of Integrated UFAD Systems
Underfloor Plenum Layout
The level of technological integration established within a building management
system (BMS) plays an important role in determining a building's performance.
Although systems-integration can in theory simplify a building's operation, the
full benefits will only be realized following the implementation of a
well-designed strategy. In order to do this designers, facility managers, and
engineers need an understanding of the parameters of this new approach to the
control and management of building services.
The following sections provide an outline of various topics relevant to
integrated building systems in the context of the relationship between UFAD
systems, raised floors and cable management. In addition, the appendix offers
further information on specific issues such as cable distribution options,
modular cabling and systems integration.
The fast pace of workplace evolution in today’s office environment,
symbolized by high personnel- and equipment-churn rates, demands office
buildings with flexible spatial configurations and adaptable technological
infrastructure. It is becoming increasingly difficult for conventional,
centralized, mechanical and electrical systems to meet tenants’ demands for a
number of reasons, among them:
- frequent personnel restructuring,
- changing office tenants or multi-tenancies,
- variations in office hours,
- increased overtime occupancy, and
- regular technological upgrading or expansion.
For a typical office building, it is estimated that 45-50% of occupants will
change their location or require an upgrading of their computer and/or
telecommunications connections every year .
The advent of the Information Age resulted in the need for each and every
workstation to be equipped with access to computer and telecommunications power
sources and networks, often creating an unsightly abundance of cables, outlets
and extension cords.
The role of any building’s cabling infrastructure is to provide occupants
with voice, power and data connections capable of meeting not only present
requirements but also the inevitable yet unpredictable future equipment
upgrades, expansions and innovations. According to Moore’s Law the computing
power of microprocessors doubles every 18 months. Consequently, it is
difficult, if not impossible, to plan with any certainty the technological
restructuring a company will undergo over a period of, say, 5 years. It is
possible, however, to install a cabling distribution system whose inherent
flexibility and routing options provide the potential for accommodating such
Facility Managers look for economical, practical and aesthetic means of routing
cables throughout a building. Cable distribution options (see appendix) include
loose cabling, surface raceways or baseboards, overhead cable trays, poke-through’s,
and raised floors. Often a combination of methods may be utilized. In addition,
facility managers must also accommodate the ducts, grilles and other
air-distribution equipment related to a building’s HVAC system. When raised
floors are employed solely for cable management, thereby necessitating the
installation of a conventional ceiling-based air distribution system, floor to
ceiling heights, space planning and future maintenance are restricted by the
need to accommodate both an underfloor plenum and ceiling plenum within a
typical office floor.
Alternatively, consider the use of an underfloor air distribution (UFAD)
system. Integrating mechanical and electrical infrastructure within a single
underfloor plenum, readily accessible and adjustable via the raised access
floor system, offers advantages at all stages in a building’s life cycle,
from planning to construction to occupancy - most notably in the area of
Top of Page
Raised access floor systems consist of modular floor panels typically 600 mm
(24 in.) square, mounted on pedestals secured to the structural slab. The
height of the floor panels above the slab determines the plenum depth.
Installations devoted only to cable distribution could be as low as 75 mm (3
in.); when incorporating air distribution systems, typical plenum depths range
from 200 mm – 460 mm (8 in. – 18 in.).
Cables can be run in any direction within the plenum, either freely or
contained within flexible conduits (according to fire code requirements). At
various locations the cables are accessed via openings in the floor panels,
floor mounted terminal boxes, or are integrated within modular office
furniture. Raised access floor systems thus provide a multi-functional floor
plane with access to the telecommunications and HVAC connections necessary to
any workspace, without compromising the aesthetics of the finished-floor,
enabling a building’s infrastructure to be both versatile and visually
With the prevalence of speculative office buildings, a problem facing many
designers is how to ensure occupants’ needs are catered for when little or no
information is known about the future tenants. When assessing which cabling
system will best meet present and future tenant needs, facility
managers/building owners typically try to determine:
- Current network requirements
- A realistic estimate of future upgrading/expansion tenants will undertake
to incorporate new technology
- Changes in tenancy likely to occur in the foreseeable future, say 1-5
- the implications regarding tenants’ technological requirements.
