Specifier Review
energy management

Using BEMS data intelligently brings maximum benefits

In the face of spiralling prices and a growing raft of legislation designed to reduce carbon emissions, building owners and managers need to do all they can to manage energy use. This article from Trend Control Systems explains how gaining a better understanding of a Building Energy Management System (BEMS) and the data it provides can lead to on-going cost and energy savings, and why it pays to build a close working relationship with a specialist service provider.

The problem of energy wastage is enormous and, given that a large percentage of a building’s energy usage can be under the control of a BEMS, maximising the potential of an asset that most building owners and users already have at their disposal is the logical thing to do.

Legislation is driving energy efficiency measures across the board. With the introduction of MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard) from 1st April 2018, it will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), unless there is an applicable exemption. As another example, Distribution Use of System (DUoS) charges typically account for up to 19% of an electricity bill. Following the implementation of DCP228 from April 1, 2018 many  businesses metered half hourly will start to see a rise in energy costs due to revised DUoS charges. As a business, you may decide to re-examine the times at which you use energy to reduce the associated costs. Smart control strategies using an existing BEMS can result in significant energy and cost savings.

Room for improvement

As the old adage goes, ‘if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it’, and a BEMS is without doubt the most effective way to gain a true picture of how and where any potential savings can be made. Clear targets and objectives must be set and intelligent technology applied to provide on-going analysis of how energy is being consumed, with remedial actions suggested where necessary.

A BEMS ensures that building services operate in strict accordance with demand. The data it can produce allows relevant personnel to better analyse, understand, reconfigure and improve a site’s energy usage and costs by having it presented in an organised and informative way.

This is useful when relaying what can sometimes be quite complex information to other stakeholders. Take, for example, financial directors, who can be supplied with visual dashboards to prove that performance indicators (KPIs) are being met and have financial savings presented in pounds rather than just kWh. The same data can also be used by facilities managers to make decisions regarding the purchase and maintenance of plant, or even by staff so that they can take positive action to reduce energy consumption and/or enhance comfort conditions at work.

Facts and figures

Capturing accurate data in granular detail can only happen if a BEMS is fully optimised as, if not, the information it feeds back will simply be incorrect. It is therefore necessary to adjust setpoints and check that items such as boilers, chillers, air conditioning and pumps are working correctly.

Although a BEMS is at the very heart of a successful data capture programme, it is also vital to establish a set of clearly identified and defined objectives that outline exactly what is to be achieved. Whether it’s a 15 per cent year-on-year reduction or a 10 per cent lower electricity bill, the principle is the same and setting a realistic goal necessitates a thorough understanding of how energy is currently being managed – or indeed mismanaged – in a building.

Profiles should be created to enable comparison of actual and expected consumption. Furthermore, it is useful to factor in degree day data to allow for differences in weather conditions, while the development of long-term strategies and regular profiling will identify where on-going efficiencies can be made.

Making advances

BEMS systems can provide significantly more data and building intelligence than ever before, but in order to understand it and make appropriate decisions with the output, customers will probably need additional expert assistance or advice. A trusted BEMS specialist service provider is able work closely with a customer to ensure their building is running effectively, whilst maintaining occupancy comfort and optimal working conditions.

Due to a thorough understanding of a building’s design, layout and occupancy patterns, a BEMS specialist service provider will be able to configure local displays to present a continually updated record of a energy consumption and carbon emissions – showing at a glance whether they are on, below or above performance targets.

They will also be able to indicate any additional benefits that can be achieved through looking at the building services from a ‘connected’ perspective. According to recent studies, 40-52 per cent of a building’s energy use is consumed by heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, whilst up to 19 per cent is used for lighting. When the BEMS and lighting are managed efficiently together, such as with the Trend and Ex-Or by Honeywell systems, customers have the technology to control up to 75 per cent of the energy usage in their building with the deployment of an integrated solution.

Furthermore, a specialist service provider can help to fully exploit the advantages of BEMS software. This can assist with the management of buildings at an enterprise level through developing a strategy that gathers accurate and useful energy consumption data and determines, through the use of sub-metering, exactly where energy is being used. In addition, control check reports (CCRs) can also be configured to maintain parameters in a graphical and easy to read format.

Work in progress

Working with a specialist service provider can help unlock the many benefits of a BEMS and maximise return on investment. In addition, utility tariffs, CO2 ratings and cost and consumption targets can be configured, while normalisation criteria allows comparisons between different areas within a building to be made in real time. A successful strategy will not only improve operational efficiency, it will isolate items not typically included in energy benchmarks.

A BEMS should never be considered a fit and forget technology, as getting the best out of it requires an ongoing optimisation programme that implements new technology, reconfigures setpoints and takes into account changes to a building’s layout and occupancy patterns. In this regard outsourcing maintenance to a specialist service provider makes perfect sense, as through regular monitoring and maintenance adjustments can be made that deliver immediate savings, while other plant can be proactively monitored to make sure it is working correctly.

Helping hand

Today’s buildings are complex and challenging environments. Specialist BEMS service providers are committed to helping customers optimise asset life and improve the running costs of a building through the provision of accurate data, while sustaining a productive environment that meets the evolving needs of its occupants. Tailoring a maintenance and support strategy based on individual requirements can get the best out of a BEMS and provide end users with the opportunity to ask questions, make their lives easier, access funding and become more informed about the important energy management information that’s available at their fingertips.

For further information please call Trend Marketing on 01403 211888 or email marketing@trendcontrols.com.


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Using BEMS data intelligently brings maximum benefits 1