14 min read

Establishing a Controls Standard for Your Business

By Phil Zito on Nov 23, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be covering what a building automation standard is and why you should be using one in your contracting or system integrator business.

Topics: Building Automation System building automation Sales smartbuildings business bas projects profit standards processes procedures
14 min read

Growing Your Controls Business in a Recession

By Phil Zito on Nov 18, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be talking about how to grow your controls business during a recession. So, two quarters negative GDP growth, we're in a recession, stuff is trending downwards, energy's going up, supplies are hard to get. How do we continue to grow our controls business in this unique environment? Well, that is what we're going to unpack.

Topics: Building Automation System building automation Sales smartbuildings business bas projects profit
24 min read

How to Manage BAS Projects From Start to Finish

By Phil Zito on Nov 16, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be discussing BAS project management. We're going to go from start to finish with BAS project management:

  • How we initiate a BAS project
  • How we handle a BAS project through the design phase
  • How we handle it through the implementation phase
  • How we handle it through the closing phase
Topics: Building Automation System building automation smartbuildings Design bas projects implementation project management closing
17 min read

Learning Guideline 36 Together

By Phil Zito on Nov 10, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we're going to be exploring Guideline 36. I've had a lot of customers, both on the owner and the contractor side, reach out to us lately asking us to create an energy management, a measurement and verification, systems optimization, and an energy conservation measure course and training materials.

Topics: control sequences Building Automation System building automation smartbuildings guidelines
12 min read

A Design Pattern Approach to Programming

By Phil Zito on Nov 8, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be talking about programming, specifically, we're going to be talking about design patterns. We’ll start off by just kind of discussing what design patterns are and a design pattern approach to programming. It's probably different than some of the things you've seen in the past. Then we are going to give a couple of sample design patterns.

Topics: Building Automation System building automation smartbuildings programming Design wire sheets
11 min read

Why Team and Business Culture Matter

By Phil Zito on Oct 27, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be discussing culture, we're going to talk about why your team and business culture matter. Now I know a Smart Buildings post talking about culture, it may seem a little bit not aligned, but if you look at what's going on in the workforce right now, with people leaving, people checking out and not even really giving effort, a lot of that comes down to culture. If we look at employee retention, it’s critical, especially now with anywhere from 100 to 200,000 people short in the building automation industry on a month-to-month basis, depending on who you listen to or read.

Topics: Building Automation System building automation smartbuildings team culture ethics
15 min read

Defending Your Team Against Scope Creep

By Phil Zito on Oct 25, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be talking about scope creep. We're going to talk about how you can manage and eliminate scope creep within your building automation projects, retrofits, service calls, etc. That being said, the goals of today are to identify common scope creep issues and to provide examples of how to solve.

Topics: Building Automation System building automation smartbuildings scope scope creep scope statement
11 min read

Demand Control Ventilation Deep Dive

By Phil Zito on Oct 20, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be talking about demand control ventilation. So, we're going to cover a lot of different aspects of demand control ventilation. When I actually went and first started researching this for the post, yes, I actually did research before this post, I started to find out that there is a lot more to demand control ventilation than what I had connected with it in the past. That's the thing like, I actually have seen these technologies, and I have implemented many of these technologies, but I never really connected them as part of a holistic demand control ventilation strategy.

Topics: Building Automation System building automation smartbuildings demand control ventilation CO2 sensors
17 min read

Handling Callbacks, Scope Drift, and Other Project Issues

By Phil Zito on Oct 18, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be talking about the glorious experience that is callbacks, scope drift and other project issues. We're going to start this off with just getting level set on what these terms are that I used. Quite often, we will find that the terms that we use in this industry, and I am personally very guilty of this at times, can differ from person to person.

Topics: Building Automation System building automation smartbuildings costs callbacks scope drift issues slippage delays
12 min read

Identifying the True Sales Opportunity

By Phil Zito on Oct 14, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be discussing how to identify the true sales opportunity.

Topics: Building Automation System building automation bas sales Sales smartbuildings costs
18 min read

Energy Management for BAS Professionals

By Phil Zito on Oct 11, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome to back. In this post, we are going to go through energy management for BAS professionals, we're going to go through our four-step process related to energy management, and then by the end of this post, you should have a list of ideas that you can implement with your customers or within your own facilities in order to better manage your energy.

Topics: Energy Building Automation System building automation smartbuildings energy efficiency costs energy management
13 min read

Are the Cost Savings Worth It? Proportional vs Floating Control

By Phil Zito on Sep 27, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks! Phil Zito here and welcome back! In this post, we are going to be diving into looking at cost savings related to proportional versus floating controlled actuators. Actually, we're going to dive a little bit deeper based on some conversations that I've had with customers lately around the parts shortage. We're going to talk through some strategies of dealing with the parts shortage, because that seems to be very top of mind for a lot of people.

Topics: Building Automation System building automation smartbuildings costs floating parts shortage savings proportional
14 min read

Easy Does It: 5 Tips to Implementing A Talent Management Strategy in Your Business

By Phil Zito on Sep 22, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks! Phil Zito here and welcome back! Alright, so I lately I’ve been hearing folks and reading posts from folks saying, “Hey! We’re hiring!” I mean, literally, if I open up LinkedIn, I’m going to find someone who is hiring, or I’ll see a post about someone talking about hiring someone.

Topics: Building Automation System building automation smartbuildings BAS Training talent talent management
11 min read

Discovering Your Customer’s Decision-Making Process

By Phil Zito on Sep 20, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks! Phil Zito here, Phil Zito here and welcome back! In this post, we're going to be tackling the topic of how to discover your customer’s decision-making process. So, I remember back in 2008, how the world seemed to be collapsing. There was a lot of turmoil, people trying to figure out, how exactly to sell stuff. And, you know, things are cyclical. It's just a matter of time until we find ourselves in a situation like that, again.

Topics: Building Automation System building automation Sales smartbuildings BAS Training decision-making
13 min read

How Does MQTT Work in Building Automation?

By Phil Zito on Sep 6, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks! Phil Zito here and welcome back! In this post, we are going to be discussing how MQTT works in building automation. It's pretty easy to know how it works in IoT, but how does it work in building automation?

Topics: Building Automation System building automation smartbuildings BAS Training MQTT
11 min read

How to Incorporate Training with Work – While Staying Profitable

By Phil Zito on Sep 1, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks! Phil Zito here, Phil Zito here and welcome back! In this post, we're going to talk about how to incorporate training with work while staying profitable.

Topics: Building Automation System building automation smartbuildings BAS Training
17 min read

How to Execute Training in the Office

By Phil Zito on Aug 30, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. Well, today's post is going to be about how to execute training in the office. I mean, we've all done it right, we've all gone to that training session, you know, the Omni Bus Safety/building automation/sales/HR training session, that's all crammed into an hour. We show up, we get some stale bagels, maybe some donuts, maybe some coffee, sit down, and literally, if you're a senior tech, as you're walking in the room, ops manager pulls you aside and says, “Hey, Phil, I need you to teach something technical today.”

Topics: Building Automation System building automation smartbuildings BAS Training
9 min read

How to Identify Sales Opportunities in a Crowded Market

By Phil Zito on Aug 25, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In today's post, we're going to be talking about sales.

Topics: Building Automation System building automation bas sales Sales smartbuildings strategies circle method
10 min read

Certificates and Certificating Authorities for BAS

By Phil Zito on Aug 23, 2022 5:00:00 AM

In this post, we’re going to be talking about what is happening here in building automation world called certificates. Now you're seeing this at the server and supervisory layers. So, you're seeing supervisory devices and field controllers requiring certificates. You're seeing things like BACnet Secure Connect coming out with certificating requirements. If you've logged into almost any building automation system that's been released over the past year, you've probably seen an option for secure connections, usually something to the form of HTTPS with TLS 1.2 or 1.3.

Topics: Building Automation System building automation smartbuildings encryption certificates HTTPS TLS
20 min read

How Do I Get a Job in Building Automation?

By Phil Zito on Aug 19, 2022 5:00:00 AM

In this post, we're going to be asking a question that I've been seeing pop up all over the place, which is: How do I get a job in building automation?

Topics: Building Automation System building automation smartbuildings BAS Training jobs lab kits
24 min read

Understanding How BACnet Really Works

By Phil Zito on Aug 17, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be going through how BACnet really works. We're going to dive through what BACnet is, we're going to talk about BACnet objects, BACnet services, BACnet profiles, BTL listings BBMDs, BDTs, BACnet IP, and BACnet MSTP.

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings BACnet BACnet/IP BAS Training BTL BBMD BDT BACnet MSTP
13 min read

Do Apprenticeships Really Need To Last So Long?

By Phil Zito on Aug 11, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, I'm going to talk about a pretty controversial topic, which is, do apprenticeships really need to last so long. This is something that people tend to get really heated on really quickly. If you even suggest that maybe 5, 4, or 3-year apprenticeships are just way too long, and that maybe perhaps apprenticeships are happening so that you could have someone that you pay a little lower than pay someone else to do something that they could have probably learned pretty quick.

Topics: Building Automation System HVAC smartbuildings BAS Training apprenticeship
21 min read

Is It Possible to Save Energy and Improve Comfort?

By Phil Zito on Aug 9, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, I'm going to be covering whether it's possible to save energy and improve comfort at the same time.

Topics: Building Automation System analytics smartbuildings scheduling bas projects setpoint solar gain recovery retro commissioning
11 min read

The Chicken and the Egg – Deploying IP Devices to New Builds

By Phil Zito on Aug 4, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to tackle the topic of the chicken and the egg, deploying IP devices to new builds. Now you may be like, “Okay, that makes no sense to me.” Well, if you've ever shown up on a job site to install IP controls, you've probably experienced what I'm about to describe to you.