The difficulty in resolutely answering any of the above highlights the need
for a building services infrastructure that is as adaptable as currently
Top of Page
Traditional cabling systems consist of fixed outlets, connections and long
cable runs for which changes usually involved contracting outside labor, and
considerable disruption within the workplace. Contemporary systems are much
more user friendly, such as the latest trend towards ‘modular cabling’
(also called universal, unified, or structured cabling) whereby all telecommunications
functions –power, data and audio/video- are contained within a single wiring
infrastructure. Vertical wiring runs from the main equipment room to satellite
rooms or closets serving each floor/zone. Horizontal cabling handles
transmissions between these closets and each individual workstation.
Modular cabling, particularly when installed within a raised floor system, is popular for offering improvements in building
operations efficiency, meeting tenants’ needs for advanced cabling and
owners’ interests in reasonable costs. All telecommunications services are
run within a modular cable unit and each outlet offers the option of access to
any combination of power, data and audio/video. In terms of efficiency and
low-cost operation or maintenance, when modular cabling is installed as part
of a raised floor system in-house personnel using simple tools and
standardized connector pieces can easily carry out reconfiguration. The process
of removing/replacing carpet tiles and floor panels is a relatively ‘dry
construction’ requiring no repair paintwork or plastering and can be carried
out by in-house personnel, avoiding the need to hire professional labor. In
addition, day-to-day business suffers minimum interruption as the process can
be carried out quickly and cleanly.
In comparison to conventional loose cabling the first costs of raised floors
–in terms of cable management only- are likely to be higher. However, in the
face of today’s high churn rates where the ability to rapidly upgrade
technology and re-route cable networks is both necessary and expensive,
investing in a higher-cost system which offers maximum flexibility and
minimizes the frequency of required system upgrades can be the most
cost-effective option in the long term. Beyond the basic wiring requirements,
it is estimated that every $1 of additional expense, in the name of additional
flexibility, will translate into a $5 savings over the building’s life cycle
. As an example, a case study carried out in 1999 by Carnegie Mellon
University reported that although the first costs of an UFAD system (including
raised floor) were $0.27/ft2 greater than a ceiling based poke-through
system, savings at first churn with the UFAD system were estimated as $4.66/ft2, significantly overriding any initial expense .
Top of Page
Cable management is not the only area in which facility managers seek to
optimize financial investments. Many of the occupancy-related demands placed
on, say, a lighting system are similar to those of the HVAC and security
systems. In fact, maximizing overall building performance is the facility
manager’s aim, and the driving force behind the increase in integrated
building systems – a recent survey among members of the building industry
showed 75% of building owners had impending projects incorporating systems
Based on the premise that the ability to control and monitor building systems
from any point within the overall network is the key to peak operation
performance and efficiency, systems integration (see appendix) establishes a
means of electronic communication between the numerous systems, and their
control mechanisms, in a building. This involves an understanding of how
information from one source can benefit the performance of another (security
sensors activating the lighting network, for example) and the ability to
recognize common parameters in the operation of the different systems.
Raised access floor systems offer the perfect opportunity for integration by
providing, for the most part, an unrestricted plenum zone capable of
accommodating a variety of building services and components. In a survey of the
top ten systems building owners and managers generally integrate first, HVAC
was the most popular, chosen by 91% of respondents, and electrical
monitoring/management came in third, after fire safety, with a 50% scoring.
These choices are logical considering the similarities in parameters for the
flow of conditioned air and the flow of electronic information around a
building. Both involve a distribution network, running from supply to user that
needs to be as cost effective, efficient and versatile as possible. In the same
way that each workspace is equipped with access to voice, power and data
outlets, localized distribution of conditioned air –particularly when
occupants are given individual control of the air supply to their own
workspace- can be a highly valued component of modern office environments.
