Building Automation school buildings
A number of benefits can be gained from installing a BMS-managed building automation system in these environments. In this type of facility, a building automation system managed by BMS offers many advantages. The MIUR – Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research – highlighted the great potential of automation for school buildings several years ago (2013), where in the document “Guidelines for Indoor School Architectures“, special attention is paid to domotics and automation to make school facilities more modern and efficient.
Building Automation in Schools: An Efficient, Comfortable and Waste-Free Building
The solutions for creating smart school buildings primarily mean control of:
Temperature control systems.
These three functions can be managed, even remotely with PC/Laptops, smartphones and tablets, with a user-friendly graphic interface to deliver high value for the school building when it comes to comfort and waste reduction.
Students and personnel can be exposed to the appropriate lighting throughout the day and may depend on the level of natural light coming from outside. Classrooms will be warm in winter first thing in the morning since the system will turn on the heat control set to the correct temperature before students arrive. Cool classrooms during the summer are also possible, even in those schools that are not equipped with an air-conditioning system. This because the automatic management of both indoor and outdoor sunscreens helps to reduce solar radiation, prevent glare, and ensure proper visual comfort and natural shading of classrooms.
Building Automation for School Buildings: Safety First
A building automation system for schools does more than just manage the three functions listed above, as it can coordinate all equipment and technology installed in the building. This results in the ability to control various functions and increase globally the safety. The BMS in the school environment also offers the following:
The ability to call a janitor via a push-button located in the classrooms. This prevents the teacher from leaving the classroom unattended.
Restroom safety – these can be equipped with anti-flooding sensors, smoke detectors, and anti-vandalization systems.
Control of lighting, temperature and locker rooms in the gym. It allows proper use of school spaces used for sports, optimizing the building’s energy consumption, and reducing unnecessary waste, without affecting the comfort of users.
Control of heating equipment, such as water boilers. Administrators can remotely control the fault and anomaly detection system, so that maintenance personnel can intervene in a timely manner even when the school is closed, thus avoiding inconvenience for students.
Control of the video surveillance system.
If the building is equipped with renewable energy sources, the management of these systems, for an environmentally friendly, comfortable, and efficient school.
A Performance-Driven Approach for Schools: the winning choice
The new 2013 guidelines developed by MIUR (Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research) have not the prescriptive style of the previous guidelines, which date back to 1975. Today, the performance approach prevails because buildings must adapt as best as possible to the “educational and organizational needs of an ever-changing school” (Source: New MIUR Guidelines, 2013). This is a modern and smart approach adopted in all the most advanced countries, not only in Italy. And building automation makes all this possible.
Flexibility and remote control are the two cornerstones on which the new concept of technological systems in schools pivots. Systems can be controlled, adjusted, and turned off, even in sections, to optimize resources and reduce waste, account for consumption, and operate remotely from PC/Laptops, smartphones and tablets.
Basic parameters such as humidity and CO2 must also be measured and controlled.
For example, the automatic management of air exchange is a very useful function to control VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and CO2 levels in the air and ensure a healthier environment as a result.
In fact, to maintain satisfactory learning conditions, the level of carbon dioxide in classrooms should never exceed specific thresholds.
Opening windows is fine. However, forced air exchange to ensure a healthy environment should be the standard in all school buildings. With building automation, this solution can be implemented immediately.