Specifying controls to maximise efficiency

Mentioning a European standard in the first paragraph of this column is probably a good way to make a lot of people stop reading. But EN 15232 is such a useful guide for specifiers and end-users that it’s worth the risk because this standard offers practical insights into the link between building controls and energy efficiency.

One of the many benefits of building controls is that they are now offered in a wide range of options for endusers, so they can be specified to exactly match the requirements and budget of any new-build or refurbishment project. Open systems also make linking together different types of control much more straightforward. This means that today’s controls are a cost-effective and flexible solution.

But it is this range of choice that creates the challenge for specifiers and end users. How best to achieve energy efficiency given the project’s budget? What type of control systems will achieve the level of energy efficiency required for this building? That is where EN 15232 can offer wellresearched and unbiased advice.

EN 15232: Energy performance of buildings – Impact of building automation, control and building management, is one of a set of European standards designed to support the European Directive on Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD). EN 15232 defines the minimum levels of building controls required to achieve different levels of energy efficiency in a number of building types.

The standard was developed using advanced building simulation modelling, so it can be used as a tool to qualify the energy efficiency of building control and BEMS projects. This means that it is also possible to quantify the benefits of different levels of building control – putting specification and calculation of payback periods on a much firmer footing.

For specifiers, EN 15232 assigns classes A, B, C or D to levels of control within a building, and shows the resulting energy efficiencies that could be expected. This is an invaluable tool for those looking to balance capital investment against long-term energy savings. It also makes specification of BEMS a much clearer process for everyone involved, from the end-user client to the installer.

The BCIA is recommending use of EN 15232 for specifiers and end-users planning a building controls or BEMS project. Not only does the standard give a clear indication of energy savings that can be expected from the use of controls, it also offers a common language for specification.

More details on EN 15232 can be found on the BCIA website at: www.bcia.co.uk

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