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings bas projects IP devices new builds architectures bus ring star
18 min read

The Pareto Principle in Controls: What Do You Really Need to Know?

By Phil Zito on Aug 3, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we're going to be applying the Pareto principle to controls and we're going to cover what you really need to know.

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings design programmer bas projects questions skills research BAS technician success job task matrix pareto
15 min read

The 5 Core Skills of Successful BAS Technicians

By Phil Zito on Jul 28, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this episode, we're going to be talking about the five core skills of successful BAS Technicians.

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings bas projects questions skills research BAS technician success
11 min read

Is it Hot in Here? Understanding Heating During Shoulder Months

By Phil Zito on Jul 26, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be talking about understanding heating during shoulder months.

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings bas projects services heating shoulder months
11 min read

The Biggest Barriers to Project Success and How to Overcome Them

By Phil Zito on Jul 21, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, I'm going to be taking you through the biggest barriers to project success and how to overcome them. So, we're going to be diving into issues that you will commonly experience in your projects and we're going to kind of break this out into a couple different phases. We're going to talk through the project initiation phase, then we’ll talk about the execution phase, and then finally we're going to talk about the project closeout phase.

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings service bas projects services initiation phase execution phase closeout phase barriers
19 min read

How to Secure Your BAS - Part 3

By Phil Zito on Jul 19, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In the past two posts, we've been diving very deep into how to secure your building automation system. In this post, we are going to kind of take what we've covered so far, and we're going to add a little bit of color to it. However, we're mainly going to focus in on BAS attack methods.

Topics: Building Automation System cyber security smartbuildings cybersecurity service bas projects services
14 min read

How to Secure Your BAS - Part 2

By Phil Zito on Jul 14, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we're going to continue discussing how to secure your building automation system and we are going to be looking at a couple different things. In the previous post, we went through fundamentals, cybersecurity, talked about a couple things related to cybersecurity risks, risk assessments, controls, etc. Now we're going to look at cybersecurity capabilities of a BAS, we are going to look at and discuss the limitations of cybersecurity controls, and we're going to look at the human aspects of cybersecurity.

Topics: Building Automation System cyber security smartbuildings cybersecurity service bas projects services
15 min read

How to Secure Your BAS - Part 1

By Phil Zito on Jul 12, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to start a 3-part series on how to secure your building automation system. So, in this post, we are going to explore potential threats to building automation systems, how to assess risk, and common cybersecurity controls. This is mainly going to be a conceptual post and then the next two posts, we're going to get a little bit more hands-on, with the third post being very hands on. Be sure to read all 3 posts because if you skip this post, you won't understand most of the concepts. So, definitely don't skip this post.

Topics: Building Automation System cyber security smartbuildings cybersecurity service bas projects services PI Loops
14 min read

Cruise Control to Setpoint – A Model for Understanding PID Loops

By Phil Zito on Jul 7, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be diving into PID loops, or as I like to call them, PI loops because the reality is, we very rarely use derivative in building automation. So, by the end of this post, you will have an understanding of what PID loops are, what proportional, integral, and derivative do, why we use them, and you will have an easy way for setting them up.

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings PID Loops service bas projects services setpoint PI Loops
12 min read

Making Sense of Electrical Concepts Without Becoming an Electrician

By Phil Zito on Jul 5, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be shifting gears from our sales conversation that we've been having the past several posts and we are now going to be focusing in on some more technical concepts. So, this post is going to be making sense of electrical concepts without becoming an electrician.

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings service bas projects services electrical
14 min read

Hitting a Wall? How to Use Targeted Selling to Get in the Door

By Phil Zito on Jun 23, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, I am going to be talking about if you hit a wall, how you can use targeted selling to get in the door of your customer. Basically, how you can bypass your potential blockers, influencers, etc, and get directly targeted in on the person who's going to make the decision related to the building automation purchase.

Topics: Building Automation System Sales smartbuildings service bas projects questions services blockers targeted selling influencers buyers
14 min read

Is Capital Planning the Ultimate Path to Sales Success?

By Phil Zito on Jun 16, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we're going to be talking about capital planning and answering the question, “Is capital planning the ultimate path to sales success?” I mean, that's a pretty leading question. So, you could probably guess to where I'm going to lead this conversation.

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings service scope bas projects questions selling services capital planning
16 min read

How to Scope and Price Service Work

By Phil Zito on Jun 15, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In today's post, we're going to talk about how to scope and price service work. Specifically, we are going to be diving into plan service agreements. We're going to talk about time and materials service work and retrofits service work. So, those are the three categories of service work. If you learn how to do one, you can pretty much learn how to do the other three.

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings graphics service scope bas projects questions retrofit selling services
15 min read

How to Sell More Services to Avoid Pipeline Dips

By Phil Zito on Jun 9, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In today's post, we are going to be continuing our trend of looking at selling building automation systems. We are going to be talking about how to sell more services to avoid pipeline dips. This is something that everyone should be considering, but folks tend to struggle with doing.

Topics: Building Automation System analytics smartbuildings cybersecurity graphics BAS Training bas projects questions retrofit remote monitoring pipeline selling services
17 min read

The 4 Point Method for Bidding Retrofit Work

By Phil Zito on Jun 7, 2022 5:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back! In this post, we're going to be continuing our series on sales and estimating. Today, we're going to be looking at the four-point method for bidding retrofit work.

Topics: Building Automation System analytics smartbuildings BAS Training bas projects bidding strategies questions retrofit remote
15 min read

How to Review, Scope, and Estimate Retrofit Projects

By Phil Zito on Jun 3, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be talking about how to review, scope, and estimate retrofit projects. Now some of this may seem similar to how to review, scope, and estimate construction projects, but trust me, there's a lot of nuances here that really will make the difference between whether you end up basically tanking a job or not winning a bid, or just having a disaster.

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings BAS Training estimate review scope bas projects strategies questions retrofit
12 min read

5 Key Questions to Ask During a Site Walk

By Phil Zito on May 31, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, I will be discussing the five key questions to ask during a site walk. To begin, let's talk about what a site walk is, then let's talk about strategy behind questions, and then let's go into the questions.

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings BAS Training bas projects bidding strategies site walk questions
9 min read

Three Killer Strategies for Bidding New Construction Work

By Phil Zito on May 26, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back! In this post, we are going to be discussing three killer strategies for bidding new construction work. Now, when we talk about bidding new construction work, this is kind of following a logical progression, right? In our previous two posts, we talked about ideas to get more work, we talked about the review, scope, and estimate process and how that works, and now we're looking at being in the new construction side and bidding new construction work. How can we go about bidding new construction work in a way that makes us more competitive?

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings Construction BAS Training bas projects bidding strategies
9 min read

How to Properly Review, Scope, and Estimate BAS Projects

By Phil Zito on May 24, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back! In today’s post, we're going to be discussing how to properly review, scope, and estimate BAS projects. Today’s post was part of a Podcast/YouTube combination we did where I broke out our whiteboard to show you how this process works. Don’t worry, I will explain it in great detail for you and you can always check out the video here as well.

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings BAS Training estimate review scope bas projects
10 min read

5 Unique Ways to Identify BAS Sales Opportunities

By Phil Zito on May 19, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks! Phil Zito here and welcome back! Over the next several weeks, we are going to be going through sales related posts, talking through sales strategies. These are going to apply to you whether you are in sales, or if you're on more of the technical side or managerial side.

Topics: Building Automation System bas sales Sales smartbuildings BAS Training
9 min read

Key Information BAS Sales Reps Need to Know

By Phil Zito on May 17, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back! In our previous posts, we just finished going through all the different roles that you could take in building automation. In this next series, I'm going to be talking about selling, selling a building automation, what skills you need to have, how to approach it, strategies, tactics, etc.

Topics: Building Automation System bas sales Sales smartbuildings BAS Training Career jobs
8 min read

BAS Sales

By Phil Zito on May 12, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be talking about the BAS Sales role. So, for the past few weeks we've been talking about different roles in the building automation field, and this is the last role we're going to cover.

Topics: Building Automation System bas sales Sales smartbuildings BAS Training Career jobs
9 min read

BAS Service Technician

By Phil Zito on May 10, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be talking about the BAS Service Technician role. For the past couple weeks, we have been talking about establishing a career in building automation, and we've been talking about the different roles in building automation. Now granted, and I've gotten some feedback on this, these roles are primarily focused on the contractor side of things. There are roles on the owner side, there are roles on the engineering side as well, but for now, we're going to be focusing on the roles that primarily exist within those types of organizations.

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings BAS Training Career jobs technician service
9 min read

BAS Project Manager

By Phil Zito on May 5, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back! In this post, we are going to be discussing the BAS Project Manager role. We're going to discuss what this role entails, the different types of project managers that you will encounter in your BAS career, and we'll talk about how you prepare for this kind of role. We’ll also touch on how to apply for this kind of role.

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings BAS Training Career jobs project manager
9 min read

BAS Programmer

By Phil Zito on May 3, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be continuing our series on building automation roles and we are going to look at the BAS Programmer role.

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings programming BAS Training Career jobs programmer
9 min read

BAS Designer

By Phil Zito on Apr 28, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back! In this post, we are going to talk about the BAS Designer role. So, we're going to cover what this role entails, what this role does, needs to know, and how you get into this role.  

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings BAS Training Career jobs designer
12 min read

BAS Technician

By Phil Zito on Apr 26, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back! In this post, we are going to be discussing what a BAS technician career path looks like. So, in the previous post, we talked about how to establish a career in BAS. Now we're going to be looking at the first kind of role in building automation, which is the BAS Technician. We're going to walk through what the role is, walk through the requirements for the role, talk about how to get the role, and then what a career path can look like.  

