August 2015
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Specifying Sensors

Like any element of a control design, selecting the right sensors, and making sure that what is specified is being provided, helps assure a quality control installation.

Paul Ehrlich, Ira Goldschmidt & Angela Lewis
Building Intelligence Group

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Engineered Systems 
August Issue - BAS Column

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Sensors are a key part of any control system and have an impact on the cost, stability and accuracy of any control system.  But they are also something that frankly gets little attention as we design systems, develop specifications and write sequences. For many designers the sensor section sits in the back of the product area of the specification and may get little attention or changes from project to project. In general that is not all bad, but you should go back and periodically review your sensor specifications. 

Temperature Sensors:

The vast majority of sensors are used for temperature including zones, duct, pipe, and outdoor air.  Sensing technology for BAS is generally either an RTD (resistance to temperature device) or a Thermistor. While RTD’s are more linear and accurate, thermistors are generally less expensive and work just as well.  Key items to note when specifying:

CatNet SystemsOther sensors commonly specified include humidity, pressure, CO2, flow and occupancy.  Some key things to keep in mind on these sensors includes:

Like any element of a control design, selecting the right sensors, and making sure that what is specified is being provided, helps assure a quality control installation.


About the Authors
Paul and IraPaul and Ira first worked together on a series of ASHRAE projects including the BACnet committee and Guideline 13 – Specifying DDC Controls. The formation of Building Intelligence Group provided them the ability to work together professionally providing assistance to owners with the planning, design and development of Intelligent Building Systems. Building Intelligence Group provides services for clients worldwide including leading Universities, Corporations, and Developers. More information can be found at www.buildingintelligencegroup.com  We also invite you to contact us directly at Paul@buildingintelligencegroup.com or ira@buildingintelligencegroup.com


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