Don’t let your budget be a barrier

There is no doubt that the installation of a building management system (BMS) in a commercial building will lead to energy savings but as Paul Mans from CP Electronics explains; this isn’t the only solution.

Building controls technology is now cited as one of the leading factors in the route to achieving substantial energy savings but despite this many people are still put off by the cost of the installation of a BMS. The simple fact remains that while everyone would like to install a BMS their budgets won’t allow it. Unfortunately for many people this becomes a barrier to installing any form of control at all and as a result they are missing out on vital energy savings.

The main problem is the ‘all or nothing’ approach which many people have, but opting for the full system is not the only way forward and it is certainly not the only form of control on the market.

Make improvements

In a typical domestic environment every home owner will look for small ways to achieve savings which fit in with the budget which they have available – and it is this mentality which we need to bring into the commercial environment.

Lighting is definitely one of the first areas to address but if a company has already implemented the ‘quick wins’ such as swapping to energy efficient lamps, many are left looking for new ways to achieve savings. The key to energy efficiency is therefore to make the building work harder and smarter which means taking stock of what you already have and assessing the best way to make improvements and implement a form of control while staying within your budget.

One of the common misconceptions is that a control system would be a very expensive option – and in the past this may have been true. But a lot has changed and now the technology on the market has become simpler and more cost effective which has signalled a change in the way that we address the issue.

Changes to Part L2 of the Building Regulations will force the issue further as they will address the issue of lighting control and as a result a wide range of measures such as daylight, occupancy, operating hours and the controls package will need to be taken into account to ensure that lights are only operated when they are needed.

Remove the barriers

Taking all of this into account it is clear that every building needs some form of lighting control but there are still many barriers to installation which include the cost, but also the disruption of retrofitting controls in a building which is occupied.

But there are options available which remove both of these barriers, a good example of which is our EBMPIR-MB – a Batten Mount PIR Detector which provides a cost effective way to make any T5 or T8 batten an energy saving luminaire. The luminaire mounted miniature PIR detectors are very simple to install and as a result you can be achieving energy savings instantly through the automatic control of lighting loads throughout the building.

While I am obviously going to sing the praises of our own product range, there is no denying the fact that it is proving to be hugely popular in the retrofit market simply because it is suitable for a wide variety of applications, both indoors and out and it provides that all important quick payback which many building owners require.

Another retrofit solution which we will be launching shortly is the EBMINT, a new range of integrated presence detectors which are designed to allow previously uncontrolled lighting sources to benefit from presence detection and lux level control.

One of the key benefits for this range is that they can be fitted onto the LED, T5 or T8 tube directly, or to a louvre blade of a parabolic louvred luminaire which makes them ideal for installations which demand minimum disruption or where it isn’t possible to disturb the fabric of a building (such as where asbestos is present).

These are just two examples but there are many more which prove that you don’t need a massive budget to achieve energy savings – in fact many companies are now retrofitting this type of product simply because it is a quick win and it is easy.

Going forward I can only see this type of technology growing in popularity and as more companies choose to refurbish rather than move offices this is exactly the type of solution they are looking for – simply because it plays a key part in improving a building’s energy performance with the minimum amount of investment and disruption.

So while a BMS is indeed a fantastic solution, it isn’t the only solution and lack of budget should not be a barrier to achieving savings – you just need to adopt a different approach.

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