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings BAS Training Career jobs technician
11 min read

Establishing a Career in BAS

By Phil Zito on Apr 21, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back! In this post, we're going to be talking about establishing a career in building automation and my goal with this series is to describe what a building automation career is and then take you through each individual role. So, future posts will be on each individual role.  

Topics: Building Automation System smartbuildings BAS Training Career jobs
10 min read

How to Manage Warranty

By Phil Zito on Apr 19, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back! In this post, we will be discussing how to manage the warranty phase of a construction project. Up to this point we have gone through the entire construction project process. We've covered everything from sales to operationshandoffs, takeoffs, submittal creations, subcontractor line outs, working with your different trades on the project, all the way now to performing a proper management of the warranty process.  

Topics: Building Automation System projects how to smartbuildings BAS Training warranty
9 min read

How to Perform Owner Training

By Phil Zito on Apr 14, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back! In this post, we are going to discuss how to perform owner training. Now, I've been involved in a ton of owner training events, and this is in regard to construction projects. If you haven't been following along, we began our Construction Series with Sales to Operations Handoffs all the way through every step in a project to where we are now, which is the how to perform owner training. Be sure to go back and read those posts as they are very informative.

Topics: Building Automation System projects how to smartbuildings BAS Training owner
12 min read

How to Close Out a Project

By Phil Zito on Apr 12, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be covering how to close out your projects. So up to this point, we've kicked off our projects, we've executed them, we've done the programming, the graphics, the install,we've dealt with the commissioning agents, we dealt with test and balance, and we are coming up to that point where we need to finish up our project.  

Topics: Building Automation System projects how to smartbuildings closeout
11 min read

How to Work with CxA

By Phil Zito on Apr 7, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be talking about how to work with a commissioning agent.  

Topics: Building Automation System projects how to smartbuildings commissioning
7 min read

How to Work with TAB

By Phil Zito on Apr 5, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we're going to be talking about working with test and balance. We're going to cover what test and balance is, how you work with them, what you need to be aware of, the different types and levels of work thatyou could be doing with them, and a bunch of other stuff.  

Topics: Building Automation System projects how to smartbuildings test and balance estimate
12 min read

How to Work with IT Groups

By Phil Zito on Mar 31, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we're going to be covering how to work with IT groups. So, below you will find all the resources we reference in this post 

Topics: Building Automation System projects how to smartbuildings it
16 min read

How to Program from Submittals

By Phil Zito on Mar 29, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we're going to be covering how to program from submittals or basically just how to program from any sequence of operations documentation.  

Topics: Building Automation System projects Sales how to smartbuildings documents program
15 min read

How to Perform Graphics and Front-End Setup

By Phil Zito on Mar 24, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be discussing how to perform graphics and front-end setup.  

Topics: Building Automation System projects Sales how to smartbuildings graphics documents front end setup
11 min read

How to Validate Installation and Perform P2P Checkout

By Phil Zito on Mar 22, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here, and welcome back! So, this post is going to be about how to validate, installation and perform point-to-point checkout. So, if you've been following along with this series on construction, which I highly encourage you to start at the beginning atHow to Perform Sales to Operation Handoffs,I encourage you to go through all of those posts. We've come to the point now, where we've lined out our subcontractors, we've scheduled out our labor, we've created our submittals and got them approved, we've ordered our material, our subcontractors have installed the material, and now we need to validate our installation and perform our point-to-point checkout.  

Topics: Building Automation System projects Sales how to smartbuildings installation point to point p2p checkout
13 min read

How to Manage Project Costs

By Phil Zito on Mar 17, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back! In this post, we are going to be discussing how to manage project costs. This post is sponsored by ourProject Management Bootcamp course.If you are looking to learn more about project management, and you would like to learn how to run your building automation projects profitably and on time, then you definitely need to check out this course.  

Topics: Building Automation System projects Sales how to smartbuildings documents costs
21 min read

How to Schedule out Labor and Common Tasks

By Phil Zito on Mar 15, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be discussing how to schedule out labor and common tasks for your building automation projects. So, up to this point in our BAS project management and operations series, we have talked through sales to operationshandoffs, performing takeoffs and re-estimates, creating submittals and project documents, and lining out our subcontractors.  

Topics: Building Automation System projects Sales how to smartbuildings documents labor scheduling
17 min read

How to Line Out Subcontractors

By Phil Zito on Mar 10, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back.Today, we're going to be talking about how to line out subcontractors. So, up to this point we've talked about performing a sales to operations handoff, we have talked about performing takeoffs and re-estimates, and we've talked about creating submittals and project documents.  

Topics: Building Automation System projects Sales how to smartbuildings documents line out subcontractors
19 min read

How to Create Submittals and Project Documents

By Phil Zito on Mar 8, 2022 2:24:06 PM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back! In this post, we're going to be discussing how to create submittals and project documents. So, if you've been following the series and you are of the operations or technical side of the business, you're definitely going to want to read each of these posts because it's really going to make clear to you exactly how projects are executed, what deliverables are required during the execution of projects, how to manage those deliverables, and you're also going to get some tips and tricks along the way.  

Topics: Building Automation System projects Sales how to smartbuildings documents submittals
13 min read

How to Perform Takeoffs and Re-estimates

By Phil Zito on Mar 3, 2022 10:34:03 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post, we are going to be talking about how to perform takeoffs and re-estimates.  

Topics: Building Automation System projects Sales how to smartbuildings reestimate documents
16 min read

How to Perform Sales to Operation Handoffs

By Phil Zito on Feb 3, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back! In this post, and for the next several posts, we are going to be doing something a little unique.We're going to be going through projects from start to finish, literally going to be spendingtime on every aspect of a BAS project from handing it off to operations, all the way to closing it out and handing it back off to the customer. Then after that, we're going to shift over to sales and walk through the entire sales process. Everything from how to initially target customers all the way to advanced closing strategies. So, that's what you can expect from us for the next several weeks into months. 

Topics: Sales smartbuildings building automation systems bas operations handoffs
23 min read

The Mindset Behind a BAS Career

By Phil Zito on Feb 1, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back. In this post I'm going to be talking about building automation careers. Now, we've covered this a couple times in past posts, but we still continue to get questions on how people progress in their careers. I'm going to do my best to address both:  

  • How do you get into the industry?  
  • How do you continue to succeed in the industry and expand your career? 
Topics: smartbuildings building automation systems bas Career employees growth
20 min read

BACnet IP vs MS/TP

By Phil Zito on Jan 27, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back!  Today, we are going to be discussing BACnet IP versus BACnet MS/TP

Topics: smartbuildings BACnet BACnet/IP MS/TP controllers
11 min read

Selling Access Control Integrations

By Phil Zito on Jan 25, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back!In this post, we are going to be discussing selling access control integrations. Now, I'll be pretty honest with you, if I was making a list of integrations I would try to bring to the market andto my customers, access control would probably not be on the high point.  

Topics: Sales smartbuildings integrations access control
5 min read

Implementing Access Control Integrations

By Phil Zito on Jan 13, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back! In this post, we are going to continue our discussion on implementing access control integrations and ultimately, on access control integrations as a whole. Now, as I discussed in the last post, this is going to be a bit shorter just simply due to the fact that with access control integrations, the reality is, you are at the mercy of a driver or an API, for most access control integrations.  

Topics: smartbuildings integrations access control
6 min read

The Basics of Access Control Integrations

By Phil Zito on Jan 11, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back! In today’s post, we are going to be discussing the basics of access control integrations. This post follows up on previous posts, starting with The Basics of Lighting Integrations, going all the way to this one, where we've been talking about integrations. So, if you are at all interested in integration, then I really encourage you to go back and read these past posts because they really lay down a lot of core concepts that folks need to know in integration.  

Topics: smartbuildings integrations access control
9 min read

Selling Audio-Visual Integrations

By Phil Zito on Dec 30, 2021 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back! In this post, we are going to be discussing selling audio-visual integrations. Everything we discuss can be found at Smart Buildings Academy Blog. I encourage you to take a look at our previous posts on integrations as we are halfway through this integration series now. There's been a lot of great information covered so far and it will really help you understand what we're going to teach today. Let's dive into selling audio-visual integrations. So, what does this look like? In my experience, there are really two ways this comes together.

Topics: smartbuildings integrations audio visual
7 min read

Implementing Audio-Visual Integrations

By Phil Zito on Dec 28, 2021 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here, welcome back! We're continuing our series on system integration, and we are going to be looking at implementing audio/visual integrations. Now, if you have not already done so, definitely go back and read posts 271, 272, & 274. Those episodes are key to you understanding what we're going to be discussing today, because integration is much more than just the systems we're integrating. It has to do with processes and procedures.

So, let's dive in. As we already discussed, audio-visual systems are a very common system for integration, especially in the corporate office environment, but you also see them being integrated in higher ed and also in healthcare situations. So, let's talk through how we integrate.

The first kind of integration is physical integration, but we don't really see physical integration or physical interfacing happening in audio-visual. Audio-visual definitely does use physical interfacing to tie into lights, TVs, phones and into shade control, but not really to tie into building automation. The reason why is building automation, and what we would be controlling, is normally controlled by IO in the first place.

If we think about a space, it has a temperature sensor, and that temperature sensor goes to a VAV box which regulates air flow into the space, which then cools or heats the space. Well, if we tried to interrupt the physical IO between that space temp sensor and the actual VAV box, things would not work. I've never really seen this on an integration design, but that's not to say it's not out there. So by and large, we're going to skip over physical interfacing as a form of integration for audio-visual systems.

Now, moving on to the most common form of integration, which is going to be protocol. When I say protocol, it's primarily BACnet over IP. What will typically happen is you will, either at the server or at the room level, connect to the audio-visual system.

Now, you can, at the server level, connect to the audio-visual system, and you can pull in your zone temperature, your zone temperature set points, into the audio-visual system. Then, they can use those to display on signage, to display on remote control applications through the phone, applications that are being controlled via a desk screen. You can go and pull those points in and do discovery. That's a very common form of integration.

