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Now more than ever, businesses are looking for ways to save money and cut costs on bills, budgets and general maintenance costs.

The UK – and much of the rest of the world – is currently facing a cost-of-living crisis, with energy bills soaring.

As a result, you will want to keep an eye on the amount of energy your commercial heating systems are wasting.

Often it can be tempting to opt for the cheapest control system to save costs.

While this may save you a few pennies initially, these systems could prove more expensive long term. The cheaper products don't have the same capabilities as top-of-the-range commercial heating systems.

As a result, businesses are losing out on energy savings and efficiency within their property.

Investing in a quality building energy management system (BEMS) can make all the difference.

What Is A Building Energy Management System?

We’ve previously written about building management systems here at Javelin Controls (the benefits of a BMS and 5 key features of a BMS).

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The terms BMS and BEMS are often used interchangeably, but there are key differences.

The most notable difference is that a BEMS manages energy-related systems. In contrast, a BMS monitors and controls a broader range of building systems such as fire alarms, CCTV, and motion sensors.

When it comes to energy efficiency, they are an essential part of any property’s strategy.

As a computer-based system, they can monitor and control various equipment simultaneously. They omit the need for human intervention and reduce the risk of things running when they shouldn't.

You can automatically control power points in your building and monitor them constantly - increasing and reducing output depending on their requirements. This will stop the need for constant heating, cooling or other energy-wasting activities.

Furthermore, having heating systems linked to your BEMS means it will represent around 40% of the building's energy usage.

With this in mind, investing in a quality control system could see you making the most of this energy and ensuring it is being used in ways that will benefit costs and reduce waste.

Why Are Traditional Heating Control Systems Wasting Energy?

The average commercial building wastes about 30% of its energy produced.

This could be for several reasons:

That last point is quite important: you rely on staff to keep the room at a comfortable temperature - hoping that the thermostat is controlled accurately and not tampered with.

BEMS chart

Your employees will all be most comfortable in different environments, and finding that happy medium can be near impossible.

Instead of resorting to arguments and blankets, a quality BEMS can ensure your building runs as efficiently as possible and caters to the majority.

How Does A Building Energy Management System Save Energy?

There are many ways that a BEMS can help your business save energy.

A quality system can control as much as 84% of your building's energy consumption.

By doing so, you could be saving money and significantly contributing to the improvement of your carbon footprint.

Let’s look at some energy-saving benefits of Building Energy Management Systems over traditional heating control systems.

Visibility

By monitoring usage and demand, a BEMS can implement strategies to ensure you use less energy during peak times - prioritising the equipment and areas that need it most.

This capability also helps you better understand how and where you use most of your energy.

With a clearer understanding of energy usage, you can better predict how you will need to use certain systems in the future. As a result, you have more time to respond to issues and adjust your usage as it happens.

Weather Compensation

This function relies on a signal being received from the Building Energy Management System.

Room temperature data will be interpreted, and a control valve will help deliver the necessary output.

This ensures that only an optimal amount of energy is used while keeping the room at a constant temperature.

So instead of delivering constant heat at all times, it will recognise what is proportional to the external temperature and modulate the output to keep internal environments comfortable.

This reduces the need for the simpler on-off control you'd associate with general radiators and fan heaters, which can result in overheating a room and wasting energy by opening windows and doors.

Advantages of modulating control include:

Optimised Start/Stop

Optimised start/stop means the system 'learns' how long a room takes to warm up and cool down.

This allows room temperatures to be programmed differently. Instead of 'turn heating on at 6 am and heat to 20 degrees', the system is programmed to 'ensure the room is at 20 degrees by 8 am', for example.

Likewise, instead of 'turn off heating at 6 pm', you program it to ensure it’s at 20 degrees until 6 pm.

In each case, the system uses its knowledge of heating and cooling times to turn the heating on and off. This saves both money and energy as the system is used optimally.

In addition, by adding external sensors, the system can adjust its heating and cooling times accordingly (weather compensation)

Zone Control

Area or 'Zone' control is where the temperature of a specific area or zone can be controlled rather than the entire building.

You may, for example, need to keep a server room at a lower temperature than the surrounding offices.

Occupancy sensing can also help detect the presence of people and control the heating appropriately. This only works if you also have area or zone control so you can turn the heating on where those people are.

This means unoccupied rooms will not be heated – ensuring no energy is wasted.

Conversely, an area that is heavily occupied may need the majority of energy produced in the building.

To prioritise this, other systems can be linked together, making it simple for this computer-based function to recognise which rooms need heating.

