In this article we will analyze how building automation works, where it is used and what are its advantages.
Building automation aims to manage and control the systems of a building.
It is often confused with home automation, with which it shares the aim of improving the quality of life of people in the environments they live.
However, the application areas of building automation and home automation are different:
- home automation uses advanced technologies and intelligent devices to manage the systems of individual homes;
- building automation is applied to entire buildings (for example condominiums, factories, offices, etc.) and connects their systems, communication networks and computer networks even with public networks.
This classification does not identify all the differences between building automation and home automation, but clarifies the areas in which they operate:
- building automation is about smart building;
- home automation transforms a home into a smart home.
Both home automation and building automation must be consistent with the European standards UNI EN 15232 certification.
What is building automation
The definition of building automation identifies all the devices that automatically manage the various systems of smart buildings (not intended for residential use. i.e.: offices, hotels, schools, hospitals, etc.).
Building automation involves both the sensor components related to automation technologies and the elements of plant engineering such as:
- lighting systems;
- heating systems;
- water management;
- air conditioning and ventilation systems;
- automatic logins;
- audio and video systems.
Building automation is conceived to optimize the performance of the smart building and improve liveability, comfort and safety.
Reducing the building’s environmental impact is one of the advantages of building automation, due to greater efficiency and real-time consumption control.
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How does it work
Building automation replicates the levels of automation of many industrial processes.
We can imagine its basic structure as a pyramid on three levels:
- the first level consists of hardware devices (sensors) that collect data and information relating to the systems;
- the second level consists of the process control systems that connect (also wirelessly) and process this information;
- the third level consists of the management systems (Building Management System), which coordinate the systems and make automation possible.
A few examples: thanks to the monitoring of access and presence in the various work areas, building automation systems can be used to increase safety in the workplace and reduce the risk of collision among machines and operators.
Building automation can be used to manage lighting and heating in offices, according to the conditions of the external climate but also to the number of people present in the workplace.
Hospitals are particularly suitable for the installation of building automation systems, which allow managing queues for visits, air-condition rooms, control access, monitoring the operation of medical-diagnostic equipment, and more.
The advantages of building automation are evident in the case of building heating and air conditioning systems. The latter are responsible for the greater use (and often the greater waste) of energy inside a building.
Building automation systems act both in terms of controlling consumption and making them more efficient, for example by quickly identifying any anomalies in the systems and also intervening remotely.
Water management also benefits from building automation, which allows identifying irregularities in the water flow and stopping it when necessary.
A good example of this is the E-WATERBLOCK safety device developed by ELTEK Appliance.
It can be used both in the context of home automation and in building automation, E-WATERBLOCK allows detecting any anomaly in the water supply and to block the flow before excessive consumption or damage to the rooms occurs.
Monitoring via APP is very simple, and also makes it possible to access a consumption history in the previous 12 months.
In general, building automation systems allow for a reduction in energy consumption of up to 40%.
The greater energy efficiency guaranteed by building automation favors a reduction in bill costs and a lower environmental impact.
In the era of sustainability and ecological transition, this advantage generated by innovation is certainly important.
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