Archive for April, 2018

Have you got an Energy Management System or a Strategy?

Posted on: April 25th, 2018 by Tom No Comments

Commercial buildings are becoming more and more sophisticated. More than just a building, they are dynamic entities with constantly changing occupancy and needs. Continuous improvement is pivotal to energy management and a long term reduction in usage. However, to achieve this, first real information is required…

Companies must first monitor and understand their energy usage in order to make informed decisions. Therefore, it is crucial to have access to building data to establish an effective control strategy that can be tested and implemented to maximise savings.

What is needed is an EMS which collects data from the building’s BMS and energy monitoring solution. A typical energy monitoring solution provides real time monitoring of energy and utilities and live data relating to energy consumption.

This can be achieved by linking an energy monitoring solution to the BMS via an interface, such as our very own SIPe IF-Log. This is an ideal solution as it effectively integrates the building systems such as HVAC and lighting with the information which is available from on-site meters to provide a single source of comprehensive data which can be properly analysed.

This analysis enables the building owner or manager to understand when, and how a building uses energy and subsequently develop a detailed energy reduction plan and target different parts of the network for improvement.

It is also possible with the right energy monitoring solution to analyse both current and historic trends in energy consumption which is useful for identifying anomalies, for example when plant is not operating efficiently or building occupants are not using energy responsibly.

Therefore, by combining a BMS and an energy monitoring solution with data analytics, a building owner or manager has easy access to highly useful performance data and can unlock a whole host of potential energy savings in a building.

Long term, detailed monitoring is fundamental in allowing an organisation to develop an energy reduction strategy. But it is also critical to encouraging behavioural changes, such as making building occupants think twice before turning the heating up…

With an EMS, building owners and managers can access building performance data with the use of an intuitive graphic ‘dashboard’ user interface. This allows key performance information to be presented in an easy-to-read format and enables comparisons to be made across different buildings in an estate. It is also extremely beneficial when it comes to assisting the decision-making process for major building improvements such as an update to HVAC plant or an investment in new lighting.

Furthermore, with one simple graphical interface, building owners and managers will be able to establish their baseline energy consumption and accurately track the return on investment (ROI) for each energy saving initiative. This is vital in achieving long term success.

Access to real-time data will also allow occupants to see how their behavioural changes affect the overall energy usage of a building. This is important as it provides the catalyst for behavioural change which motivates occupants to take ownership of their actions. By becoming energy conscious, occupants can make small adjustments to their everyday routine, such as turning lights off in a meeting room when it is not in use and so forth…ultimately this leads to a reduction in energy usage and cost savings.

Surely, if we going to monitor energy usage and collect the data, it makes sense to use this information to create a change in behaviour of building occupants?

Perhaps it’s time you took the next step and implemented an energy strategy in your building? Find out more with our CPD guide to the role of EMS or email us to discuss your requirements.

Synapsys Solutions join the BCIA

Posted on: April 23rd, 2018 by Tom No Comments

Synapsys are pleased to announce that we have become a member of the Building Controls Industry Association.

Synapsys have always believed in making our products and solutions simple to use, easy to apply and understand which aligns well with the BCIA’s overall aim of promoting better understanding, application and use of building controls.

In order to achieve this the BCIA works with other organisations and institutions such as BESA, ECA, CIBSE, BIFM, FETA and others to promote the interests of our members. The Association is also committed to promote higher standards among membership through discounts on the BCIA’s suite of six training courses and through the development of the Apprenticeship Standard for our sector.

To learn more about the BCIA and the work the association is doing, please click here


Why do I need an Energy Management System?

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by Tom No Comments

As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, there are a vast array of new technologies on the market. As a result, identifying the most efficient ways to run a commercial building can become somewhat challenging with so much choice…

Many buildings have a BMS in place which is great. However, what many building owners and managers fail to recognise is that the primary purpose of a BMS is the real control of the building’s plant. The systems are not capable of dealing with historic data or reporting and analysing data.

Therefore, a BMS is just the start of the journey in achieving energy efficiency. In order to make meaningful changes to a commercial building, which are sustainable over the long term, simply acquiring the data through the BMS is not enough. The data must be processed and interpreted to facilitate a change in behaviour and in turn energy savings.

