Make 2013 the year to invest in better control

The controls industry has seen some interesting developments in technology over the past few years. And 2013 might just be the year to consider embracing these new products, with a view to improving long term energy performance in your building and business.

With the Government focusing on efficiency through its 2012 Energy Strategy, the drive to reduce unnecessary energy consumption in buildings is stronger than ever. We’re also now only five years away from the proposed date when it will become illegal to rent out energy inefficient buildings (under the 2011 Energy Act). It seems like a long time – but not when you’re the owner of several commercial properties where energy performance needs to be improved.

A refurbishment or upgraded of your building controls could well be one of the most cost effective energy efficiency investments to make. Since the average building energy management system (BEMS) controls around 85% of the energy using equipment in a building, it makes sense to ensure you have the best tools for that job.

Retrofitting of controls has been made easier with advances in wireless technologies. Adding new wireless sensors can give building managers greater understanding and control of energy use in a building. Additional CO2 or temperature sensors also mean that the building can respond better to occupant requirements.

IP-enabled BEMS software also means that data from meters, sensors and HVAC equipment can all be collected and presented on a user friendly interface. There is no point metering energy use if that data cannot be understood and acted upon by the facilities team. In addition, many businesses are involved in sustainability benchmarking schemes that require collection of this data which is made much easier through a BEMS.

Improved integration software and platforms mean that bringing together different types of equipment is much more achievable than a decade ago.

One of the most important investments you can make is to take the time to ensure that everyone who needs to understands the BEMS and what it can achieve. In many buildings today there are BEMS which are not being used to their full extent, meaning that owners and occupants are missing out on the benefits.

An investment in your controls and BEMS this year will pay dividends for many years to come. Payback periods can even be calculated, using British and European Standard BS EN 15232, which outlines different levels of building control and how much energy these can save.

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