Managing energy in commercial properties is a tough proposition. BRE and ESTA’s latest guidance, ‘Energy Management and Building Controls,’ shows the essential role the right Building Management Systems (BMS) play.
Beyond the very simplest wins; cash savings on more efficient energy use, such systems will futureproof buildings against rising energy costs, mitigate carbon, create a better working environment and set an example to employees and competitors alike.
This truth is elaborated in the early pages of the report; ‘Building controls, whether stand-alone units or full Building Energy Management systems (BEMS), are designed to provide a comfortable climate for building occupants while ensuring this is delivered with the lowest possible energy consumption. Energy is 40% of the life costs and 50% of the running costs of a building.’
Despite these benefits, to the uninitiated, the range of BMS technology available, and the complexities of top end BMS use can be confusing. The BRE paper outlines some of the top issues, elements and advantages.
Top elements to consider when specifying your BMS
a) Know your occupancy patterns before you install
To achieve the best outcomes from a BMS, an understanding of the building’s occupancy patterns is key. The paper says: “knowledge of how the building is used improves the estimation of potential savings and, following installation, allows commissioning of the controls to fully realise the potential energy savings.”
b) Is future proofing possible?
Technology soon becomes dated; to ensure systems don’t become redundant they must be programmable. Programmable BMS technology can manage, plan and even forecast future changes to energy usage patterns and technological advances within the building.
c) Can you link your BMS with monitoring and targeting?
Energy monitoring and targeting is a critical part of every energy manager’s job role. The right BMS, can help energy management professionals interpret and use raw data on electricity, water, external heat and CO2 emissions.
d) Don’t forget an ongoing maintenance and bureau service
An expertly-managed BMS maintenance programme eliminates unforeseen costs and ensures peace of mind. Allied with the right BMS, that flags up maintenance issues early, poorly-functioning equipment that drives up energy bills and CO2 emissions can be improved or even replaced.
Remote bureau services, which encompass constant monitoring, expert hotline advice and technical expertise, can overwhelmingly pay for themselves by reducing the maintenance burden of estates departments.
The final word
‘Once you have addressed all the questions and issues, you are now ready to implement the strategy. It is a good idea to get expert help at this stage,’ advises the paper.
This is crucial; there are many issues to address when specifying the right system and level of BMS control. “BG Energy Solutions (BGES) is an open systems house, we are not tied to one BMS manufacturer, so we offer impartial advice, years of expertise and will strive to find the right solution for you,” explains Gareth Barber, Managing Director, BGES.
“BMS technology can be complicated. But whether you’re new to the process or have years of experience, the correct, well specified and up to the minute BMS can transform your energy usage and results. We are delighted to run through the options and opportunities with anyone seeking to learn more.”