Underfloor air distribution (UFAD) systems make use of raised floors to provide
an accessible and adjustable HVAC network that shares its distribution space
with a cable management network, thus reducing the problems of accommodating
both separately. There are many benefits associated with integrating
occupant-controlled infrastructure within one accessible zone, potentially
reducing the first costs of the air distribution systems, for example, as the
floor plenum will already be required for cable management purposes and is thus
not solely an HVAC expense. In terms of space planning such integration
simplifies the job of the architect traditionally faced with reconciling the
numerous grids of components in a typical office building, from HVAC grilles to
The most significant advantages of integration become apparent during a
workplace’s first churn, when the high level of coordination and
compatibility of various systems’ networks noticeably reduces costly
Top of Page
Rather than surrendering interior design intentions to the parameters of a
pre-determined building services layout, the flexibility of an integrated
underfloor plenum allows the layout of floor diffusers and cable outlets to be
determined once an office furniture configuration has been decided upon.
Furthermore, in the same way as the location of present day furniture
assemblies is rarely considered immovable or permanent, initial diffuser
layouts can be easily altered in future reconfigurations.
The removal/insertion/relocation of a floor diffuser is a simple process
involving the removal of carpet tiles and a floor panel –using a suction
grip, or similar tools- and the laying down of an alternative panel and
corresponding carpet tile (i.e. with or without a diffuser aperture). Since the
majority of carpet manufacturers rely on adhesives to secure their tiles to the
floor surface, some problems may be encountered if a tile is repeatedly pulled
up and reaffixed.
Research by CBE  has shown that, given the uniformity of air flow delivered
through floor outlets within any particular zone served by a pressurized UFAD
system, when one or two floor panels are removed temporarily for
repair/relocation work the reduction in air flow to other diffusers in the same
zone is acceptable -providing the process of removing/replacing diffusers and
floor panels takes a short amount of time, which is usually the case. In
addition, the same amount of air is entering the overall zone, whether through
the open floor panels, or diffusers within the same zone.
When properly coordinated, reconfiguration creates little waste. Carpet tiles
and floor panels from a modular system, consisting of different unit types
(with or without diffuser apertures) of a standard dimension, are easily
interchangeable. A typical office may be equipped with a number of floor panels
and carpet tiles, with diffuser-sized apertures, ready to be moved around and
placed among the standard units where required.
As with many nascent technologies or systems there is also the risk of misuse
that may override any potential benefits. Only when tenants and facility
managers have awareness and understanding of the parameters of the modular
floor system can scenarios be avoided such as holes being randomly cut in
carpet tiles, or furniture being placed directly over a diffuser. Many
disadvantages cited in relation to UFAD systems arise due to a lack of
(i) Different components:
misalignment of the carpet tile and floor panel grids resulting in the need for
oddly cut carpet pieces when diffusers are relocated.
(ii) Tenants and facility managers:
office furniture moved haphazardly without consideration of diffuser locations.
Experiments carried out by CBE on the effects of varying plenum design
configurations on the performance of pressurized plenums , have shown that
while increasing the number of outlets in a single zone can be expected to
improve the uniformity of air flow distribution, a 50% reduction in the number
of outlets causes no significant degradation in performance. It should be
stressed, however, that for optimal operation of any UFAD system, office
reconfigurations must take into consideration the resulting overall pattern of
diffuser locations, particularly when operating partitioned-plenum
Integrating the distribution of conditioned air and voice/power/data within the
underfloor plenum optimizes use of the floor area and minimizes the depth of
plenum needed above the drop ceiling. In some cases ceiling plenums can be
eliminated altogether when an alternative means of removing return air from the
space is provided, such as return grilles located at a high level on internal
walls. Architecturally, this provides a greater opportunity to utilize the
ceiling plane for creative lighting (natural or artificial) effects and other
space-enhancing devices. Architects and tenants also have more freedom in terms
of planning the workplace without the restriction of ceiling grille locations.