In that case, your key points of performance for that integration are:

  1. To make sure you're pulling in the right points: zone temps, zone temp setpoint, etc, occupancy.
  1. Making sure you're pulling them in at the correct priority. If the AV system is supposed to take precedence, then you want to have a lower number because remember, in BACnet priority arrays, lower numbers are higher priority. So, you want to have a lower number than whatever you are using for the building automation system and its graphics.

Otherwise, every time you change the graphics in the building automation system, you are then going to be overriding whatever is in the AV system, which is not necessarily a problem if we were to switch gears and we say we are pulling data out of the AV system into the building automation system. Now, this is less common in my experience. It is more common for us to pull data into the AV system and use that as the primary system and to use our BAS as the secondary system, at least for space control.

That being said, there are scenarios where we will pull in data from the actual AV system, into the building automation system. This may happen if we wanted to get lighting data, energy data, or even performance data, we could then pull that into the BAS system. So, just be cognizant of that.

Let me briefly dive a little bit deeper. I don't want to assume that you all understand. So what I would do, for example, if I had to discover a Crestron system, I would go into Google Chrome, and I would type Crestron BACnet IP.

I would look this up and I would start to find the SW-3SERIES BACNET-50 with Crestron electronics. I would start to understand, “what does this thing do?” I would look at the resources, seeing I have a technical resource with an application diagram. It just gives me a simple diagram of the system. So, I just do discovery of BACnet and I can pull in access control, HVAC into this Crestron system. Not very descriptive, right?

If I go into the spec sheet, it tells me that the 3SERIES and 4SERIES can support 500 BACnet objects, with the following exceptions. If I have some other stuff, I can do 2000 objects. So, understanding there are limitations to my objects, there are limitations to the supported control systems, and understanding that this SW-3SERIES BACNET-50 is just a software license that enables the 3 or 4-SERIES control system to support more than 50 BACnet objects.

So basically, if I want to do more than 50 BACnet objects and I want to bring them in for discovery and control purposes, then I'm going to have to have a license. I've worked with Crestron in the past, it's been a couple years, but I didn't know this off the top of my head until I googled it. So, just take a little bit of time and do a little bit of research.

Type Crestron BACnet IP, or whatever system you're using for your audio-visual system, and then once you've discovered that, figure out, “Is this a software license? What are the supported control systems?” And the key point is to do some research now.

The reality is there's plenty of AV systems out there that do not support BACnet. They only support API's, application programming interfaces. So, once we know that they support API's, what we have to figure out is twofold:

  • What is the API for the AV system?
  • What API do we have for our building automation system? Depending on the building automation system, we may have the ability to write to http, API's hypertext transport protocol, and we may be able to write to those API's directly from our building automation system. We just simply need to make sure that we understand the functions of the audio-visual system API.

So, this is your checklist:

  • Research the API of the audio-visual system.
  • Figure out its functions and the data types that those functions accept. Normally, this is done by typing in the AV system, API and then SDK. SDK, also known as software development kit, will typically give you a list and examples of the functions that you can call on an API. Once you understand what functions you can call on an API, then you are going to be able to understand how you actually write to that API.

So, what I'm doing is I'm opening the XiO service from Crestron, I'm looking at its API reference, I'm understanding I have to have a subscription key and I have to have an API that I'm writing to. It's going to tell me what I can do and what I can write. Once I understand what I can write and what properties exist, I have to actually write up, in my building automation system, how I'm transferring this.

Now, as I mentioned, some building automation systems will have HTTP endpoints and API drivers that make this easy, others will not. Some will not support it at all, and you'll have to do a BACnet to RESTful API gateway. You can do those through some third-party hardware providers, or you can write your own in Python, JavaScript, or some sort of scripting language. You can even write a C sharp (C#) service or a Java service, and have it run on the background on the server.

The problem with hard coding things is that if anything breaks, if anything gets out of whack, you're going to have to redo the service. They're difficult to maintain and watch, but the reality is, that's just sometimes what you have to do. So, you'd look up the SDK, figure out what the API supports, and then you would figure out how to write it.

Kind of hard to teach you that in a blog, to be honest, because it's a very visual thing. But I will tell you that if you Google, how to write APIs, or how to write to APIs, or how to write scripts for APIs, or how to write services to APIs, specifically focusing on JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) which is the most common format of writing or formatting data coming out of an API, then that would be pretty helpful, in my opinion for you. Now the reality is, most of you reading this are not going to have to do anything more than BACnet IP into your AV system or out of your AV system. However, there are the few of you who are going to have to work with APIs and just be cognizant that this is how you go about it.

Alright, folks, so that kind of brings us to the end. Hopefully, this gave you some ideas on audio-visual. So, if you would like to dive much deeper into system integration, or in the protocols, I encourage you to check out our BAS Protocol Bootcamp or MSI in a Box.

And remember, you can always go into the comment section at the bottom of the page and leave your thoughts on the topic. If you are interested in our courses, be sure to check them out at Smart Buildings Academy.

Thanks a ton for being here and I look forward to seeing you again soon! Take care!

Topics: smartbuildings integrations audio visual
6 min read

The Basics of Audio-Visual Integrations

By Phil Zito on Dec 23, 2021 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome! This week, we are going to begin to look at the basics of audio-visual integrations. Now, if you've been following along, you know that this is Technology Stack #2 of this integration series.

Topics: smartbuildings integrations audio visual
10 min read

Selling Lighting Integrations

By Phil Zito on Dec 21, 2021 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back! Like the previous two lessons on integration, we're going to spend a bit of time getting to the core basics of selling integration, and then we're going to talk about selling lighting integration. So, like the previous two posts, this one's going to be a little bit longer, but then we're going to continue this moving forward as we go through AV, access control, and other systems, as I see fit, over the next couple of weeks.

Topics: smartbuildings lighting integrations
10 min read

Implementing Lighting Integrations

By Phil Zito on Dec 16, 2021 4:00:00 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here, and welcome back! Today, we are going to be continuing our series on integrations. We are going to be talking about implementing lightning integrations, and we're also going to discuss the three primary integration types and approaches.

Topics: smartbuildings lighting integrations
10 min read

The Basics of Lighting Integrations

By Phil Zito on Dec 13, 2021 1:11:06 PM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back! Today, we're going to be kind of stepping a little bit out of where we have been in the past, which has been sales, retrofits, and technology. Now we're going to be diving deep, for at least the next nine sessions, into integration.

Topics: smartbuildings lighting integrations
19 min read

Hydronic System Control Part 2

By Phil Zito on Mar 29, 2021 10:29:18 AM

CLICK TO READ HYDRONIC SYSTEM CONTROL PART 1.

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back!  In this week’s post, we will be talking about chilled water systems.  We're continuing our series on HVAC Control and we have about two more posts left.  So, this week, we're going to cover chilled water systems, how they work, how they function, and then we'll look at air-cooled and water-cooled.  We’ll also look at cooling towers, partial load chillers, and lead-lag. 

Topics: hydronic systems chilled water systems
21 min read

Hydronic System Control Part 1

By Phil Zito on Jan 22, 2021 6:31:06 AM

CLICK TO READ HYDRONIC SYSTEM CONTROL PART 2. 

Hello and welcome back!  This week we have some great topics planned for you, we are going to cover hot water systems. 

Topics: Building Automation System HVAC hydronic systems
16 min read

Airside Unit Control Fundamentals Part 3

By Phil Zito on Dec 17, 2020 9:06:45 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back!  In this post, we are going to be talking about 100% outdoor air units and make up air units.   We're also going to be talking a little bit about mixed air temperature control.   

Topics: Building Automation System HVAC Airside systems
42 min read

Airside Unit Control Fundamentals Part 2

By Phil Zito on Dec 2, 2020 9:37:31 AM

Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome back!  In this postwe’re going to be continuing our series on HVAC sequences.  Now, in the previous two posts, we went through Space Control and we went through simple Rooftop Unit Control 

Topics: HVAC Airside systems
39 min read

Airside Unit Control Fundamentals

By Phil Zito on Nov 18, 2020 8:00:00 AM

Hey folks! Welcome back! This week, we are going to be continuing our series on HVAC Control Sequences. In our previous post, we went through airside space control and how we use conditioned air. We also talked about VAV boxes and how they're controlled as well as all the different point types. 

Topics: controls HVAC Airside systems
31 min read

Space Control Fundamentals

By Phil Zito on Nov 6, 2020 1:48:40 PM

Hello folks!  This week, we are going to begin a multi-part series on HVAC Control Sequences.  We’re going to cover several control sequences and I’ll provide you my thoughts as we go through these sequences, so that you can better understand what exactly we should be doing when we have control sequences as building automation professionals. 

Topics: HVAC
15 min read

Smart Building Project Management and Oversight

By Phil Zito on Oct 14, 2020 4:24:29 PM

Over the past couple weeks, I have been getting a lot of questions around Project Management. That’s why I released a Project Management episode, and that led to questions surrounding, “but what about owners”. What do owners do from a project management perspective?

Topics: building automation smart buildings
4 min read

How to Integrate Systems

By Phil Zito on Sep 23, 2020 11:38:44 AM

Integrating systems is not difficult. 

Topics: integration Protocols
6 min read

How to Identify What Vertical Market you Should Serve

By Phil Zito on Sep 1, 2020 11:43:48 AM

John is trying to grow his Building Automation Business from $12M in revenue to $20M in revenue over the next 12 months. Every Monday John and I have a call to discuss how he can make this happen. 

Topics: business
10 min read

Making Sense of indoor air quality

By Phil Zito on Aug 11, 2020 10:38:17 AM

You've probably been hearing a lot lately on the topic of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). And for good reason, recently a group of employees at Epic Systems to the tune of 89% of the employees expressing dissatisfaction with Epic's return to work strategy.

