BMS Controls: Key Considerations

Many of the property owners, developers and facilities managers we approach will proudly say they have a BMS installed on site, but if we ask if they find that system useful, many struggle to identify the positive impact it has on their capital expenditure or building performance.   This article reviews why many of us are disappointed with BMS instead of benefiting from a quick return on investment from the money spent on these complex and ‘modern’ systems.

All BMS’ are designed to monitor building performance and report on energy data.  Whilst this information is informative, it does not provide any added value.  So, how do you turn your BMS into a real Building Management System?  Ask yourself the following questions:

Do we have full control of our HVAC System?

It’s very common for landlords to install the Heating and Ventilation system in a building and allow the tenant to install their own Air Conditioning (AC) unit.  This often results in an AC unit and Heating system having different control parameters.  For example, one system is trying to cool the building to reach 20oC while the other is trying to heat to 22oC!

It is important to integrate the AC unit with the BMS or consider reconfiguring the system to have the same control parameters.  If you don’t, when the separate system requests do not match, you could find the local AC unit fighting the centralised heating system.  This often results in tenant complaints where the comfort conditions are impacted by these two separate system requests fighting each other.

Do we have lighting controls integrated into the BMS?

If you have lighting controls integrated into the BMS, make sure that your property occupancy schedule is used not only to switch off the central air handling unit but also your lights!  If you do not do this, you may find the lights being left on outside of trading hours or when the building is not occupied. If you have added another switch for people leaving or entering the building, consider integrating your lighting controls with your BMS system or reviewing your company / tenant’s energy culture.  ETS has supported the Energy Institute in creating an Energy Culture tool that can help facility behavioural change to reduce energy consumption.  Click here for more information about how to further understand your energy culture.

Do you care about energy consumption?

Of course, you do! But does your BMS care about it? Check if your BMS is collecting the energy data from your meters and if your BMS is creating your energy consumption profiles.

What is being done with the data extracted from the BMS?

Once you have all this data and a fully integrated BMS what do you do with all this information.  Having access to this information is one thing but knowing what to do with it is another.  It is a regular occurrence that a significant proportion of energy savings are missed by clients who do not monitor energy consumption on an ongoing basis.  Whilst an energy audit may praise the site manager for any energy saving initiatives that have been introduced in the building, only ongoing monitoring will demonstrate if the new solution / system is delivering on its full savings potential.  Our Business Unit Direct, John Kane provides more information about the two key components here.

What are the busiest times for your store / office?

Whilst you may know this, dose your BMS?  Is your BMS making needed adjustments and if so, have you properly integrated your BMS with your access system? If you have, read no further!

CCTV, Security and Fire Alarm systems are usually separate parts of the engineering complex control.  Make sure that all the systems are exchanging data.  In doing this, you will be able to adjust HVAC and lighting controls scenarios and improve energy effectiveness.

If you can supplement the above-mentioned list with the systems you have already integrated in your BMS, you’re probably on the #IoT platform already.  If the questions above caught you by surprise, your business will really benefit from transforming your Building Monitoring System into real BMS which not only improves building performance but also reduced your capital expenditure.

Your building should be operationally efficient, comfortable and energy efficient.  You know exactly what you want to achieve and an effective BMS will help you do this.

If you are experiencing problems with your BMS or would like advice about what solution would best match your requirements, contact us on 0117 379 0850 and speak to one of our BMS / controls specialists.

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