Consideration must still be given to other issues such as lighting layouts, and
the proximity of return air grilles to high heat sources –yet with successful
systems integration, a single design solution will address many problems
Top of Page
Underfloor Plenum Layout
In addition to reducing the restrictions conventionally placed on office
layouts, by allowing air to circulate freely through a plenum, whether over an
entire floor area or within defined interior and perimeter zones, most UFAD
systems offer a high degree of freedom in planning air distribution routes.
Ceiling-based systems often require that ducts navigate around, or through,
structural beams for example. Underfloor plenums are spatially structured, or
divided, by the access floor pedestals and any necessary partitions. In systems
with a supply duct running from the core to perimeter zones for example, linear
ducting can easily run through the regular pedestal grid. In certain cases
where ducts are larger than 600 mm (24 in.), and thus too broad to fit within
the grid spacing, some pedestals can be removed and a horizontal bridge device
installed in their place, freeing up more space and providing support to the
access floor panels above. However, this expensive solution can generally be
avoided with proper coordination of access floor- and UFAD-component sizes.
Consideration of the pedestal grid dimensions at an early stage in planning and
construction is a necessity.
As previously mentioned, the key to efficient, cost effective building services
is integration -the ability for one system to accommodate another without
impeding the performance of either. Trying to route a number of services to the
same place, a workstation in this case, may result in solid obstructions within
the plenum such as fan terminal units, or devices serving the cable management
network. Experiments carried out by CBE  have found that pressurized plenums
with at least 75 mm (3 in.) of clear space for air flow, in addition to the
space required for other elements such as cable runs, are capable of
maintaining a uniform distribution of airflow to diffusers, in a 300 m2 (3,200
ft2) zone. In situations where obstructions leave as little as 38 mm (1.5 in.)
clear space above them, the risk of disrupting airflow is minimal providing the
overall plenum depth is at least 180 mm (7 in.).
Typical plenum heights for UFAD applications are 200 mm – 460 mm (8 in. –
18 in.). This exceeds the required plenum height when raised floors are used
solely for the purposes of cable management. However, as mentioned previously,
by placing the air distribution system in the underfloor zone and reducing the
need for deep ceiling ductwork associated with conventional ceiling-based
systems, new build projects can achieve a 5-10% reduction in floor-to-floor
heights, resulting in considerable savings in materials, construction costs and
project time. Or, for the same overall floor-to-floor as conventional
buildings, a greater floor-to-ceiling clear height can be achieved. Both
options offer cost benefits related to the specific characteristics of a
project, and highlight a significant feature of UFAD installations, namely
versatility in application.
Top of Page
Many of the advantages of both raised floors and, by extension, UFAD arise from
the characteristics of the modular components involved. From pedestal spacing
to carpet tile sizes, coordination between the various parameters is less
complicated when design decisions are made with respect to the various modular
dimensions involved, particularly when these dimensions are equal to, or
multiples of, each other. In buildings with orthogonal floor plans this task is
straightforward, non-orthogonal plans may require a number of custom sized
panels or tiles at certain locations.
Modular systems have the greatest potential for facilitating quick
modifications within an office environment. These modifications typically fall
into the following categories:
1. Spatial Configuration
Changes in office hierarchy, layout or number of personnel may necessitate a
rearrangement of workstations. Responding to new layouts of furniture simply
requires substituting one type of floor panel (with floor diffuser/cable
outlet) for another (without), as all panels will be of the same modular
dimensions. Provisions should then be made for connecting into the nearest run
of cables if the panel in question contains an information outlet. In plenums
with fan terminal units the zoning layout should be consulted in order to
maintain an even distribution of diffusers within that particular zone.
2. Load Distribution
The addition of equipment or an increase in occupancy -both of which constitute
heat sources- within any defined office zone will increase the demand for
cooling in the proximity and may require additional floor diffusers. To
increase the amount of air delivered to that zone standard floor panels could
be replaced by diffuser-equipped panels placed in suitable locations (i.e. at
an acceptable distance from occupants and unobstructed by furniture). UFAD
systems employing fan terminal units may require minor adjustments to maintain
a minimum airflow rate to all diffusers. Facility managers may wish to stock a
surplus number of carpet tiles that are pre-cut with diffuser apertures for the
purpose of meeting future reconfigurations involving an expansion in the total
number of outlets required in the office space.