One of the key factors of a building that is perceived healthy is indoor air quality. But what is indoor air quality? SBA has compiled the guide to teach you what you need to know about IAQ.

 

Topics: Guides
3 min read

Read These 3 Tips About Building Automation Retrofit Sales To Double Your Business

By Phil Zito on Oct 3, 2019 8:56:10 AM

There's a market opportunity that is coming that I don't see anyone talking about and that is the coming retrofit market.

So something I haven't seen a lot on LinkedIn, I haven't seen it in any of the news periodicals, is a discussion about the coming retrofit market.

Topics: Sales Building Controls Business
3 min read

Is your BAS open?

By Phil Zito on Nov 13, 2017 5:00:07 AM

Back when I worked at Johnson Controls I used to get asked this question quite a bit..

Topics: bas sales Sales
2 min read

IT vs OT... What does it mean?

By Phil Zito on Nov 10, 2017 6:11:42 AM

There's been a phrase floating around lately, and if I'm honest, it's driving me nuts. I'm not quite sure why but it just feels irritating. And that phrase is IT vs OT.

Topics: OT Information Technology
3 min read

5 Reasons Why Your Building is Still Dumb...

By Phil Zito on Sep 19, 2017 6:00:20 AM

Take a look around the Internet and you'll see a ton of "thought-leadership" around the topic of smart buildings. It seems like everyone has the "Skynet" of buildings, yet here you are, everyone's advancing and yet your building is still... how do I say this... stupid...

Topics: smart buildings Building Controls
19 min read

My most common IT questions

By Phil Zito on Jul 16, 2017 7:00:31 AM

In this article I am going to explore a lot of the different IT questions I've been asked by my IT for BAS Students. As you may or may not know, I run an online training program called Information Technology for Building Automation System Professionals.

I've had a lot of good questions from folks in this program. And while I've been going through this program I've had tons of conversations about all sorts of things.

Topics: bas it Information Technology
8 min read

6 things you might not know about IP Addresses

By Phil Zito on Jul 9, 2017 6:00:13 AM

So what is an IP Address?

And why should you care?

In this post I discuss one of the most fundamental concepts of information technology, IP Addresses! And you know what, we're gonna have some fun doing it!

Topics: Information Technology Information Technology
2 min read

What's in a name a look at BAS naming Standards

By Phil Zito on Jun 30, 2017 6:00:54 AM

I'm an advocate of standards. In a complex world, standards make things a little bit easier. But yet, it seems outside of some of the universities and a handful of corporations standards are about as common as a purple unicorn.

Topics: naming standards Building Controls
4 min read

How to create the ultimate project training plan

By Phil Zito on Jun 28, 2017 6:00:56 AM

Throughout my career, I've been guilty of doing the same thing everyone else does. You know what I'm talking about. It's the end of the project and there is one thing between you and getting off the job... It's the "Vendor shall provide 8 hours of training by qualified factory representative" specification language.

Topics: Building Controls BAS Training
4 min read

Wrangling in out of control alarming

By Phil Zito on Jun 26, 2017 6:00:33 AM

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was standing in the control room of one of the biggest life sciences organizations in the world and their central cooling plant had been down for three hours...

Topics: alarms Building Controls
3 min read

Redlines vs As Builts - Are They the Same?

By Phil Zito on Jun 23, 2017 6:00:03 AM

Redlines vs. as builts: Two things that seem to be exactly the same but are they?

What are Redlines? Redlines are, quite simply, original drawings that have been redlined to reflect the changes that have been made. As I mentioned in previous articles when a project is being installed the installation team uses a series of plans and specs to guide them in how to build the project.

Topics: Building Controls construction drawings
2 min read

An overview of CSI MasterFormat

By Phil Zito on Jun 21, 2017 6:00:13 AM

In my blog article, What are MEP Plans, I discussed the first half of the infamous Plans and Specs. In this article I am going to take you through the most common specification format there is, the Construction Specifications Institute Master Format.

Topics: Building Controls
2 min read

What are MEP Plans

By Phil Zito on Jun 19, 2017 6:00:09 AM

What are MEP plans? Chances are if you've been in the building automation industry for any period of time you've seen mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) plans.

These plans are the blueprints that detail out how a building should be built.

Topics: Building Controls
5 min read

The non-techie guide to API's

By Phil Zito on Jun 16, 2017 6:00:52 AM

I get asked a lot lately, "What is an API?"

You'd think this would be something you could Google and be done with, but the problem is, apparently no one has told the folks writing all the API articles that the folks reading the articles don't know what API's actually are!

Well, if that's you, you're in luck! This article assumes zero IT knowledge. I will take you through what an API is in such a way that almost anyone can understand it. 

Topics: building automation smartbuildings Information Technology
4 min read

So you're new to BAS... here's what to do!

By Phil Zito on Jun 15, 2017 6:00:43 AM

I still remember when I started my career in BAS. It was February 1st 2007 and I had no business being in the BAS world. I've told this story before so I'll keep it brief.

Essentially I was leaving the US Navy and needed a job. I had the options of interviewing at a soap factory, glass factory, or Alerton BAS dealer.

Topics: building automation Building Controls
4 min read

What is a communications bus?

By Phil Zito on Jun 11, 2017 8:47:48 AM

Have you ever wondered what a communication bus is? When I was starting out, I didn't know what a communication bus was. You've probably heard the term though but maybe you heard it called something else... Comm bus, Comm Trunk, Trunk. MS/TP...

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
5 min read

What does decaying yard waste and an old building automation system have in common?

By Phil Zito on Jun 2, 2017 6:00:45 AM

They both stink, grow old and fall apart.

I had the wonderful pleasure of taking about 30 bags of decaying yard waste to the dump. I would say you haven't lived until you've smelled the sweet aura of decaying grass, but that would be a complete lie.

How did things get so bad? When I thought about it I realized I only produce 6 bags of grass per mowing, that means that I went 5 weeks without taking this grass to the compost dump.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
4 min read

My 5 step process to epically vanquish BAS Comm trunk issues

By Phil Zito on May 27, 2017 8:02:46 AM

So I was talking with a buddy of mine yesterday on Skype. He and I started discussing communication trunks and the best way to troubleshoot them.

There is nothing more frustrating and difficult then troubleshooting communication trunks in existing buildings.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
2 min read

If you don't patch your BAS you're an idiot

By Phil Zito on May 15, 2017 4:08:28 PM

Well, that's an attention grabber eh?

Unless you've been living under a rock the past couple days you've probably heard about the malware that's been plaguing Windows machines.

This new malware called "WannaCry" has been encrypting folks hard drives keeping them from accessing their data.

The reality is, ransomware (malware that locks up files until someone pays the hacker money) is nothing new.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
5 min read

Cutting through the BS- The Truth about the Target Hack and IoT DDoS

By Phil Zito on Feb 17, 2017 7:00:47 AM

It seems every week lately I get a question about the security of Building Automation Systems.

But, the problem is the folks are asking the wrong questions.

Yes, it is scary that the average BAS technician doesn't have an IT background.

It does keep me up at night that most implementations of BACnet are insecure and that with YABE you can pretend you're a BBMD and connect to exposed BAS's to change setpoints.

Topics: smartbuilding Information Technology
3 min read

The best of 2016

By Phil Zito on Jan 2, 2017 6:00:10 AM

Man oh man, 2016 was a blast. I started a podcast, published a book, and wrote a ton of quality articles.

Topics: Best of
7 min read

Systems Integration 101: Developing a Sequence of Operations

By Phil Zito on Oct 10, 2016 6:00:01 AM

So here we are. 8 weeks ago I started to take you on a journey through the wild and crazy world of systems integration.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
5 min read

Systems Integration 101: Detailing out the data model and system requirements

By Phil Zito on Oct 3, 2016 6:00:37 AM

I was on a live stream the morning I wrote this article and I was discussing my new book, with my pre-sale customers. A question popped up around data normalization, and data warehouses vs data lakes.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
8 min read

Systems Integration 101: How to create a Integration map

By Phil Zito on Sep 26, 2016 6:00:10 AM

Up to this point, I’ve covered relatively simple integrations but what happens if you have a complicated integration one involving dozens if not hundreds of systems?

I remember the first time I did a very complicated integration.

I was using the OPC protocol to integrate building automation systems from several different data centers into a centralized reporting hub.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
5 min read

Learn Series: BAS Inputs, what you Really Need to Know

By Phil Zito on Sep 21, 2016 6:00:33 AM

Hi, I'm Phil Zito owner of building automation monthly and welcome to the first post, of the second learn series module! In this new learn series module I am going to be discussing everything you need to know related to building automation controllers.

 

Topics: Learn Series smartbuildings
5 min read

The 3 steps to creating amazingly useful integration maps

By Phil Zito on Sep 19, 2016 6:00:23 AM

I remember it like it was yesterday... I was trying to get a new LON system tied into an existing building automation system and it was chaos.

I had broken every system integration rule on this project and the project was only a week old. In my defense I had yet to learn the process I am teaching you, I tend to have a "adventurous" personality...

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
4 min read

Learn Series: How Binary Control Works

By Phil Zito on Sep 14, 2016 6:00:01 AM

I like to show up to work early. Usually I get into the office around 5:45 am.  I do this because I am able to get so much more work done without the distraction and noise.

Did, I mention I have a really bad case of ADHD? Oh, wait I'm off topic again...

Where was I, oh yeah, the office. So, I go into the office early in order to get things done, but... lately there's been a problem...

Topics: Learn Series smartbuildings
6 min read

Systems Integration 101: How to Use a Gap Analysis to Detail out the New Systems

By Phil Zito on Sep 12, 2016 7:00:39 AM

In this post, I going to teach you how to perform a Gap analysis.

