Building energy management systems (BEMS) are revolutionizing how businesses and organizations manage energy consumption. These sophisticated systems integrate advanced technology and real-time energy usage data to monitor, control, and optimize energy use within buildings. By providing detailed insights into energy usage patterns and automating certain equipment, BEMS can significantly reduce energy costs. This article explores the mechanics of BEMS, their key components, and practical energy strategies for leveraging these systems to achieve substantial financial savings for your organization. 

What Are BEMS?

Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) are advanced solutions designed to monitor, control, and optimize energy use in buildings. Also known as a smart building energy management system, they utilize various technologies to achieve results. Many BEMS include sensors, smart meters, IoT technology, and software that provide real-time data and insights into a building’s energy use. With this data, the BEMS can react in real-time tuning on or off motors to achieve energy efficiency. BEMS can automate heating, cooling, lighting, and other systems to reduce energy demand costs and overall energy expenses. Because of their ability to reduce overall energy consumption, these systems are playing an increasingly important role in the sustainable energy transition

How Do Building Energy Management Systems Work?

BEMS can be simple systems that control a single HVAC circuit or complex networks that can control energy consumption in an entire building. No matter how they are engineered to work, these systems are designed to reduce energy consumption and costs automatically. An example of how a BEMS might control energy consumption is by automating the turning off of lights in unoccupied rooms. Many modern office buildings are equipped with occupancy sensors that can detect when people have vacated an office or space. A BEMS can take that data and automatically reduce or turn off lighting to save energy.

Another example would be BEMS designed for large hospitality applications. Many times guests in hotel rooms leave the air conditioning running and lights on even when they are not in the room. Modern automation systems can also detect when guests have left hotel rooms, and reset thermostats to predetermined levels. This can help the resort owner reduce both electricity demand and supply costs, and ultimately improve carbon emissions

Are Building Automation Systems Worth The Investment?

A BEMS can be quite expensive to install. In older buildings that have old motors and equipment, many things might need to be replaced in order to fully integrate with the BEMS. In all cases, the asset owner should conduct a financial analysis to determine the total return on investment. This study should take into account energy tariff rates for demand charges, capacity costs, electrical transmission costs, and the total price for electricity. When done correctly, you can project cost savings and achieve an ROI figure. Here are some of the benefits of installing a building automation system:

Energy Cost Curtailment

When you are able to reduce your energy load, you can directly impact your electric bill. Here are some ways a BEMS can help to lower your expenses:

  • Energy Capacity Costs – can be reduced by lowering peak demand in the Summer months
  • Energy Usage Costs – can be reduced by lowering overall energy usage in a building
  • Energy Demand Costs – can be reduced by lowering peak energy demand in each billing cycle

Businesses can also use BEMS to participate in demand response programs that pay consumers for reducing demand during peak periods. These programs pay cash incentives to businesses to reduce energy load; however, the business needs to be able to react in real time when a peak event occurs. Many demand response programs can integrate with building energy management systems and automatically turn off motors to achieve success.

Energy Sustainability

Another benefit of a BEMS is the ability to contribute to your organization’s sustainability goals. Since reducing energy consumption is a great way to directly achieve sustainability, a BEMS can help you in this initiative. These systems can also be hooked up to rooftop commercial solar panels in order to monitor the total consumption coming from the solar system. This is another great way to validate your impact.

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Who Needs A BEMS?

Both commercial and industrial sectors can greatly benefit from Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS). These systems enable businesses of all types to enhance efficiency, reduce energy waste, and promote sustainability. Let’s explore both the commercial and industrial applications:

Commercial Applications

In commercial settings, Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) are invaluable for managing energy use in facilities such as office buildings, retail stores, and hospitals. These systems help monitor and control lighting, HVAC, and other energy-consuming motors, leading to significant cost savings. By providing real-time data and automated controls, BEMS can enhance operational efficiency, improve occupant comfort, and support sustainability goals. They enable businesses to optimize energy usage, lower utility bills, and achieve regulatory compliance.

Industrial Applications

In industrial environments, such as manufacturing plants and warehouses, BEMS play a critical role in optimizing energy-intensive processes. These systems help manage the energy consumption of machinery, production lines, and other industrial equipment. BEMS provide detailed insights into energy usage patterns, allowing for precise adjustments to reduce energy costs. They also aid in reporting to maintain compliance with stringent energy regulations and standards. By leveraging BEMS, industrial facilities can enhance productivity, reduce downtime, and achieve substantial energy and cost savings.

Implementing & Installing A BEMS

Implementing Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) involves several key steps to ensure successful integration and operation. Here’s a concise overview:

1. Assessment And Planning

The first step involves a comprehensive assessment of the building’s current energy usage and systems. Energy audits are conducted to identify areas for improvement. Based on this assessment, a tailored energy plan is developed, detailing the goals, budget, and timeline for the project.

2. System Design

Next, the BEMS is designed and engineered to meet the specific needs of the building. This includes selecting appropriate hardware (sensors, smart meters, and motor controllers) and software solutions that will monitor and control the system. The design phase is critical to ensure that the system will achieve the desired results. 

3. Installation

During this phase, the system is installed in the building. Sensors and meters are placed in strategic locations on motors in order to collect data. Controllers and communication devices are set up to enable real-time monitoring and control. Proper installation is crucial to ensure the system functions effectively.

4. Integration

The installed hardware is then integrated with the BEMS software. This involves configuring the software to communicate with the hardware, setting up user interfaces, and establishing automated controls and alerts. Integration ensures that the system can make real-time adjustments to optimize energy use.

5. Testing And Commissioning

Before the system goes live, thorough testing is conducted to ensure all components work correctly and the system performs as expected. This phase includes verifying data accuracy, testing automated controls, and fine-tuning the system settings. 

6. Training And Handover

Once the system is operational, building staff are trained on how to use the BEMS. This includes understanding the user interface, interpreting data, and responding to alerts. Proper training ensures that staff can effectively manage and maintain the system.

7. Monitoring And Maintenance

After implementation, ongoing monitoring and maintenance are essential to ensure the BEMS continues to operate efficiently. Regular system checks, software updates, and performance reviews help maintain the optimal performance of the system. 

Need Help Evaluating And Installing A BEMS?

If you are thinking about installing a BEMS at your building, it can be a daunting task. Evaluating the different types of building automation systems and deciding on the right installation company can be challenging if you are unfamiliar with the space. The team at Diversegy has decades of experience in the energy industry. We can help you navigate through your BEMS options and select the best company for your needs. Contact us today to learn more.

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