Deciding on Building Automation

Building automation entails controlling and monitoring a building’s systems, such as mechanical, security, fire and flood safety, lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The main functions of a building automation system are to control the building environment, operate systems according to occupancy and energy demand, monitor and correct system performance and alert or sound alarms when needed. At optimal performance levels, an automated building is greener and more user-friendly than a non-controlled one.

A crucial component in a building automation system is a controller, which regulates the performance of various facilities within the building. Traditionally, this includes

  • Mechanical systems
  • Electrical systems
  • Plumbing systems
  • Heating, ventilation and air-condition systems
  • Lighting systems
  • Surveillance systems


A more vigorous building automation system can even control security systems, the fire alarm system and the building’s elevators. A good automation system will monitor the various facilities it controls to understand how to optimize for maximum efficiency.

Building automation systems have 5 important components

  1. Sensors – devices that measure values such as Co2 output, temperature, humidity, daylight or even room occupancy
  2. Controllers – these are the brains of the systems. Controllers take data from the collectors and decide how the system will respond.
  3. Output devices – these carry out the commands from the controller. Example devices are relays and actuators.
  4. Communication protocols – this is the language spoken among the components of the building automation systems.
  5. Dashboard or user interface – these are screens humans use to interact with the building automation system


Building automation systems offer several benefits which include saving money, allowing occupants to feel more comfortable and be more productive, and reducing a building’s environmental impact.

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