But before we get there, let's travel back to 2007 when I was a brand new technician...

Picture this, you are a newly hired service technician and you arrive at a customer site. Customer comes up to you and tells you that the air handling systems they ordered are ready to be pulled into the building automation system.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
3 min read

5 Common BAS Terms Every BAS Professional Should Know

By Phil Zito on Sep 11, 2016 9:01:24 PM

Every profession has their own secret language, and the world of building automation is no different.

In this post, I will help you to demystify the lingo of building automation by exposing the 5 most common terms in the building automation world.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
3 min read

Learn Series: How Floating Control Works

By Phil Zito on Sep 7, 2016 6:00:10 AM

Welcome to the fourth Learn Series article!

This series is a blast and I am having a ton of fun providing valuable content for you to take your building automation career to greater heights!

This article is going to cover the 3rd control mode that is commonly found in the building automation space, floating control!

Whether you are brand new to BAS or a veteran, this article has value nuggets sprinkled throughout it just for you!

Topics: Learn Series smartbuildings
4 min read

Systems Integration 101: How to Identify and Diagram Existing Systems

By Phil Zito on Sep 5, 2016 6:00:07 AM

This is article #3 in the Systems Integration series, and in this article, we are beginning to dive through the process of identifying the systems landscape. This process is critical to adequately assess the time, effort, and cost that each of our use cases will require. Up to this point, we have identified the difference between systems interfacing and integration, and we have identified our use case.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
4 min read

Learn Series: How Sequenced Control Works

By Phil Zito on Aug 31, 2016 6:00:01 AM

Welcome to the third Learn Series article! Man I did not expect the response I got from this series.

Thank you so much for everyone who has been e-mailing me telling me that this series is helping them unpack concepts they've been struggling with! SBA Nation you all are friggin awesome!

Topics: Learn Series smartbuildings
7 min read

Systems Integration 101: How to Create a Systems Integration Use Case

By Phil Zito on Aug 29, 2016 5:43:16 AM

Welcome back to another exciting article in the systems integration 101 series. In this article we are going to walk through the first step of the systems integration process, creating use cases.

Over the years I've created tons of systems integration use cases. I like to think I've come up with a pretty good process for detailing out use cases that works quite well. In today's article I am going to walk you through just that.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
5 min read

Learn Series: How to Tune a PID Loop

By Phil Zito on Aug 24, 2016 5:00:12 AM

Welcome to the second Learn Series article!

If this is your first time ever reading the learn series then you're in for a treat. In these articles I discuss a technical topic and provide solid education for those in or thinking of joining the building automation field.

If you'd like to save a ton of time I included a video on PID Loop tuning for you.

Topics: Learn Series smartbuildings
3 min read

Learn Series: PID Loops Overview

By Phil Zito on Aug 17, 2016 6:00:39 AM

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Topics: Learn Series smartbuildings PID Loops
5 min read

3 Evaluation Criteria for Protocols that you've Never Seen

By Phil Zito on Aug 15, 2016 7:00:24 AM

How can my building automation system communicate with xyz system?

What protocols can my BAS support?

BACnet, Lon, Modbus, all I really want to do is run my building!

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar to you?

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
8 min read

Ensure Legacy System Support with these 3 Questions

By Phil Zito on Aug 8, 2016 7:00:13 AM

How can you ensure that your investment into a BAS will be around 5 years from now?

Can you determine if your new BAS will work with your legacy systems?

How do you manage software upgrades and critical system patches?

A building automation system is a life-cycle investment. However, the BAS is often only evaluated based on first cost.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
8 min read

How to evaluate your BAS training

By Phil Zito on Aug 1, 2016 7:00:24 AM

Let's face it most informal training sucks!

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
7 min read

3 Things that Determine if Your Post-Install Support Sucks

By Phil Zito on Jul 25, 2016 6:00:21 AM

How can you build the skills you need to support your BAS?

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
7 min read

Learn How to Evaluate Controls Architectures in 3 Easy Steps

By Phil Zito on Jul 18, 2016 6:00:48 AM

How do you know if your BAS is designed efficiently?

Does your BAS have the correct capacity to grow with you?

These are questions that every building owner and controls contractor face at some point in their career. Up until this point there really hasn't been an answer to these questions.

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls
5 min read

3 Steps Evaluate Your BAS Tools

By Phil Zito on Jul 11, 2016 6:00:06 AM

Do you know what tools are provided with your new BAS?

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls
7 min read

Article exposes the top 3 criteria for BAS trend capabilities

By Phil Zito on Jul 4, 2016 6:00:54 AM

Did you know that there is an analytics package built into your BAS?

Would you like to ensure that you have the ability to look at the historical performance of your BAS?

Does the thought of sifting through hundreds, maybe even thousands of data-points seem more painful than a root canal?

If so, don't worry, in this article I'm going to help you pin down the key capabilities you need to effectively implement a trending strategy. This is the fourth article in a 10-part series on how to evaluate your building automation systems.

Topics: building automation Building Controls
5 min read

The Critical Alarm functionality most specifications don't address

By Phil Zito on Jun 27, 2016 6:00:27 AM

Are you overwhelmed with how fast the BAS market is changing?

Do you find yourself struggling to keep up with systems and how to evaluate them?

Are you looking for an easy way to consistently evaluate BAS's that is vendor neutral?

If so you are in the right spot. This is the third article in a 10-part series on how to evaluate your building automation systems.

Topics: building automation Building Controls
11 min read

4 things you didn't know about IT networks

By Phil Zito on Jun 20, 2016 6:00:35 AM

What's a Network?

Hey BAM Nation,

This is the second article in the Building Automation IT Guide series.

In my last article, All About IP Addresses, we discussed core fundamentals about IP Addressing, Subnets, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, and Domain Name Servers. In this article, we are going to begin to unpack the mysterious network!

Topics: building automation Information Technology Information Technology
7 min read

Evaluating Graphics won't be hard anymore after you read this

By Phil Zito on Jun 13, 2016 6:00:44 AM

Are you overwhelmed with how fast the BAS market is changing?

Topics: building automation Building Controls
12 min read

How to Evaluate a BAS Even if you've Never Seen a BAS: Openness

By Phil Zito on May 30, 2016 6:00:43 AM

Are you overwhelmed with how fast the BAS market is changing?

Do you find yourself struggling to keep up with systems and how to evaluate them?

Are you looking for an easy way to consistently evaluate BAS's that is vendor neutral?

If so you are in the right spot. This is the first article in a 10-part series on how to evaluate your building automation systems.

Topics: building automation Building Controls
4 min read

Convergence versus Integration

By Phil Zito on May 10, 2016 6:30:45 AM

I recently received an email asking me about my thoughts on technology convergence versus integration. As I started to write a response to the email I noticed that my response would answer a question that I get here quite often.

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls integration
8 min read

Expert shows 3 ways to improve your Chiller performance right now!

By Phil Zito on May 5, 2016 8:56:11 PM

I remember an interesting call I got back when I lived in Texas. I was on a troubleshooting call to a church in Southlake, Tx. They were having issues cooling down the rooms in the children's wing and they couldn't seem to figure out why. Upon checking the air handlers sure enough the discharge air set-point wasn't being met despite the cooling valve being 100% open.

Topics: analytics building automation systems Building Controls trends
5 min read

Your Outdoor Air Damper is Costing you A Hundred Dollars a minute

By Phil Zito on May 2, 2016 6:00:21 AM

While you are reading this article a good percentage of you are sucking hot humid air into your building just to cool it down.

Sucks doesn't it? You spend all this money to control your building only to have your energy budget being blown by some hot humid air.

Topics: analytics building automation systems Building Controls trends
4 min read

The most impactful feature of your BAS, that you aren't using

By Phil Zito on Apr 27, 2016 7:00:31 AM

Its right there in front of you. Can you see it?

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls trends
5 min read

Information Technology for BAS Professionals

By Phil Zito on Apr 22, 2016 8:40:33 PM

Information Technology, IT, Technology!

Those words strike fear in the eyes of many BAS professionals. Now, before you get defensive, this has nothing to do with capabilities but rather it has to do with training. Up to this point no dedicated training program existed to provide those in the building automation space with the core IT skills they need in today's world.

Topics: Technology Skills Information Technology it Information Technology
4 min read

Five Things to Consider Before you Integrate

By Phil Zito on Apr 15, 2016 7:00:45 AM

I was sitting in a cramped room, surrounded by several software engineers who were passionately arguing among themselves about a data model and how we could integrate two systems seamlessly. I interjected, being the glutton for punishment that I am, what is the value this will deliver? They turned and looked at me with a look that beamed, "Who is this guy and why is he asking about value? Doesn't he understand that there can't be any value if the systems can't even talk?"

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls integration
2 min read

The Hidden Costs of First Cost only Thinking

By Phil Zito on Apr 10, 2016 8:02:26 AM

It sucked, I literally wasted 3 hours of my life one Saturday waiting to buy tickets for a dance recital. What really sucked was when I realized 2,000 other people were doing the same thing. There we were standing cramped in a small dance studio waiting to buy tickets for a dance recital, what an awesome use of my Saturday morning.

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls life cycle costing
3 min read

Guess who Just Hacked a Building Automation System?

By Phil Zito on Feb 17, 2016 12:31:04 PM

Woke up to news early this week, IBM X-Force hacked a Building Automation System using a combination of common vulnerabilities. Based on the report IBM produced, here is what happened.

Topics: Security building automation systems Building Controls cybersecurity
1 min read

Yet Another BACnet Explorer- My Favorite BACnet Library

By Phil Zito on Jan 19, 2016 7:45:35 PM

This is quite possibly going to be my shortest blog post ever. When I am coding integrations I often have to use a BACnet library. Because I can't share my production library that I use for my "company code", I had to find another library that I could use for any code I share online.  Because I like C# and .NET for a variety of reasons I had to really dig to find a C# BACnet library.

