Integration Tips for Lighting and HVAC
Getting your lighting and HVAC systems to speak to each other
However, smart building control packages are increasingly allowing
can be more difficult than it sounds. The two systems speak
different languages and many older automation and manage-
ment products can control only one system, introducing an extra layer of
complexity to bridging the two.
FMs to tie together lighting, HVAC and more by acting as an intermediary
between disparate systems and control languages. If you’re considering an
upgrade to manage multiple building systems, consider these tips.
1) Know Your Needs
Before comparing integration solutions, understand what you have in
your building and what you need in a new system. If you have existing
control systems for lighting and HVAC that simply don’t communicate with
each other, you may simply need some integration devices and programming to connect the two systems, says Matt DeLoge, Vice President of Business Development and Technology for Johnson Controls. An older building
with no automation or control infrastructure will require individual sensors and device controls in addition to the larger management system.
DeLoge recommends asking yourself a minimum of five questions be-
n How will each controller be programmed so it knows its role and re-
fore discussing lighting and HVAC integration products with vendors:
n What sequences of operation are you trying to achieve?
n What information do you need to obtain from each building system
(occupancy, etc.) and where will you get it from?
n What devices will you control and what type of signal is required to
have that control?
n How will the system communicate to all of the components? Commu-
nication devices have limitations and can only talk to so many other
sponsibility in the broader integrated system?
2) Envision the End Result
It may be helpful to start at the end and work backward by determining
what end result you want and then figuring out how to get there.
“Have the end in mind before making any hardware-related decisions,”
3) Understand the Challenges
advises DeLoge. “Having vague specifications can prevent the client from
getting what they wanted at the best price.”
This advice also applies to lifetime costs, DeLoge says, as you’ll likely
have your integrated system for years. Estimate how much you’ll spend
(and save) with the integrated system compared to maintaining the status
quo. “Think past the first cost,” DeLoge adds. “Many systems today have
much longer lifespans than older, similar systems. That being said, the
performance of many components may not be the same in later years as it
was fresh out of the box.”
The age of your existing systems can be a big hurdle, DeLoge says, as
can the compatibility of the existing systems.
“If you have ever tried to program your TV, stereo, DVD player and
other devices of different brands into one remote, you can understand the
complexities of combining systems that speak different languages and are
built using different standards,” DeLoge explains. “Look for design and integration services that will help you get the most out of your investment.”
Janelle Penny email@example.com is senior editor of BUILDINGS.
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