Research: What do you need to know about HVAC and BAS?

Energy efficiency improvements were a big driver for consulting engineers when specifying HVAC and BAS for building clients

By Consulting-Specifying Engineer May 4, 2022
In the past 18 months, the following features have grown in importance for smart HVAC and BAS. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying Engineer

The HVAC Equipment & Building Automation/Control Systems study was conducted by Consulting-Specifying Engineer to identify the buying and specifying habits of building professionals involving HVAC and BAS products.

When asked in late January and early February 2022, 163 people participated. The sample for this study was selected from qualified subscribers of Consulting-Specifying Engineer with valid email addresses who personally select, specify or design HVAC systems and/or BAS in new construction or modernization projects.

The majority of respondents were engineers (45%) and about half (53%) are senior administration or upper management staff. Half of respondents work for consulting engineering firms.

The survey touched on smart HVAC and BAS, which are important in many buildings, especially as it relates to COVID-19. A smart building project leverages data from one historically siloed system to another siloed system to create new and useful insights, savings, efficiencies and other use cases. If an organization’s business and building’s systems become integrated, the smart buildings project will create the greatest economic impact.

Sixty-one percent of respondents specify smart HVAC or BAS; 36% have been specifying smart systems more in the past 18 months than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those who said “yes,” 36% have been specifying more smart systems recently.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, energy efficiency improvements have increased substantially in importance for smart HVAC and BAS; other features that have grown in importance include interconnectivity with other systems, scheduling and convenience and owner/user understanding and desires.

In the past 18 months, the following features have grown in importance for smart HVAC and BAS. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying Engineer

How do engineers find the right HVAC, BAS information?

When researching and specifying HVAC equipment and building automation/control systems, the average engineer spends 33% of their time researching vendors on their own, 24% evaluating vendors after speaking with their representatives, 18% sending proposal-like requests for information and 25% writing the specification.

The research and evaluation process is typically 5 months, on average, before engineers specify a new (i.e., never specified) HVAC product or BAS. Seven percent of respondents indicated they only specify products with which they are familiar.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, more than half of respondents report no change to their research and evaluation process.