Topics: BACnet Library building automation systems BACnet BACnet/IP
3 min read

What are The Green Rating Programs For Buildings -Part 1

By Phil Zito on Sep 13, 2015 9:52:04 PM

This is the first of two articles that discuss what are the green rating programs for buildings.

When I say green what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Do you think buildings? If so why not?

In case you haven't heard, there's been a push around creating Green, sustainable, net-zero buildings. The "Green Building" craze that has come about over the past ten years and only now are the green rating programs for buildings starting to catch on.  Therefore I can't really fault you if you're not completely up to speed.

Topics: Energy Green Programs building automation systems LEED
8 min read

How to Optimize Your Building Systems

By Phil Zito on Aug 30, 2015 9:21:27 PM

How to Optimize Your Building Systems

Well it's good to be back!

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls integration optimization
5 min read

Will Interoperability Destroy A Hospital's Network?

By Phil Zito on Jan 28, 2015 7:38:14 PM

Today, I had the privilege of attending a one-day seminar put on by IHE USA. IHE, which stands for Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise is one of a few select groups like HL7 that is working towards creating a standardized data exchange framework. I believe, based on my experience as a solution architect designing technology for healthcare environments, there is a chance that interoperability will destroy a hospital's network. There are a multitude of factors as to why I believe this...

Topics: healthcare Information Technology
7 min read

The Basics of Web Servers

By Phil Zito on Oct 31, 2014 3:34:14 PM

Web Servers make the world go round. If you are connecting to your bank online, you're connecting to a web server. Do you like Amazon? Guess what also a web server. Just about everything you connect to out their on the internet is by definition a web server.

Topics: how to web servers Information Technology
7 min read

The Basics of Sub-netting

By Phil Zito on Sep 14, 2014 2:57:55 PM

Topics: it subnetting Information Technology
3 min read

Top 5 IT Certifications for those in Automation

By Phil Zito on Sep 2, 2014 2:26:47 PM

Topics: building automation systems it Information Technology
13 min read

The Hows, Whys, and Whats of Remote Access to Your BAS

By Phil Zito on Aug 26, 2014 2:51:11 PM

I recently received an e-mail question via the Contact Phil Section of my blog. I enjoy writing articles for my blog but I enjoy even more when I get interaction from my readers.

The question posed by my subscriber is pertinent to so many people that I felt it deserved to be posted in its entirety.

Topics: VPN building automation systems Building Controls cybersecurity
6 min read

SQL Commands that Pimp Out Your BAS!

By Phil Zito on Jul 4, 2014 7:13:02 AM

In my previous article I discussed the fundamentals of SQL and provided an overview of SELECT, the first of the four main SQL commands. In this article, I will cover some beginner/intermediate topics:

  • Sub-queries
  • Joins
  • Table Creation
Topics: sql Database Information Technology
4 min read

Learning SQL: The One Language That Keeps On Giving

By Phil Zito on Jun 11, 2014 8:57:05 PM

You need to learn SQL, not tomorrow, not in a few hours. You need to learn SQL right now! The good news is SQL, which stands for Structured Query Language, isn't that hard to learn.

Topics: sql Database Information Technology
8 min read

BAS Hacking 101: Scan and Enumerate

By Phil Zito on May 16, 2014 12:30:24 PM

BAS Hacking 101: Scanning and Enumeration

In the BAS Hacking series I am diving deep into the bowels of building automation networks and systems! I am going to take you through the full process of exploiting a system so that you can better understand the thought process of your attackers. The series consists of 4 articles:

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls cybersecurity
6 min read

Why the BAS of the Future Will not Have Controllers

By Phil Zito on May 11, 2014 1:25:57 PM

I'm gonna tell it to you straight, BAS controls are changing! Multiple technology systems have gotten away from the proprietary controller model and if buildings are ever going to be truly intelligent than BAS systems need to do the same. In this article I will discuss what I see as the BAS of the Future and how I see it impacting our industry.

Topics: building automation systems it Building Controls
3 min read

IoT Mobile ThermoStats

By Phil Zito on Apr 5, 2014 2:36:33 PM

In my new role I have the privilege of leading my company's  partnerships and alliances with the world's top technology companies . One of the buzzwords that keeps coming up especially with the recent announcement from Cisco is the "Internet of Things" or the IoT.

Topics: building automation systems IoT it Building Controls
3 min read

Do People have a Clue What to Do with IoT?

By Phil Zito on Mar 14, 2014 6:28:06 AM

I come across all these beautiful articles around the Internet of Things (IoT) filled with graphics, network diagrams, and a generic finger reaching out to touch some translucent screen in the distance. As if a finger, some Adobe Photoshop items, and a network diagram are all we need to make the IoT work...

Topics: building automation systems design IoT Information Technology
5 min read

Everything You Need to Know About HL7 and Healthcare Informatics

By Phil Zito on Feb 28, 2014 8:19:00 AM

It's been a while since I last posted and I have been up to quite a bit. One of the areas I have dug into is Healthcare Information Systems. In the past I mainly interacted at the facilities level so to gain visibility into what happens on the clinical and surgical side of the business has been quite interesting. In this post I am going to pull back the curtains on HL7 (think XML for Healthcare) and describe the various aspects of healthcare informatics! Are you ready to learn all you need to know about HL7 and Healthcare Informatics?

Topics: healthcare hl7 integration Information Technology
8 min read

BAS Hacking 101: Target Selection

By Phil Zito on Dec 19, 2013 12:57:08 PM

In the BAS Hacking series I am diving deep into the bowels of building automation networks and systems! I am going to take you through the full process of exploiting a system so that you can better understand the thought process of your attackers.

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls cybersecurity
2 min read

BAS Hacking 101 Overview

By Phil Zito on Dec 7, 2013 12:17:17 PM

My article How to Hack a Building Automation System is one of my most read articles. However, one of the criticism's I received was that it didn't go into how to actually hack a BAS. Being that December is Data Security Month, I am going to walk you through the a BAS Hack on a system I have here in my house.

Topics: Security building automation systems cybersecurity
2 min read

What Are You Doing With Your Customers Data?

By Phil Zito on Dec 1, 2013 2:21:09 PM

What Are You Doing With Your Customers Data?

So it never fails, I hung up all our x-mas lights yesterday and a strand in the middle of the icicle lights died. Off I went to run errands and to purchase some new lights. Normally I do my shopping at Lowe's but since I was closer to Home Depot I decided to go there instead. As I was checking out the credit card machine prompted me and asked if I would like to have my receipt e-mailed to me.

Topics: analytics building automation systems Building Controls
3 min read

2 Database Technologies in 2 Minutes

By Phil Zito on Nov 26, 2013 10:14:01 PM

Big Data is in the vogue. As a business leader, technology enthusiast, or aspiring technologist you need to be aware of the different database technologies what they can accomplish and how they align with your business needs. This article is by no means an exhaustive look at databases but rather a 30,000 foot flyover to help you familiarize yourself with an ever-expanding solution set. This was originally going to be called 5 database technologies in 5 minutes but the article started to get really large and I decided to split the article up.

Topics: databases Information Technology
5 min read

Big Data Don't Ignore Small Business

By Phil Zito on Oct 31, 2013 3:22:10 PM

Big Data Don't Ignore Small Business

Back when I was in grade school we would pick teams for pickup games of dodge ball and kick ball. It never failed that the smaller kids were always left for last. Now, the funny thing was that the team captains judged the talent on size and it never failed that a kid named John was left out. However, this day we happened to play a pickup game of baseball and the team that finally picked John found out real quick that John for his small size was an amazing pitcher.

Topics: analytics building automation systems Building Controls
6 min read

The Top 5 Questions to Ask Your BAS Consultant

By Phil Zito on Oct 27, 2013 3:04:50 PM

I've thought a lot lately about the convergence of IT and BAS and the rapidity at which new products and offerings are proliferating the market. I said to myself, if I was an owner, what would be the top 5 questions I would want my BAS consultant to be able to answer.  The list that I created was not created in any particular order, but rather it is a semi-legible consolidation of my ramblings as those of you who have read my blogs in the past seem to enjoy (why else do I keep getting readership :-D ).

Topics: consultant building automation systems Building Controls
6 min read

Is your control system becoming the next Tower of Babel?

By Phil Zito on Oct 24, 2013 8:16:24 AM

Is your control system becoming the next Tower of Babel?

BACnet, LON, Obix, M-Bus and P-Bus... There is a veritable alphabet soup of controls protocols and systems within the market place and although the industry is moving towards an open framework, we still have a ways to go.

Topics: building automation systems design Building Controls integration
7 min read

Condensing Systems 101

By Phil Zito on Sep 3, 2013 3:39:05 PM

Central Utility Plants are the life blood of an HVAC system. This series will begin to give the reader an understanding of what Central Utility Plants are and will act as a spring board from which we can launch into deep control discussions.

Topics: HVAC Condensing Systems
5 min read

How a BAS Hacker Can Create a Multi-Million Dollar Law Suit in a Few Clicks

By Phil Zito on Aug 20, 2013 8:54:24 PM

Wow! What an eventful week I have had. I read through the Cylance Google Hack article again and after fully digesting the information around the hack I had an epiphany.

Most facility owners are just a few clicks away from a multi-million dollar due care/due diligence lawsuit.

I will get into the how in a second but let's first describe what due care and due diligence means.

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls cybersecurity
3 min read

The 5 Building and Energy Websites Everyone Should Know About

By Phil Zito on Aug 17, 2013 2:25:57 PM

Do a quick search on building and energy websites and what comes up within the first page? You have some stuff from the DOE (Department of Energy) and other government entities but chances are you will only find one of the top 5 building and energy websites during your search. This means that decision makers, consultants, and designers are missing out on key information that directly impact the efficiency and effectiveness of their building management and energy programs.

