Palestinian automation expert leads discussion on building management systems

Sari Saadeh, CEO and founder of Electra Control Systems, a leading Palestinian control and automation solutions provider, gave a lecture on building management systems for engineering majors at Birzeit University, on Saturday, November 17, 2018. 

In the lecture, organized by the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Saadeh introduced the attending students to concepts in building automation and its applications, such as monitoring and controlling ventilation, lighting, power systems, fire systems, and security systems across the whole building. 

Saadeh discussed with the students the terminology and industry jargon related to building management systems, which he noted was needed for interoperability across a range of global vendors, suppliers, and technicians. 

He mentioned control system concepts and architectures such as supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), programmable logic controllers, and energy management software.  Additionally, Saadeh emphasized the significance of centralized systems and electronic controls that allow instant monitoring and control of whole buildings. 

“Control and monitoring systems allow building supervisors to set in place rules that mitigate the dangers of disasters,” said Saadeh, giving an example of how control systems would react to a fire in a residential building. “In the event of a fire in an apartment, the fire suppression system would spray a fire-retardant material, and the HVAC [heating, ventilation, and air conditioning] system would stop the flow of fresh air in the room, while maintaining positive pressure in the rooms above and below to stop smoke from entering.” 

Saadeh also gave students a brief overview of the components of a typical building management system: Inputs, such as smoke detectors and temperature sensors; outputs, such as ventilation and heating systems; and networking modules, such as optical fiber cables.