Carefully-specified building management systems can have a dramatic impact on the energy efficiency of modern buildings – and the good news is that an increasing number of businesses are now catching on to the benefits.
Investing in efficient technology is a core part of energy management. But while overhauling individual systems, such as lighting and heating can certainly make an important contribution, it is through the implementation of fully integrated building management systems (BMS) that companies can begin to achieve the greatest possible savings.
One size does not fit all
When beginning to think about BMS, it is vital to remember that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ approach. Solutions must be appropriate to the size, scale and operational nature of the building. For some small businesses, it may be that implementing sophisticated energy management simply isn’t practical or cost-efficient.
But for businesses operating on a grander scale, many other elements – including chillers, boilers and split unit air-conditioning in medium-sized premises, to full-scale heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems in large buildings – have to be taken into account. Optimising these systems can most effectively be achieved by comprehensive BMS installations.
The complexity of a BMS in any given location will inevitably be determined by the nature of the building, but in basic terms such systems will generally encompass: sensors, actuators and controllers; software, including programs set up to deliver the control strategy; a network or networks; interfaces with other systems such as utility meters, lighting, fire alarms and security technology; and end-user access via web browser or operator touch-screen.
Greater control and visibility of energy use
The result of this kind of integrated approach is a far greater level of functionality that would be offered by manual or discrete controls. In addition to collecting extensive data relating to energy consumption, a BMS makes it possible to set temperature and humidity in various zones, establish different time schedules, and achieve specific control of functions including lighting, ventilation, hot water, security and more.
Ultimately, this means that energy is only used where and when it is required. In addition, as the usage patterns of a building change in response to new workloads or responsibilities, adjustments to the configuration can be made in a few clicks. Over the longer-term, the data collated by the BMS can be used to track the energy consumption of a business – and allow it to budget effectively for the future so that there is a much-diminished risk of incurring unexpectedly high energy bills.
The right time to invest
There is no doubt that the migration towards BMS being a commonplace choice for medium and large buildings is now firmly underway. The fact that system prices have come down significantly is clearly a spur to action here, and here at Priva we now offer a wide range of cost-effective packages, including Blue ID, TC Energy and a cloud-based solution powered by Microsoft Azure.
In recent months we have also made a contribution to the general debate taking place around energy management. Available now to download free from the Priva website, the fully updated version of our White Paper, entitled ‘Taking a Structured Approach to Energy Management’, outlines the path that can be taken to overcome the systematic energy waste that drives up CO2 emissions and energy bills – a route that has BMS as one of the primary destinations.