Summary

There are many advantages that Building Energy Management Systems have over commercial heating systems, including:

They can cost more to install but ultimately save you money (and energy) in the long run.

By relying on the full, intelligent automation of the system, you can be assured that the optimum amount of energy will be used in your building all year round. In addition to saving you money, your staff will also thank you.

If you would like to find out more information about Building Management Systems, our team will be only too happy to answer any questions.

Our contact details can be found below.

Javelin Controls - HVAC Specialists

We have been installing building energy management systems for over 15 years in the Southeast. In that time, we’ve successfully supported hundreds of businesses with the development of their property management, optimising their workplace environment, reducing heat loss and improving overall efficiency.

Get in touch with the team on 023 9400 4123 or email sales@javelincontrols.co.uk to transform your environment with a high-quality building energy management system. We’ll be more than happy to discuss your requirements and find a customised solution to suit your needs.

A building management system offers many benefits for commercial use. Not only do the key features of a BMS allow you to control your internal systems from a central management point, but you can keep on top of data and energy consumption more easily for the entire building. If you’re looking for more information on what a building management system is or does at the core, then our previous blog explains that all for you.

However, things like equipment downtime, system visibility and security are all things we know you will be concerned about. This is when you should make sure you are optimising your system to its fullest potential. One way you can do this is by reading about the functions and capabilities of your building management system. Another is by talking to a professional engineer about how you can benefit the most. Once you understand the key features of a BMS, you can begin to customise it to your needs and preferences.

Building Management Systems and the IoT

The internet of things (IoT) is used to describe the connection of devices to the internet. It covers devices that can share data between each other and even be used for remote control. In its simplest form, we are talking about smartphones connecting to WiFi but with building management systems, a lot more goes on. Within your business or organization, you could have thousands of devices and tools that are automated and linked together to make daily running much simpler.

For example, the idea of a smart building is to streamline the functionality of a facility and analyse any incoming data. This information can then be used to automate certain tools and optimise them in correlation with how the building is used. As a result, you get a highly sophisticated management system that can tell you what needs to be changed or where certain levels should sit to best suit the occupants and the building itself. Your professional engineer can install and set it up so that little needs to be done manually to keep equipment running.

Open Systems

You may find many BMSs operate with proprietary systems. This can cause issues when you are connecting multiple aspects of building management and using it for automation or to oversee large areas. Those running on an open system allow you to fully personalise your control. Even if you have an old system, new security measures such as CCTV or entry control can be integrated without a problem.

The benefit of this is flexibility. You can control third party tools and products from the central point meaning you can add new functions or features as you please. Openness is often defined by a set of three criteria:

Interoperability - This is the system's ability to have multiple parts working together. One of the key features of a BMS is that different components can act upon each other. You can have access control linked to CCTV or heating control linked monitoring of indoor temperature. When these things can become a holistic process and be altered without manual intervention - you begin to see a smart building.

Engineering - How complicated is it to integrate? This will determine how much customisation is needed and as a result, how long it will take to programme. As its capabilities span widely beyond HVAC control, it is important that an open building management system can consume data and link multiple tools efficiently.

Who carries out installation - Are specialised skills needed to achieve the desired results and will an engineer be needed for service? While this doesn’t always determine openness, it is a crucial factor in the success of any building management system and achieving the best outcome. Utilising a specialist can ensure full optimisation is carried out.

Scalability

We are aware that businesses expand and grow as time goes on and the needs of your building will change in consequence. Another of the key features of a BMS is its ability to adapt to these changes. This will prolong the life of your security features, HVAC and other integrated systems as they will be monitored closely and adjusted accordingly. Not only that, the system will pick up on faults or imminent problems that you may not have noticed otherwise. This can help mitigate simple issues before they become too much of a problem.

Furthermore, scalability allows for keeping up with the ever-changing technology and advances in building management systems. We recommend keeping up with servicing and software upgrades to ensure they run smoothly. Precision engineers and specialists can help you with this and offer advice on how to scale up your system when needed.

Remote Access & Security

It is unlikely that you will be around at all hours of the day to oversee every aspect of your building. This often means hiring new employees to manage security or monitor certain systems. As a result, you begin to see costs rise and not a lot of return in terms of efficiency. One of the key features of a BMS that can provide ease of use is its remote access availability. You or another manager can access and control the building from anywhere in the world.

With the ability to safely access your management system, you have peace of mind that employee information, building data and other automation is secure. Cloud-based data, predictive analytics and AI are also technologies that can be integrated into your BMS in order to give you the most comprehensive access. Your information will be stored where you can access it easily and monitor it to best suit your building.

key features of a BMS

Benefits of Analytics

While the key features of a BMS do encompass many of the capabilities you would need - analytics adds another layer of potential that can help in streamlining your building. Being able to analyse the complex web of devices means you have a comprehensive view of the entire works. This is the first part of taking meaningful steps to improve operations.