An example of this would be to think of the BMS as the steering wheel which allows you to determine the direction of your car but you still need to make regular checks on the dashboard to ensure that everything is working correctly. Therefore, the EMS is the car dashboard which allows you to see all of the controls and accurately direct your car based on the information which you are given.

An EMS provides detailed analysis of this information in your commercial building. It is then presented in a clear and understandable format for the building owner or manager to determine and prioritise areas for future improvement.

By accessing this data, an effective control strategy can be tested and implemented to better understand energy consumption which is pivotal in maximising potential savings.

The key objective of an EMS is therefore to collect data from the building using an energy monitoring solution in order for the building owner or manager to understand when, and how a building uses energy and develop a detailed plan of action to reduce energy.

For building owners and managers who are unsure of which direction to take to sustainably reduce their energy costs, an EMS is the ideal solution because a visible and effective energy management strategy can only be introduced from gathering, analysing and using the information collected from your building.

So, instead of implementing one-off energy initiatives or upgrades, companies need to focus on sustaining and improving energy use over time and this requires continuous monitoring, analysis and reporting of building performance. By having access to such information within an EMS, it allows you to make informed decisions and decide on the next course of action.

Perhaps it’s time you took the next step into achieving energy efficiency and reduced costs in your commercial building by implementing an EMS. Find out more with our CPD guide to the role of EMS or email us to discuss your requirements.

Are you ready to take energy efficiency to the next level?

Posted on: April 4th, 2018 by Tom No Comments

In our earlier post we talked about the changes which the Heat Network (Metering & Billing) Regulations 2014 brought about in the commercial arena – if you missed this blog then click here.

It would be fair to say that the requirement for point of entry meters as a result of the Regulations and the consequent widespread introduction of automated billing solutions has been a real game changer and has really brought the issue of automated billing to the top of the agenda. It has been a long time coming but now that it is here it is making the job of landlord far easier because tenant invoices are now calculated using digitally collected data.

But whilst this is excellent for billing tenants for energy consumption in their own spaces, it still doesn’t answer the question of how to crack down on energy use in shared use spaces within commercial buildings – or to use the correct phrase – energy apportionment.

The concept of energy apportionment, whereby total energy usage in shared use spaces is disaggregated to attribute it to an individual occupant, is not a new thing, in fact, a manual version has been around for some time. The reason however that it is less well explored lies in the fact that it has previously been a manual process and thus the apportionment of energy based on actual usage has been neither quick nor easy and, in many cases, has been quite costly to perform.

So what is the difference now?

Quite simply, the mandatory requirements of the Heat Network (Metering & Billing) Regulations and the consequent widespread adoption of automated billing solutions have moved us on to the next step because these solutions provide one crucial element which is still absent in many buildings – the ability to apportion energy based on actual usage, quickly and easily.

Some people may question why it is so important to apportion the energy usage in shared use spaces but let’s suppose that there are two tenants in your building – one is a recruitment agency which is open 9-5 and the second is a call centre operating 24/7. If they both occupy the same floor space, under the traditional methods of billing for use of shared spaces, the agency will be charged the same as the call centre through the standard service charge – even though their usage of the spaces is 50% less. Understandably tenants have found this unreasonable.

This method also has a negative impact on energy efficiency because if tenants know they are going to be charged a set fee for the use of shared spaces, they have no desire to change their behaviour when using them and thus will probably continue to leave the lights on in toilets and kitchen areas.

The specification of energy apportionment in a building will allow the industry to address this issue and as a result tenants are able to ensure that they are only paying for the energy which they are actually using when they are in the building rather than the energy which their neighbours are using.

This is a far more reasonable billing solution for the tenants and will also allow the industry to take a step closer to meeting the requirements of the Heat Network (metering and billing) Regulations 2014.

More importantly it is now very achievable because many automated billing solutions, such as our own SIP Billing 2 offer automated apportionment based on a number of complex calculations as standard.

In theory energy apportionment is straightforward, and in many respects very easy to understand as a concept –it is still however a major change for the industry. But perhaps it is time to make that change because total visibility of costs is something that we need if we are to promote greater responsibility for energy usage.

If you’re ready to make that change click here to take the next step.