3. Occupant Preference
The ability to accommodate varying occupant preferences is a key characteristic
of UFAD systems. In addition to the option of adjusting the airflow rate, a
person may request that a diffuser be located closer to/farther from their
workstation locale. As described above for spatial configuration changes, this
procedure involves removing the carpet tiles and floor panel at the location in
question, and replacing them with an alternative panel and tiles. For example,
if an occupant requests that a diffuser be moved closer to their workstation, a
standard panel is removed and replaced by a panel fitted with a diffuser
aperture. Once the diffuser components are installed, a carpet tile, cut
according to the location of the diffuser, is placed as the finished floor
surface and surrounding tiles are reaffixed. Consideration may need to be given
to the location of plenum partitions, VAV boxes and the overall distribution of
diffusers within a particular zone.
When carpet tiles form the finished floor surface of a raised access floor
system the issue of coordinating the modular sizes and grid dimensions of floor
panels and carpet tiles must be addressed. Some manufacturers provide a
composite unit of floor panel-plus-carpet tile so architects need only work
with one modular dimension, as pedestal spacing is a function of the floor
panel size. As components can be ordered on a supply-on-demand basis this
potentially reduces material waste. When additional diffusers need to be
installed, floor-and-panel composites can be ordered instead of necessitating
the cutting of holes in existing carpet tiles that may later become redundant
when, say, following a future reconfiguration new diffuser locations do not
match those of the present.
However, the majority of UFAD installations comprise floor panel and carpet
components from separate manufacturers. As floor panels are typically 600 mm
(24 in.) and carpet tiles 450 mm (18 in.) or 900 mm (36 in.), this raises the
question of whether carpet joints and floor panel joints should align where
possible, or be consistently staggered. Differences in opinion exist, yet many
UFAD system installers recommend staggering joints between the two surfaces to
avoid problems with uplift.
Top of Page
In summary, raised floors offer a cost-effective means of addressing the key
factors characterizing 21st century workplaces, namely the need for an
infrastructure flexible enough to meet high churn rates in our multi-tenant,
multi-technology environments where the pace of future expansion is guaranteed,
yet the nature of the expansion unpredictable. When properly coordinated and
factored into decisions at the design, construction and occupancy stages,
integrating cable management and air distribution services within the plenum of
a raised access floor can increase the potential versatility of a workplace;
and the ability to quickly meet occupant preferences contributes to a more
dynamic work environment at all levels.
Top of Page
Summarized below are a number of options for power and communications
distribution in both new-build and retrofit projects. Often a combination of
methods forms the overall cable management system in order to overcome the
particular limitations of each.
Raised Floor Systems
The most flexible and versatile option in terms of unrestricted routing,
potential for reconfiguration and ease of accessibility. Cables are run freely
through the plenum created between a structural slab and raised access floor
installation. Each workstation can connect into the cable network either via
outlet boxes flush-mounted into floor panels, or openings provided in selected
floor panels that enable cables to extend up to outlets integrated within
modular furniture systems. Raised access floor systems accommodating modular cabling networks are the best example of a cabling innovation with the ability
to support the multi-vendor, multi-technology infrastructure demanded by
present day workplace environments. See modular cabling for more
Consideration should be given to the structural, spatial, and visual impact of
any cable distribution option. Factors influencing one of these parameters will
undoubtedly have consequences for the others.
Cables (copper/fiber optic) are routed to workstations through wall and ceiling
cavities. Although the least expensive option on a first cost basis, changing
cable routes, increasing the number of cables, or carrying out maintenance work
is disruptive both to the building’s structure and occupants. In the event of
a faulty connection or cable breakage, tracing cables along their route can be
difficult due to their concealment within the building’s cavities. This
problem is compounded by the high risk of physical damage to the unsupported
cables that must run around structural members and sharp corners, resulting in
poor data transmission performance.