Optimised energy usage

Efficiency relies on the constant adjustments being made to the control systems. As a building changes and the needs of the occupants change, the adjustments being made are going to help keep it as efficient and sustainable as possible.

After exporting data, managers can begin to see trends in energy consumption and spot even the smallest fluctuations. This could result in many potential savings. Long-term usage of a BMS will see the most substantial change by implementing new strategies as patterns emerge.

Occupant behaviour

Data acquisition not only benefits efficiency but can be used to improve or encourage the behaviour of occupants. Harnessing a two-way communication process means visual reminders could be implemented via the dashboard.

Remind employees to turn off lights or shut doors by letting them see the information being used by the BMS to alter energy usage. If they can see the impact being made, it will encourage them to make positive choices.

Potential Drawbacks & How to Overcome Them

Proprietary systems -

The benefit of flexibility is being able to search around for the best parts and engineers. This way you can make the best use of the key features of a BMS whilst staying within your budget.

Not only that, if you need repairs or maintenance done, a proprietary system limits you to the supplier that installed it for you. Meaning that any replacement parts or engineers would have to be employed and come from the same company. While you can be sure you’re getting the right components, it limits you geographically and financially.

To overcome this we would suggest opting for an open system. This way you can keep it running on your own terms. You won’t have the same restrictions, nor will you have to put up with expensive or low-quality vendors. Each year you could hire someone new to carry out services and you will even get more choice with personalisation.

Extensive research -

It does take time and effort to properly research the best provider for you. The factors of cost, capability and intelligence all play a part in finding the right BMS for you. If you don’t get these right the first time, you could be investing in a tool with limited features that does not cover your building extensively enough.

To overcome this, it is first important to understand your building needs. You should be familiar with operations and which systems will need to be managed. Then you can confidently approach suppliers and engineers to ask questions.

Ensure you find an experienced company. They will be more familiar with the different types of building management systems and be able to tell you which has the most advantages for your requirements.

Benefit from the key features of a BMS

When you invest in a building management system, you want to be sure you are utilising it as best you can. This is why prior research is so crucial. The right tools can help make your building more efficient and sustainable and once you hire the right people - it can be optimised to suit you perfectly.

A fully automated system will give you the freedom and security you need. For more information about building management or HVAC systems, get in touch with the Javelin Controls team. You can ring us on 07808 791998 or email sales@javelincontrols.co.uk. We’ll be more than happy to discuss your requirements and find a customised solution to suit your business needs.

A building management system is a component used within data centre facilities. It allows for critical infrastructure equipment to have its management centralised for secure and efficient operation.

This is especially important for large centres and enterprises as they can host millions of pounds worth of equipment in multi-tenant “colocation” centres which need to be maintained effectively.

Facilities such as this require fire suppression, climate control and backup power at every site with physical security. Each of these elements needs a building management system so they can be monitored and maintained. Each system is usually backed up with redundant servers which provide monitoring and alerts. These ensure all aspects of the system operate as they should.

But Is BMS maintenance crucial?

If you don’t look after them, you could be looking at major costs associated with emergency repairs. With an industry full of professionals - mitigation is very possible and should be approached before reaching a crisis.

The Maintenance Checklist

There are several parts of building management systems and controls system maintenance that are essential:

Computer Workstation

Maintenance of computer workstations may require checking the computer and monitoring operations are fully functional. Additionally, interface software may need to be set up if not done so already. Panel and control databases may also require a hard drive backup that service engineers will carry out on site. As part of the checklist, a review of the operation with maintenance personnel may be included.

Supervisory Panels

These should have regular performance diagnostic checks in order for problems to be reported and resolved before they become critical issues. Network communications also need testing. This is because parts of maintenance panels may need to be upgraded for current firmware revisions.

What Are The Benefits - Is BMS Maintenance Crucial?

Some of the key benefits of regular servicing include:

Improved Internal Environment -

A building management system has the capability of controlling air quality, humidity, temperature and ventilation. This is often done via a link with the building’s HVAC system. Firstly, occupants can be protected from harmful pollutants, smoke and gases. When ventilation is controlled properly and maintained by professionals, you can mitigate any unwanted toxins from entering the building. It will also detect harmful environments and allow you to evacuate or isolate the area should you need to.

Furthermore, when the temperature and humidity sensors are serviced, they will be more capable of making small adjustments and keeping the environment at optimal conditions. This results in more efficient workers who have a comfortable area to work in.

