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How Building Automation Can Aid in Environmental Impact Mitigation?
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How Building Automation Can Aid in Environmental Impact Mitigation?

Since the dawn of modern civilization, governments and businesses alike have been working to improve the efficiency of their use of energy. Modern industrial civilization would not exist without energy as a driving force behind it. People may be sceptical about energy efficiency, citing scientific principles like the Jevons Paradox, which claims that technological advancement and policies aimed at improving efficiency increase consumption, but society still strives to reduce its impact on the environment by increasing its use of efficient technologies.

Building automation, as used by many new builds, is one of the numerous ways to help reduce human influence on the environment by lowering energy use. The current principal source of humanity’s energy use is fossil fuels, a finite resource on a finite planet. Lowering energy use and conserving deposits until a transition is made to alternatives is imperative. Heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), security, fire control, plumbing, and electrical systems are all controlled by a building management system (BMS). A Building Automation System (BAS) oversees all linked automated systems in a building.

As software and hardware become more automated, and artificial intelligence (AI) is integrated into the process, the construction industry is becoming more efficient. A BAS system, for example, is used in new “green buildings” to reduce energy use and make operations easier for those living in them. While humans can easily take their eyes off the ball in terms of monitoring and controlling energy use when it is most needed, a BAS system never sleeps.

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, building automation helps to reduce energy use and wastage, as well as simplify processes to shift energy usage patterns and behaviours. Controlling and monitoring all these different systems by hand may be time-consuming, costly, and difficult. Again, AI and automation never sleep and are constantly working to improve building energy usage efficiency. 

A BAS consists of the following:

Artificial Intelligence coupled with big data may be used to find the ideal moment to turn on and off the power, which reduces grid stress from peak demand. This is important given that energy cannot be stored in large quantities and so must be produced as and when it is needed.

For a long time, storing generated energy has been a difficult problem. A BAS can monitor energy storage in buildings that have storage capacity installed and potentially transfer excess capacity back into the national grid.

A BAS can create correct invoices for individual clients and track, analyse, and report on energy usage in large business facilities. Tenants may use this to keep track of how much energy they use and how much money they spend on their utilities.

From user input through action follow-through, the four basic levels that make up a BAS each have a particular role to perform. The eyes and ears of the system come first: data is gathered through sensors located throughout the building in the first layer of the system. This data is analysed by the following layer: this is like the brain’s making sense of the sensory data it receives from the external environment. The preceding two “supervisory layers” are combined into the third “supervisory layer.” Finally, the “application layer” organises and presents to the user all the previously collected data and statistics in a way that is easy to understand. Building processes are expedited, and possible problems are detected early, thanks to this system.

The advantages a BAS has for the environment

In addition to saving money and time, facilities management (FM) operations can improve productivity. Building automation and improved energy efficiency can reduce total energy consumption by up to 30%. Extrapolate this potential saving in energy forward across a city and the benefits become obvious.

With the help of a building automation system, daily energy consumption may be reduced significantly. BAS with AI can adjust the HVA systems‘ working times based on the outside temperature and time of day.

Building Automation Systems (BAS) can reduce or shut down the building’s HVAC and lighting systems when the building is not in use or even empty. Building data may be collected and used to forecast when the building will be underutilised, and then any superfluous systems that are wasting energy can be turned off as a result. At a time of pandemic conditions, when fewer people are likely to be working in the building, or more sporadically when they do, a BAS system can adapt and learn new behavioural and working patterns. 

Savings of up to 75% of total expenditures can be achieved with building automation. As a result, energy waste is reduced and building, and utility life spans are extended as a result of the BAS. A building’s optimal energy consumption can also help the grid by minimising peak load stress and reducing demand, freeing up capacity for the grid system.

Automated air quality testing and monitoring are further advantages of a BAS. Additionally, this method might alert you to the need for maintenance or filter replacements. Given the current pandemic conditions and a general focus on air quality and purification, the building’s occupants will have greater reassurance that a BAS is working day and night to ensure that the air quality is at optimal levels.

Another key element of a BAS is the ability to monitor the building’s plumbing and water quality through an automated system. To save water, real-time plumbing may help by detecting leaks to help reduce water waste, which has a significant environmental impact. Considering climate change and the over-exploitation of fossil aquifers, efficient water management is essential to prevent ecological overshoot in water use.

An additional advantage of energy efficiency comes from minimising the amount of overuse in the building’s appliances. Extending the life of equipment and parts may save a lot of money in the long run.

For large structures, building automation has clearly enhanced resource efficiency and will continue to evolve as a vital component of the construction industry’s efforts to satisfy climate change and other environmental goals.

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