In retrofit projects where there is a lack of space for accommodating the
components of ceiling- or floor-based ducting, loose cabling may be a feasible
option, providing the structural intrusion of routing through cavities can be
A commonly used system whereby cable trays installed in the ceiling plenum are
used to distribute cabling from telecommunications closets to workstations
throughout an office floor or zone. At required locations a vertical conduit
brings cables from the trays down to workstation outlet boxes. When properly
designed, in terms of routing and sizing, cable trays can accommodate potential
re-routing and upgrading, and their location above a removable-tile drop
ceiling system facilitates access for maintenance. Disadvantages include the
need to accommodate vertical conduits at workstations, and the need for a clear
space of 200-300 mm (8-12 in.) above the ceiling plane.
As an alternative to concealing cabling in the ceiling/underfloor plenum,
surface raceways are conduits installed around the perimeter of defined
workspaces; affixed to a building’s external or internal walls for example.
Although the cabling, and associated components, within raceways are
accessible, and relatively inexpensive to install, routing options are limited
to the location of walls. Workstations at a distance from the perimeter zone
must rely on an alternative means of distribution to be connected to the cable
network. Some modular furniture systems incorporate provisions for integrating
cables within their partitions or desk units for example. Consideration should
also be given to minimizing the visual and spatial impact of the raceways.
In this system, cabling serving a particular floor runs within the ceiling
plenum of the floor below. Where required, penetrations are made through the
structural slab enabling the cables to enter the workspace for connections. Due
to the significant structural implications associated with drilling through the
floor slab, and the disruption caused to occupants of the floor below when
accessing the cabling (implying this system is not so feasible for multi-tenant
buildings), reconfiguration can be costly and complicated. When locating points
of penetration, consideration must also be given to maintaining the structural
integrity of the slab.
Described as a multi-vendor, multi-technology infrastructure, modular cabling installations can accommodate multiple cable systems comprising
different media –voice, power and data- and originating from different
manufacturers. The result is, effectively, a platform, or framework, upon which
the building’s technological infrastructure is formed.
Typical installations comprise three basic cabling components: riser cabling,
workstation cabling, and, in a campus environment, outside plant cabling; and
are subject to industry standards regulating performance- and
physical-characteristics. For example, distinguishing between these three cable
routes, and types, enables the infrastructure system to comply with standard
ANSI/EIA/TIA-568-A Commercial Building Telecommunications Wiring Standard,
which restricts the distance between active equipment (PCs and network
equipment, for example) to a maximum of 90 m (295 ft) for copper cabling .
System Layout and Components
Network equipment is housed in telecommunications closets (TCs), which are
distributed around a building according to the particular zoning or
organization of the cable management system. A central TC is designated as the
main distribution point, and is connected to all other secondary TCs by
copper/fiber optic backbone cabling, also known as riser, or vertical, cabling.
This results in a star-shaped, or ‘star-wired’, network with the central TC
forming a nucleus from which backbone cabling radiates outwards.
From each secondary TC, horizontal cabling transmits information to and from
information outlets, the points of communication for cabling in the proximity
of each workstation. Patch cable assemblies –cables with connectors attaching
equipment at workstations to information outlets- facilitate easy technological
reconfigurations or equipment additions at a later stage. By linking each workstation back to a main distribution TC, all equipment
located within the system is effectively interconnected, improving both
communication between devices, and overall system management.
In addition, each information outlet can be separately reconfigured from a
central location, in terms of the media connections offered, without disrupting
other outlets within the entire system. This reduces the downtime (time during
which office functions may need to be suspended) typically experienced in
offices at great expense.
