Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Carl Turbitt, ABB's UK HVAC Drives Team Leader writes: So you have a Building Management System (BMS). And of course you have a HVAC system, or at least a number of HVAC applications like air handling units (AHUs).

But are they talking to each other? And if not, why not? Perhaps the AHUs are simple stand-alone units. Switched on when needed, switched off when not, perhaps by a timer. Connect them to the BMS and a new world of control opens up. AHUs take account of air demand, temperature, humidity and the number of people in the building or on each floor. They can report their energy use and operational state, together with any failures or maintenance needs.

Overall, you can get better control of your fans, pumps, chillers, compressors, condensers and cooling towers.

The missing link in getting these benefits is the variable-speed drive. They are the one device that can turn your AHUs into an extension of the BMS, giving even more control, information and energy saving.

Yet, isn’t it difficult to link drives up to the BMS and get them talking? The short answer is no. Not if you have the right drives that speak the right language.

Take the Cheshire and Merseyside NHS Treatment Centre at Halton Hospital, which has BMS based on BACnet. Developed specifically for building services applications and used extensively in Europe as well as in the United States, BACnet is increasingly being adopted by leading BMS manufacturers.

ABB HVAC drives use native BACnet, so it could hardly be easier to link them. Simply connect them to the communications network, enter their addresses in the system and it is virtually done.

The ABB HVAC drives are used to run air handling units and fans, for facilities such as operating theatres and MRI scanner rooms. Eighteen ABB HVAC drives were used on the project, in sizes ranging from four to 15 kW.

This has all been done without the need for plug-in cards, gateways or additional software, while built-in HVAC specific macros save valuable commissioning and programming time.

BMS plus HVAC drives? It can be as easy as ABB.

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