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Building Automation Centers

The core functionality of building automation centers is to manage, monitor, and control the environments of industrial, commercial and institutional quarters. They offer profound amounts of data on building performance, allowing you to acutely monitor operations and make highly informed decisions. They also contribute to a building’s ability to be recognized as ‘green’ with an EPA ENERGY STAR or LEED certification. Above all, they allow you to manage the building’s operations while ensuring the consistent comfort and safety of your employees. Normally, such access control systems are installed in new facilities or as part of a renovation to upgrade from an outdated control system.

Using interlinked networks of software and hardware, building automation centers control mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems, provide occupancy-based lighting, monitor system performance and device failures, and provide malfunction alarms via email and/or text notifications to engineering or maintenance staff. This type of access control system also regulates heating, ventilation and HVAC systems and all related components (chillers, boilers, air handling units, heat pump units, rooftop units, fan coil units and variable air volume boxes). Some systems also control security, CCTV, card/keypad access, fire alarms, power monitoring, plumbing, and elevators/escalators.

Building automation centers and access control systems have evolved substantially since their inception mid-century. Early systems were commonly air-based, and limited to HVAC systems. Pneumatic systems utilizing controllers, sensors, actuators, positioners, regulators and valves were also used, and are still in place in many metropolitan-area buildings. In the 1980s, analog electronic devices became prominent, as they offered increased precision and improved response.

True automation only became possible in the 1990s, with the introduction of digital control devices (DDC). Unfortunately, no protocols were in place for this type of digital communication, so several manufacturers created their own methods. As such, these automation systems functioned well on their own, but not with other brands. This meant that buildings would essentially be stuck with a sole provider, greatly limiting options. This problem was solved at the end of the decade: standardized, open communication systems became the norm, thanks to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and their BACnet communication agreement.

Today, an automation system can typically be managed, operated, and maintained by a trained in-house employee. However, the system’s design and initial installation are best left to controls professionals such as skilled cable contractors or system integrators. Multi-functional teams made up of electrical contractors and system integrators are becoming the industry norm in order to accurately install today’s complex access control systems.

Wireless network installation is the latest trend in automation centers, and CTS cabling is at the head of the curve. For 15 years, CTS cabling has been committed to providing the most advanced solutions to customer’s structured cabling and telecommunications needs. The integrated solutions at CTS cabling are the most forward-thinking in Arizona. Contact us online or call 877-685-2626 to learn more about wireless network installation options for your building automation system.

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