Domotics enables to transform conventional buildings into smart or intelligent buildings. Within the field of domotics, we can refer to building automation, which is the set of technologies used and applied to control and automate in a smart way non-residential buildings, such as hotels, shopping centres and hospitals, making it possible to manage the energy and resources being disposable in the most efficient manner. This system also enables to increase security and comfort, as well as the communication between users and the employed systems.

New automation and control systems, also known for its abbreviation in English as BAC (Building Automation Control), fulfil thanks to their control functions, energy savings in HVAC and lighting systems, amongst others, increasing the efficiency of these appliances and reducing CO2 emissions and other particles harmful to the environment.

Derived from the high potential this modern technology displays, the European healthcare sector is incorporating it into its facilities, aiming to optimise the useful lifecycle of the appliances of medical use and reduce energy consumption, thus making their management much more intelligent.

Benefits of building automation

Besides optimising the use of the facilities and reducing energy consumption, building automation expects to enhance users’ comfort and increase safety, by improving the communication between the user and the system.

Increase in comfort

  • Building automation systems enable to adapt lighting and temperature conditions to the inner and outer conditions of the building, enhancing users’ comfort in a remarkable way. 
  • Besides adapting temperature and luminosity, the volume and temperature of the flow water level at the taps is adapted as well, being activated by means of motion sensors. This system enables to save great amounts of water since it prevents people from leaving the water tap running due to inattention.
  • Building automation can also control the automatic doors opening and closing systems. There is a great amount of automatic doors in hospitals that divide the different existing areas: entrances, operating theatre areas, radiology rooms, intensive care rooms, kitchen, emergency exits, etc. Automatic doors play a prominent role in those buildings, not only to ease personnel’s and patients’ mobility, but also to mark out certain areas preventing possible diseases from spreading or flames in a kitchen fire, for instance, from spreading to other hospital areas. Through the use of automatic doors, users’ comfort, safety and accessibility However, the most relevant aspect is that electrical energy use decreases in a very significant way because heat and cold temperature exchanges between the interior of the facilities and the outside are avoided, or between the interior and the exterior of the operating theatres, where air pressure differentials need to be constant, and so in need of making less use of heating and cooling appliances.
  • Security. Building automation systems are able to determine users’ location, creating a medical alarm if needed. They also constitute an essential aspect of remote medical video assistance, notifying healthcare personnel when they ought to go to the sick person’s house as soon as possible. Another benefit regarding security is that this system enables to detect intruders, warning the authorities and guaranteeing users’ safety in hospital centres. They can also pinpoint emerging fires, gas leaks and possible water leaks, being able to contain all these issues at their early stages (by opening or closing automatic doors and windows automatically, for instance), and avoiding a catastrophe within possible reach.
  • Communication. Building automation is also characterised mainly by intercommunication between all systems and devices, as well as user’s communication with the system thanks to the vast data collection performed day after day.
  • Energy savings and sustainability. Thanks to centralization and the exhaustive control of all electrical systems and appliances, one can achieve high energy savings, particularly regarding lighting and HVAC systems. Smart systems can become adapted to environmental conditions, managing electric power systems in hospitals in the most efficient way. By using less electrical energy, the emission of polluting agents into the atmosphere decreases, enhancing in turn the quality of every citizen’s life.

Building automation can become adapted to hospitals infrastructure, improving the quality of the facilities themselves, as well as users’ comfort, always under the premise of energy conservation.

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