Additionally, well-functioning pressure control-loop tuning and other HVAC elements will ensure costs are kept to a minimum. Not having to run them manually means even the smallest of changes can see a substantial improvement in your energy bills!

Automatic shutdowns -

Lighting, heating and air conditioning can be automatically switched off in unoccupied areas and during select times which can help cut costs even further. It will benefit your carbon footprint and leave you with the confidence that sections of your building you want to be inoperative do not remain running while you are away.

Similarly, regular checks made to a building management system allows for as little downtime as possible. Any repairs or preventative measures can be carried out without an effect on your other equipment. This will again, save you time and money and allow all of the essential components to stay up and running.

Reducing Footprint -

Offices account for 18% of the UK’s energy consumption. Keeping up with your BMS maintenance will help you reduce your business’ footprint by reducing energy consumption by up to 55%. In turn, you will help the UK in achieving its carbon goals and save your business money.

Also, a building management system works to reduce your overall energy needs. Staff will have the ability to monitor how much energy is being used on a daily basis. Engineers can ensure your control system is fully optimised - allowing you to record daily info and present it in a way that will encourage staff to make small changes.

This will also aid you in keeping updated on where savings can be made. As “smart buildings” continue to become increasingly popular, a BMS can help you get one step closer to becoming carbon neutral.

Upgrades

There is a range of upgrades available with BMS from small editions to major projects. These upgrades ensure that maintainability and optimum performance can be achieved to maximize the life of the control system. These can vary from installations of the latest BEMS technology to energy-saving enhancements. Don’t forget to talk to your engineer to find out more about how to properly optimise your BMS.

BMS maintenance crucial

External Factors

To ensure your building management system is maintained and continues functioning at the highest standard, it is imperative you keep an eye on each external element and run regular servicing. Other parts of the checklist include:

Air Systems

Operating sequences such as those needed for fans, dampers, heating and cooling systems often needed to be adjusted and tested. It is also important to review ventilation operating set points in accordance with the design criteria. This can help improve air quality and ensure the data is correct.

Any adjustments that need to be made will rely on the correct information being fed back. Changes to control loops and tuning parameters may also need to be made, but for a full and extensive service, you should ensure the engineers are experienced.

GeoThermal, Heating and DHW systems

Boilers, valves and pumps can be serviced by having their operating systems adjusted and tested. Seasonal temperature and ventilation set points can be reviewed against the design criteria as part of the service.

Any HVAC system should be checked to ensure it can comply with regulations and work cohesively with your building management system.

A service engineer may also make changes to control loops. This is to ensure the system is achieving stable, accurate control by adjusting tuning parameters. Additionally, outside air temperature interlocks are checked and operation and equipment are reviewed to keep any in-house repairs to a minimum.

Gas Detection Systems

The maintenance of gas detection systems may include a test and adjustment as well as a check on the operation of the control panel. This will work in cohesion with improving the internal environment. You can mitigate anything harmful before extreme action needs to be taken. Without careful servicing, you may miss alerts or find yourself without any detection at all.

Reports and Training

When you have a BMS installed, there may be training involved so that site personnel can be aware of the current operating conditions in place. Additionally, training may be provided with a building operator to review changes as well as answer any questions that relate to the operating systems. Finally, a written report should be provided as part of BMS maintenance to document each visit and look back on should any problems arise.

Planned Preventative Maintenance

PPM is a scheduled maintenance routine. It ensures that machinery, equipment and services are maintained at regular intervals.

This helps by:

This is why specialist service companies that have many years of experience dealing with system and equipment maintenance are essential. They take the pressure off of the customers, allowing them the time to focus on more important tasks. Potential problems can be spotted before they occur and malfunctioning or obsolete items can be dealt with quickly with minimal disruption.

Choosing The Right Provider

When choosing who to hire for BMS maintenance you should ensure that you choose a provider who works to the highest industry standards and is accredited with appropriate certificates. Your system will need to be tailored to fit your business needs, so you should seek out a specialist in order to help recommend a building management system as well as oversee its installation.

Every component needs to be fitted and serviced properly. When considering a BMS, it is of utmost importance that you consider that they comply with all the relevant standards for A1 environments. It may also benefit you to have a portal for users’ viewing. This way occupants can keep careful track of the environment and bring up any concerns they may have. There are plenty of options to consider and some components may not be suitable for everyone. That’s where our team can help!

Get in touch with the Javelin Controls team to transform your work environment with a high-quality building management system. We’ll be more than happy to discuss your control and HVAC system requirements and find a customised solution to suit your business needs.

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