Building energy management systems
Building Energy Management Systems are a computer-based approach to measuring, monitoring and managing the performance of building services, such as heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, lighting and security. A BEMS coordinates the operation of various systems in the building such as boilers, air handing units, fans and others. It gathers data from sensors such as light detectors or sensors that track occupancy, temperature, pressure, humidity or occupation within occupied areas of the building to create and retain a comfortable indoor environment.
What can a building energy management system do?
Because the BEMS can control this wide range of equipment, they can also make an important contribution to increased energy efficiency and reduced operating costs for buildings. This is particularly true if information from meters for electricity, gas, water and other utilities is fed into the BEMS. In this way, the BEMS monitors how much energy is being used. The system can also reduce energy consumption by turning down or turning off equipment that is not required.
These systems allow easier operation of buildings because facilities managers have access to user interfaces. These include PCs, laptops and hand-held devices that can give them information on building performance in usable formats such as graphs, charts and reports.
Installation of a Building Management System has a huge range of application, which includes:
- An integral system for buildings to link systems and meet necessary building regulations and requirements
- A means to managing energy and to apply advanced control processes
- Linked to your hardware and software systems for centralised control of a building
It is also possible to monitor buildings remotely through web-based BEMS technology, for example; tracking and comparing energy use across national retail outlets from a central office. Adjustments can also be made remotely, for example; to occupancy profiles or set-points for temperatures.
If you are a building contractor, you will know that building energy management systems are now being considered for most projects with mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. Systems linked to a BMS, typically represent 40% of a building’s energy usage and if lighting is included, can be nearer 70%. As such, it is essential that these systems are managed correctly.
In addition to controlling the building’s internal environment, BMS is being linked to access control and other security systems, such as CCTV and motion detectors. Fire alarm systems and elevators can now also become integral to a BMS.
The integration of these various parts of an intelligent building, will have a significant impact on building operations and costs. If we consider that the building monitoring and control devices are just communications devices we can integrate systems at various levels, the bottom level being the cabling system and highest being the application.
One of the most promising network technologies in this respect is an IP addressable system operated through your current network. A single network for operation of technical systems and data exchange between equipment benefits both its management and installation. Distances and multi-site buildings become irrelevant. Once the data enters the network, the distance problems are solved elsewhere via cable, satellite or wireless. Internet technology ensures the flexibility and reliability of information transfers. There is no requirement for routers, i.e. connection boxes, to be configured to link networks together and communication is possible between all users and all equipment within a building.