BAS Control of VAV Labs

Glenn Friedman, Taylor Engineering

Controls for variable air volume (VAV) laboratory supply and exhaust systems have traditionally been separate from the primary building automation system (BAS). This was necessary in the early days of VAV labs when the control systems were analog and/or pneumatic, but it has continued even after these systems converted to modern digital control systems in the late 1990s. Controls have been marketed as a package along with the air valves (VAV damper systems) used for supply and exhaust airflow modulation. This results in two separate control systems: the lab controls for labs and the BAS for everything else, including non-lab zones, air handlers, heating and cooling plant, etc. This presentation will discuss how to use the BAS to do all controls, allowing dedicated lab controls to be eliminated, saving costs and reducing coordination issues.

Learning Objectives

  • explain the different methods for variable air volume (VAV) laboratory airflow control;
  • explain the different methods for proper VAV fume hood airflow control;
  • identify the differences between "Fast Lab" control and "Slow Lab" control; and
  • explore the pros and cons of using a separate dedicated DDC lab control system versus using the overall building automation system to serve lab controls functions.


Glenn Friedman is a Principal at Taylor Engineering in Alameda, California. Glenn has a bachelor's degree in engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He is an expert in low energy HVAC design, controls and commissioning, with over 37 years of experience. Glenn is an ASHRAE Fellow and has been involved with ASHRAE at both the national and local level. He was also a past national chair of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) organization.


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