A Building Management System alone is not enough to reduce your building’s energy consumption

Perhaps it’s time you moved towards better energy management with SIPinsight EBIS

Commercial buildings are dynamic entities with constantly changing occupancy and needs. Managing the building’s energy consumption therefore requires continuous improvement – but in order to achieve this real information is required. The widespread adoption of Building Management Systems (BMS) in commercial buildings has for a long time been considered as the route to achieving energy efficiency. This is true in some respects because a BMS that is well designed, installed and commissioned can be invaluable in ensuring that all of the building services are integrated to operate in the most efficient manner possible. However, although a building with a BMS will acquire data, the BMS is really only responsible for running the plant.

In practice, not all BMS operate efficiently all of the time. When they are first installed, and assuming they have been commissioned well, they are using the most up to date information… but a building changes over time. In addition, while they do provide an abundance of data, they are not designed to analyse the data. A typical BMS will provide excellent 24/7 control of a building and once programmed they will run through the control cycle efficiently. But the long term efficiency of a building relies on the input of good data to the BMS. If changes are not made to the BMS, set points aren’t updated or data isn’t acted upon, the BMS is no longer keeping the building operating at optimum efficiency.

In addition, it is quite common to find that individual pieces of building services plant (such as the boiler and the air conditioning plant) each has its own set of controls which are connected to the BMS. If they weren’t commissioned to operate together or weren’t commissioned for seasonal change, even if they are being centrally operated by the BMS, the building will not operate at peak efficiency.

It is important to recognise that a BMS is primarily about real time control of the building’s plant, such as HVAC, lighting, power systems and fire and security systems, but these systems are not designed to deal with historical data or report that data. In order to make meaningful changes to a commercial building simply acquiring the data through the BMS is not enough. The data has to be processed and interpreted, and for it to have any real effect an easy to use system, such as our own SIPinsight Energy & Building Information Software (EBIS) is required; pulling in all the available data from both the BMS and energy data from meters or monitoring systems.

In the same way that it would be unwise to drive a car without a dashboard, it is very hard to run a commercial building efficiently without access to a dashboard, which provides vital information about what is happening in the building. The SIPinsight EBIS is therefore the car dashboard, allowing you to see all of the data and accurately direct your car based on the information you are given. The BMS is the steering wheel which allows you to direct your car by telling it what to do. Perhaps it’s time you steered your building towards better energy management with SIPinsight EBIS.