For some people, the phrase building energy management system is linked with large building projects – premium city headquarters or prestigious art galleries. But this is far from being the case.
The scalability of BEMS is one of their key features. As with the IT sector, the physical size of BEMS components keeps reducing, and at the same time their cost effectiveness is increasing. And like IT, access to facilities such as cloud computing, web-enabled controls and even mobile apps are putting the benefits of BEMS into the hands of more small building operators.
There has also been recognition by the industry that BEMS are likely to be accessed by non-expert users in small projects, so interfaces have to be much simpler. These days, it’s just as possible for a small school or small office building to access the benefits that a BEMS can bring.
Whatever the size, a BEMS can make a big contribution to energy efficiency and including better building controls can reduce building energy use by up to 30% – an important potential saving in our current financial climate.
Firstly, it puts information into the hands of building owners and managers. This can be in a format that is easy to understand: not only how much energy is actually being used, but also where and when. So a BEMS can help to verify energy bills but also help you to find out if boilers are running at the weekend when not needed.
A BEMS can also help to introduce quite sophisticated control techniques into small buildings that can have a significant impact on reducing energy waste. For example, wireless CO2 sensors are now relatively easy to retrofit, and can introduce an element of demand-controlled ventilation into areas such as meeting rooms and classrooms.
What’s more, a small-scale building energy management system can be operated via the web, giving an easy-to-use and familiar interface for non-expert users. Web-based systems are highly cost effective, and becoming increasingly popular because they can deliver information exactly where it’s needed, even to mobile devices.
Another advantage of a BEMS is that they are scalable over time, so although you may start small your system can expand as your building requirements do, giving you peace of mind and protection of your financial investment.
So before dismissing BEMS as something that can only be used on large scale projects, think about better measurement and management of energy. Just because the BEMS is small, doesn’t mean that it can’t contribute large savings.