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The Many Benefits of Maintenance and Monitoring Programs

Engineer and technical worker working on the checking status switch gear electrical energy distribution substation at industry factory.

A Building Automation System (BAS) or Energy Management System (EMS) maintenance and monitoring program refers to a comprehensive plan and set of activities to ensure the proper functioning, reliability, and optimal performance of the BAS/EMS in a building. It involves regular inspections, testing, and preventive maintenance to identify and address potential issues and ongoing monitoring to track system performance and address any deviations or anomalies.

Here are key components and activities typically included in a BAS/EMS maintenance and monitoring program:

  1. Scheduled Inspections: Conduct regular inspections remotely or physically to check components of the BAS/EMS, including controllers, sensors, actuators, communication networks, and associated equipment. Reviews help identify any signs of wear and tear, corrosion, loose connections, or other potential issues.
  1. Functional Testing: Functional testing involves verifying that all BAS/EMS components are operating correctly and communicating effectively, including checking control sequences, alarm functionality, interlocks, trending capabilities, and system response to setpoint changes.
  1. Sensor Calibration: Sensors used in the BAS/EMS, such as temperature, humidity, and pressure sensors, may require periodic calibration to ensure accurate readings. Calibration involves comparing the sensor readings to reference standards and making necessary adjustments.
  1. Software Updates: BAS/EMS software may require periodic updates to address bugs and security vulnerabilities or to take advantage of new features or functionalities. Regular software updates help ensure the system remains up-to-date and optimized.
  1. Data Monitoring and Analysis: Continuous monitoring of BAS/EMS data allows for tracking system performance, energy usage, and potential issues. Monitoring software can provide real-time or historical data analysis, generate alarms for abnormal conditions, and help identify opportunities for energy optimization or system improvements.
  1. Alarm Management: BAS/EMS alarms should be regularly reviewed and managed to ensure they function correctly and do not generate excessive false alarms. Proper alarm management involves prioritizing alarms, investigating and resolving alarm triggers, and optimizing alarm thresholds for effective response.
  1. Trend Analysis: Analyzing historical data trends collected by the BAS/EMS helps identify patterns, anomalies, or changes in system behavior. Trend analysis can assist in identifying potential performance issues, energy inefficiencies, or areas for optimization.
  1. Performance Benchmarking: Periodic performance benchmarking involves comparing performance against established metrics, energy benchmarks, or industry standards. Benchmarking helps identify areas for improvement and measure the effectiveness of energy-saving strategies.
  1. Training and Documentation: BAS/EMS maintenance and monitoring programs, may include training for BAS/EMS operators, technicians, and facility staff to ensure they have the necessary knowledge and skills to operate and maintain the system properly. Creating comprehensive documentation, including system manuals, troubleshooting guides, and standard operating procedures, aids in effective maintenance and troubleshooting.

Programs should be tailored to the specific BAS installed in the building and aligned with manufacturer recommendations, industry best practices, and local building codes. Finding a company capable of performing a complete BAS/EMS maintenance and monitoring program can take time and effort. Many companies that claim to provide comprehensive services can only address a few of the components and activities outlined. Businesses searching for a partner to perform BAS/EMS maintenance and monitoring programs must have the resources in place and a solid and proven performance track record. 

By asking questions about the components and activities outlined in this article, your business will be well on the way to implementing a structured BAS/EMS maintenance and monitoring program. Doing so helps ensure the longevity and optimal performance of the system, reduces energy waste, improves occupant comfort, and allows for proactive identification and resolution of issues.