Topics: Energy building automation systems Building Controls
5 min read

Do You Need an Isolated Network for Building Automation Systems

By Phil Zito on Aug 9, 2013 10:32:07 AM

Do You Need an Isolated Network for Building Automation Systems

Based on my experience there are so many other security concerns that are being ignored that going and splitting your trunk onto a physically isolated network is a secondary thought. Quite honestly, the concern around  if you need an isolated network for building automation systems should be something you think about only if you are in a regulated or DoD environment.

Topics: building automation systems security it Building Controls
7 min read

The Invisible Employee: Applying Building Analytics Within the Workplace

By Phil Zito on Aug 2, 2013 4:09:37 PM

Imagine an employee who works 24 hours a day never stopping, not requiring benefits, with the ability to clearly communicate the needs of your organization to hundreds if not thousands of employees at the same time. Do you see him?

Topics: analytics building automation systems Building Controls
7 min read

How to Hack a Building Automation System

By Phil Zito on Jul 28, 2013 1:48:11 PM

I just finished reading two interesting articles about hacking BAS systems and thought I would share my thoughts with all of you on how a BAS could be used to hack a building. First off, we still have some educating to do around BAS as a whole in the industry. Reading through Brian Prince's article at Dark Reading titled Google Building Management System Hack Highlights SCADA Security Challenges brings to mind one of the first areas in which we need to educate our IT counterparts.

Topics: cyber security building automation systems it Information Technology
6 min read

Pimp My BAS

By Phil Zito on Jul 21, 2013 5:53:18 PM

Pimp My BAS

People like shinny new  things. Your BAS can be controlling to tolerances tighter then the atomic clock but if it doesn't have a "nice" User Interface your customer will wonder what exactly are they paying you for.

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls
6 min read

My BAS Can Do That: And other Myths about BAS Analytics

By Phil Zito on Jul 14, 2013 1:47:17 PM

My BAS Can Do That: And other Myths about BAS Analytics

I have had the privilege of working in the automation industry for more than a decade and have seen it move from stand-alone systems all the way to full-blown web-based platforms. However, until recently, we have not had the ability to capture, analyze, and report on massive amounts of data.

Topics: analytics building automation systems Building Controls
4 min read

When is Your Control System Too Old?

By Phil Zito on Jul 5, 2013 8:12:21 AM

A lot of things get better with age, a good wine, a nice dry rubbed steak, a collectible convertible. However, the one item we don't associate with the age/quality relationship is a control system. Yet, in thousands of buildings across the United States the one system that could impact a building's total energy spend by upwards of 20-40% (per the DOE ) remains untouched.

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls
7 min read

Energy Efficiency Where to Begin? Identify Part 2

By Phil Zito on Jun 18, 2013 8:05:56 AM

In the previous article of the Energy Efficiency Where to Begin series, I began to discuss how to identify the key information you need to plan, create, and implement an Energy Management Program. In this article I will explain the last two points you need to identify and will summarize the identify step. 

Topics: Energy energy
5 min read

You wouldn't use a Drill as a Mixer....

By Phil Zito on Jun 11, 2013 7:08:10 AM

An Evaluation of Enterprise Energy Management

Overview

I really do believe in the power of cloud based applications, especially analytics. I realize for some, especially those in the Building Automation Systems sphere cloud based (or if you prefer to call them distributed) analytical solutions are new to the market. Averaging about 2-3 years old the energy analytics market is quickly filling up with analytical solutions.

Topics: analytics building automation systems Building Controls
3 min read

Who gives a $^&$ about BAS security?

By Phil Zito on Jun 9, 2013 2:35:41 PM

In this article I am responding to a great question from a fellow LinkedIn group member.

She asked, and I paraphrase, "Do you have any articles about why someone should even care about IT Security for their BAS?"

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls cybersecurity
9 min read

The Fundamentals of Building Automation Security

By Phil Zito on Jun 8, 2013 1:32:27 PM

Prior to reading this article I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you view the video below. This video will give you foundational knowledge of the building automation security topics I will discuss below.

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls cybersecurity
4 min read

Energy Efficiency Where to Begin? Identify Part 1

By Phil Zito on Jun 6, 2013 8:10:59 PM

Energy Efficiency Where to Begin? Identify Part 1

Overview

In the previous article of the Energy Efficiency Where to Begin series. I identified the 50,000 foot view of energy management and the overarching themes of an effective energy management program. In this article we begin to take a detailed look at an effective energy management system.

Topics: Energy building automation systems energy
4 min read

Energy Efficiency Where to Begin?

By Phil Zito on Jun 5, 2013 6:13:35 AM

In this article I will discuss the fundamentals of energy efficiency and "where to begin". I have been blessed, truly blessed, to have a role where I literally travel the United States and Canada meeting with companies around their need to reduce energy consumption. The consistent theme seems to be inconsistency. Now stop and think about what I just said there. The industry, in regards to Energy Efficiency is fragmented.

Topics: Energy building automation systems energy
7 min read

Pumping Systems 101

By Phil Zito on Jun 3, 2013 7:38:59 PM

Central Utility Plants are the life blood of an HVAC system. This series will begin to give the reader an understanding of what Central Utility Plants are and will act as a spring board from which we can launch into deep control discussions.

Topics: Central Utility Plants HVAC
7 min read

Central Utility Plant (CUP) 101

By Phil Zito on May 30, 2013 2:50:32 PM

The Central Utility Plant is the life blood of an HVAC system. This series will begin to give the reader an understanding of what Central Utility Plants are and will act as a spring board from which we can launch into deep control discussions. This series will cover:

Topics: HVAC central utility plant
4 min read

Measurement and Verification Option C

By Phil Zito on May 19, 2013 9:04:20 PM

In my earlier post M&V Overview I discussed that I would be creating posts centered around each of the M&V approaches. In this post I will be writing an in depth review of Option C Measurement and Verification (M&V). You can expect to learn the following from this post. The layout of this post is going to be very similar to the other M&V posts as it is my goal to give you an in-depth review of the four M&V methods to aid you in selecting the right approach.

Topics: option c Energy m&V
4 min read

Measurement and Verification Option B

By Phil Zito on May 19, 2013 9:01:46 PM

Measurement and Verification Option B

 

Topics: Energy option b m&V
3 min read

Measurement and Verification Option A

By Phil Zito on May 19, 2013 8:57:31 PM

In my earlier post M&V Overview, I discussed that I would be creating posts centered around each of the M&V approaches. In this post, I will be writing an in depth review of Option A Measurement and Verification (M&V). You can expect to learn the following from this post. The layout of this post is going to be very similar to the other M&V posts, as it is my goal to give you an in-depth review of the four M&V methods to aid you in selecting the appropriate approach:

Topics: Energy option a m&V
2 min read

What is Measurement and Verification (M&V)

By Phil Zito on May 19, 2013 8:54:14 PM

The Definition

According to the Berkley Laboratory Measurement and Verification (M&V) is:

“M&V is the process of using measurement to reliably determine actual savings created within an individual facility by an energy management, energy conservation or energy efficiency project or program. As savings cannot be directly measured, the savings can be determined by comparing measured use before and after implementation of a project, making appropriate adjustments for changes in conditions.”

Topics: Energy m&V
3 min read

What is BACnet Part 4

By Phil Zito on May 10, 2013 9:19:01 AM

BACnet MSTP

This article is part of a four-part series on BACnet, you can access the other parts below:

Topics: BACnet Building Controls
4 min read

What is BACnet Part 3

By Phil Zito on May 10, 2013 8:52:06 AM

This article is part of a four-part series on What is BACnet, you can access the other parts below:

BACnet Part 1: BACnet Overview
BACnet Part 2: Communication 101
BACnet Part 4: BACnet/MSTP

BACnet is the most prevelant protocol in the building automation space but to many it is a six letter word that screams confusion! 

Topics: bacnet building automation systems Building Controls
4 min read

What is Bacnet Part 2

By Phil Zito on May 6, 2013 7:25:02 PM

BACnet Communications

This article is part of a four-part series on BACnet, you can access the other parts below:

BACnet Part 1: BACnet Overview
BACnet Part 3: BACnet/IP
BACnet Part 4: BACnet/MSTP

BACnet is the most prevelant protocol in the building automation space but to many it is a six letter word that screams confusion!

Topics: bacnet building automation systems Building Controls
2 min read

What is BACnet Part 1

By Phil Zito on May 6, 2013 12:11:26 PM

What is BACnet

This article is part of a four-part series on BACnet; you can access the other parts below:

Topics: bacnet building automation systems Building Controls
4 min read

Network Fundamentals

By Phil Zito on May 4, 2013 8:36:39 PM

Networks, they are the lifeline of modern systems and they are the bane of many owners and contractors! I'm not going to solve world hunger with this article but I will promise that you will leave here with a the Network Fundamentals that you need in order to do your job!

Topics: networks it Information Technology
2 min read

Proper Network Design Part 1

By Phil Zito on May 3, 2013 12:59:59 PM

Identifying Your Network Needs

When someone purchases an automobile, they usually do so to meet a specific need. The same is true with a network. This article gives you the top 5 areas to consider when performing network design:

Topics: network it Information Technology
7 min read

What is the TCP/IP Stack

By Phil Zito on May 3, 2013 11:28:06 AM

Topics: it Protocols Information Technology
5 min read

What is the OSI Model

By Phil Zito on May 3, 2013 11:20:48 AM

You most likely found my blog through Google Images looking for the OSI Model, after you are done reading through this article be sure to check out some of the other IT articles I have included just for you at the bottom of this article! Thanks for stopping by!

Topics: it OSI Model Information Technology