The FM Professional

Top 5 building automation products all FMs should consider

David Spence
June 28th, 2016
facility management building automation

Managing a building or office space involves countless tasks, many of which facilities managers must track on a regular basis. Many of these tasks are set up and handled automatically through Building Automation Systems (BAS).

There are plenty of building automation products on the market right now that address areas like HVAC, security, lighting, and more. Most provide automation in a well-rounded, integrated system. In this article, we’re looking at five areas that can be automated through a BAS.



facility management automation hvac heatingHeating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) typically accounts for the largest building energy consumption in a commercial space. The primary use of a BAS is commercial HVAC control and energy management system applications. By efficiently controlling air conditioning and heating comfort, the BAS acts as an energy management system that produces savings for building owners.

Using an automated HVAC system like Siemens’ Synco allows facility managers to schedule and regulate temperature changes. By doing so, they can save energy and account for nuances like office events or weather changes.

2. Lighting systems

facility management software lighting systems

Incorporating daylighting and lighting controls within a BAS can result in significant energy savings. According to AEP Energy, integrating daylighting harvesting with lighting controls can reduce a building’s overall lighting energy usage by 20-90 percent.

While most BAS vendors do not necessarily offer extensive packaged lighting controls, a separate lighting controller can do this task while the BAS is primarily used to passively monitor energy usage to provide a benchmark for lighting strategies. However, a BAS with integrated lighting controls can simplify things through the use of one interface.

3. Security systems

Automated security systems like those from Johnson Controls can help you avoid data breaches and potential safety risks by testing cybersecurity and networking surveillance cameras while providing in-depth user access controls. 

With an automated security and safety system, you can monitor movement in and out of your office, allowing you to protect particularly expensive equipment like computers, and other office machinery, from theft.

This type of system can also help you track workplace safety in your building so that you can design more effective processes in the case of an emergency. Your employees and office space will remain safe from high-risk disasters and you’ll be able to meet safety compliance standards, depending on specific regulations for your region.

4. Emergency systems

Dangerous situations like facility fires are never fun to think about, but automating your emergency response systems can help your workers stay safe and respond quickly should disaster strike. Implementations like Computrols’ CSimon fire and safety controls can allow you to quickly and intelligently respond to fires and manage smoke control by centralizing response information, pressurizing necessary spaces, automating communication to employees during a fire, and providing remote access to your fire control systems.

5. Energy monitoring and diagnostics

facility management energy diagnostics system

At the heart of efficiency lies the ability to gather, interpret and properly use information. An effective BAS will be able to monitor and gather all building data, providing essential insight about the facility so that FMs can make informed decisions that can impact the bottom line.

Using an energy monitoring system allows you to quickly understand your office’s energy efficiency and resource use. You’ll also gain more insight into other systems in your building like HVAC and lighting use throughout the day. Having access to this information can help you identify which resources are bigger energy (and money) drains so that you’ll know what adjustments to make in order to run a greener facility.

Photos: TakahiroSakamotoi, Felipe Dolce, Unsplash, Dmitri Popov