saves energy because temperature settings can be scheduled and controlled
  • Economizer cycle allows air systems to work together to minimize energy needed for cooling
  • Can collect and store data on energy consumption in buildings for long periods of time