The key to an effective modular cabling system is the implementation of a
good cable management strategy. At this stage, once the cable wiring structure
has been defined –location of main distribution points, TCs and cable routes-
the specific requirements tenants will place on the user systems should be
identified. All cables are categorized relative to their cable bandwidth per
distance, a measure of how much information a particular cable can carry. For
example category 3, sufficient for voice-grade applications, has the capacity
of a bandwidth up to 16 MHz; category 5 is the most common (bandwidths up to
100 MHz) or 5E, a non-standard category, is used for bandwidths up to 200 MHz
and distances over 100 m (328 ft).
To maintain the level of communications performance specified by the cables,
cable connections and terminating devices should have an equivalent rating.
ANSI/EIA/TIA (the bodies regulating commercial building telecommunications)
require that each workstation be supplied with at least two telecommunications
cables, whose specific categories are also regulated by standards. In this way
every workstation will support the most fundamental and commonly used
telecommunications applications -such as voice and data for example.
Integration is a means of optimizing overall building performance by monitoring
and controlling a range of building systems and functions that effectively
communicate with each other to ensure a high level of operational quality and
efficiency. For example, a security system may be linked to:
a time-of-day schedule, to allow entry at specific times
the building maintenance system (BMS), to turn on the HVAC once occupants have
electronic building usage records, for monitoring tenancy/occupancy.
There are many different modes of systems integration, the fundamental
requirement being the ability to establish communications between the different
devices and controls comprising a building’s services. This communication can
be set up in a number of ways, for example:
Control devices transmitting data electronically within their system.
Control devices transmitting data electronically to other systems within the
Hard-wired connections, a very common method of linking data from different
building systems within a central BMS.
Building systems operating independently but communicating electronically with
a common BMS. This is a popular option in today’s buildings following the
introduction of BMS-software packages.
Building systems electronically communicating information to the entire
controls network, exemplifying the highest level of ‘integration’. This
option developed following networking innovations in the building industry, and
offers the greatest potential for future expansion.
One of the key components of an effective BMS is that of building operation
monitoring. The benefits of implementing an integrated building system are
Single, user-friendly interface. Any number of systems within the BMS network
can be accessed via a single interface. Simplifying the time and level of
expertise needed to operate the network can result in increased productivity
and reduced training costs.
Centralized monitoring. Centralizing the controls and operational information of the many systems
comprising the BMS enables comprehensive monitoring, and analysis at the
general level of energy usage and/or, more specifically, parameters such as
operational temperatures, for example.
Lower maintenance and repair costs. System-wide monitoring enables breakdowns and operational faults to be quickly
identified, and diagnosed, reducing office downtime due to failure of any
A recent survey among members of the building industry showed 75% of building
owners had impending projects incorporating systems integration .
In addition, an integrated BMS brings many qualitative benefits to the
workplace, such as:
- Improved BMS monitoring.
- Reducing both major system breakdowns and periods during which the
workplace experiences sub-standard operation of various building services.
- Centralized and coordinated programming.
- Synchronizing the operation and control of different systems for maximum
effect with minimum effort -for example, time of day-based lighting and HVAC
- All of the above, both qualitative and quantitative, contribute to
improving the satisfaction and comfort of both occupants and owners.
Top of Page
Piper, J., P.E., PhD. 1999. “Winning the information race.” Building
Operating Management Online.
 Germershausen, M. 2000. “Wired for success.” Buildings vol. 94, No. 7,
July pp. 53-58.
 Loftness, V., and P. Matthew. 1999. “Sustainable development alternatives
for speculative office buildings: A case study of the soffer tech office
building”. Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics, Carnegie Mellon
University, Pittsburgh, PA.
 BOMA International Foundation, 2000. “Integrated systems: Increasing
building and workplace performance.” Buildings vol.94, NO. 4, April.
 Bauman, F., P. Pecora, and T. Webster. 1999. “How low can you go?” Air
flow performance of low-height underfloor plenums. Center for the Built
Environment, University of California, Berkeley CA.
 Viszoki, J.S., 1998."Designinga path to the future. "Building
Operating Management Online. The standard referred to is ANSI/EIA/TIA-568-A
Commercial Building Telecommunications Wiring Standard.