Building automation systems (BASs) have evolved tremendously in recent years. Their newest systems are smarter and more sophisticated than many would have thought possible. BASs monitor and manage HVAC equipment, lighting, and occupancy in hospitals and healthcare facilities. And they do so much more.
A BAS performs energy management monitoring and measuring functions
Building automation systems have also taken on energy management, and have the capabilities to fully monitor and measure complex energy variables.
Critical facilities areas
New advances in the specialized BAS dashboard interfaces monitor critical facilities areas, integration of patient-scheduling software, and specialized interfaces for nontraditional BAS users such as nurses and patients who must be able to quickly adjust to conditions in occupied areas.
Compliance demands and clinical accountability needs are propelling smarter integrations and new applications to hospital BASs. For example, the BAS is integrated with surgical scheduling to optimize energy use in the OR. At the same time, the BAS is increasing clinical productivity and reducing risk via surgical event and environmental documentation dashboards. Technology integration is also at work in patient rooms through smart temperature and lighting controls.
Cloud-based energy management platforms are further advancing the healthcare industry, making it easy to communicate with other complex clinical, business, and building systems. Software as a service (SaaS) adds more value to a BAS by allowing users to collect data from multiple BASs via the cloud, standardize it, and deliver it in a user-friendly application.
Originally, BASs were deployed primarily to maintain patient comfort and environmental parameters. Today, however, they are largely responsible for consolidating technical infrastructure and optimizing hospital operations.
Specialized energy dashboards
Specialized energy dashboards have become integral to helping facilities managers identify energy usage trends and areas for improvement using vital diagnostic measures. Monitoring the efficiency of principal central plant and air systems is essential and often drives specialized optimization programs to ensure the systems are running at top efficiency. Plug load monitoring also is important.
Many hospitals have also invested in metering. Improvements in physical meters with more reliable BACnet/Modbus compatibility and better latency, and the ability of BASs to store greater volumes of data, have made it possible for hospitals to better establish a baseline for energy consumption at their facilities.
Between advances in BAS technology and its ability to seamlessly integrate a range of subsystems as well as provide access to actionable data, and the growth of cloud-based applications, operators are better able to prioritize elements that can provide the greatest opportunity for savings and return on investment.
Capturing energy data for analysis
Energy data captured by the BAS can be transferred to cloud software and services for more detailed and thorough analysis. The findings and suggested improvements are then available through the on-site operator interface.
Hospital BASs are expected to continue to progress at a rapid pace. The focus for manufacturers will be on cheaper, faster hardware, and more robust, interoperable software. Software development will continue to adapt to new IT platforms and cloud-based applications, incorporating intelligent analytics, automated fault detection, and diagnostics. Tomorrow’s BAS systems will become the big data link in the imminent building information revolution.