The landscape of commercial building management is experiencing a transformative shift, with Building Management Systems (BMS) becoming an integral part of the built environment. This advanced blend of hardware and software, designed to optimize building operations and enhance energy efficiency, is rapidly becoming the norm.
From new structures to older buildings undergoing retrofitting, BMS are now a fundamental part of their infrastructure, reducing costs and fostering healthier living and working environments. Let's delve into the fascinating world of BMS and uncover how this trend is reshaping the management and operation of commercial buildings
What is a building management system (BMS)?
A Building Management System, also known as a Building Automation System (BAS), is a sophisticated, computer-based control system installed in buildings. It manages and monitors a building's mechanical and electrical systems, including ventilation, lighting, power systems, fire systems, and security systems. A BMS serves as the central nerve system of a building, helping to control energy usage, reduce environmental impact, and enhance safety and comfort for the occupants.
Why do you need a building management system?
A Building Management System is like having a building's brain at your fingertips. It provides invaluable real-time data and insights into various building systems and functions, making building management proactive rather than reactive. Through a BMS, you can achieve optimal energy efficiency, reduce operational and maintenance costs, extend the life of building equipment, and create an environment that is safe, secure, and comfortable for occupants. Ultimately, it leads to a significant improvement in the building's performance and profitability.
Key features of a building management system
Here's a closer look at some of the essential features a standard Building Management System should offer:
- Real-time Monitoring: BMS provides real-time updates about the functioning of various systems within the building. This continuous monitoring can alert building managers to issues as soon as they arise, allowing for swift and effective action.
- Scheduling: BMS allows building managers to schedule operations like start and end times for HVAC and lighting systems, optimizing energy usage based on occupancy patterns.
- HVAC Control: A significant part of a BMS's role is controlling the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. This includes managing temperature, humidity, and air quality to ensure optimal comfort for building occupants.
- Lighting Control: With an automated lighting system managed by a BMS, lights can operate at optimal levels, switching on, off, or dimming based on occupancy or time of day, thus promoting energy conservation.
- Safety and Security Systems Integration: A BMS can integrate with safety systems like fire alarms and security systems such as access control and CCTV, allowing centralized management of these crucial aspects of building operation.
- Energy Management: A BMS enables tracking and control of energy consumption, helping to find and eliminate wastage, and improving overall energy efficiency.
- Mobile Access: Many modern BMSs provide mobile apps or mobile-friendly interfaces that allow building managers to access the system remotely, providing the ability to monitor and control building systems from anywhere.
- Interoperability: Modern BMSs support integration with other systems and technologies, enabling the creation of a truly smart building. This feature allows building managers to leverage advancements in IoT, AI, and other technologies to further enhance building efficiency.
Choosing the right building management system
Selecting the most suitable BMS involves considering several key factors, including scalability, ease of use, integration capabilities, and quality of customer support from the provider. Here are a few examples of BMS offerings from reputable manufacturers:
- Siemens: Siemens' Desigo CC is renowned for its scalability and flexibility. It allows for the integration of all building systems, including third-party devices, on a single platform for streamlined operations.
- Honeywell: Honeywell's Enterprise Buildings Integrator (EBI) R600 enhances decision-making with data-driven insights, integrating multiple building systems for seamless operation. It's also praised for its user-friendly interface.
- Schneider Electric: Schneider Electric's EcoStruxure Building Operation is an open, collaborative platform that provides real-time analytics, aiding informed decision-making and ensuring efficient building operations.
- Johnson Controls: Johnson Controls' Metasys is recognized for its cybersecurity features and user-friendly interface. It offers a comprehensive suite of tools and a unified, easy-to-navigate interface for managing all building systems.
- Bosch: Bosch's Building Integration System (BIS) is a flexible and scalable solution that consolidates various security, safety, and building management systems into a single, user-friendly platform. It's appreciated for its versatility and ease of use.
How to implement a building management system
The process of implementing a Building Management System involves a sequence of key stages: careful planning based on the building's specific needs, installation by a reliable service provider, and thorough training of the user team to ensure they can effectively operate the system.
Many commercial buildings worldwide have reaped substantial benefits from BMS implementation. The Empire State Building in New York City, for example, implemented a BMS as part of its energy retrofit program. The outcome was a staggering 38% energy savings, resulting in millions of dollars in cost savings annually.
The future of building management systems
The future of Building Management Systems is a fusion of emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and predictive maintenance. However, a significant trend in the realm of building management is the adoption of building analytics software that works in tandem with a BMS.
Take, for instance, the PEAK Platform by CIM. This innovative software enhances a BMS's capabilities in various noteworthy ways:
- Verifying BMS performance: Rather than relying solely on a BMS—which isn't self-correcting and could potentially function in error—PEAK steps in as an independent auditor. It checks the BMS's performance, ensuring it operates correctly and delivers maximum benefits.
- Prioritizing alerts: PEAK combats the issue of overwhelming data and alarm lists that can often hide crucial information. Its centralized and user-friendly interface prioritizes data, allowing for custom report views and remote issue management.
- Spotting hidden problems early: While a BMS monitors systems and setpoints within a building, PEAK goes one step further. It identifies anomalies and performance downturns, catching potential problems before they worsen.
- Enhancing workflow: PEAK doesn't just supplement BMS data—it provides actionable steps for issue diagnosis and a streamlined workflow for teams to follow. This digital process hastens the completion of critical tasks across the supply chain, enabling real-time collaboration to resolve issues promptly and efficiently.
- Aggregating Multiple BMSs: PEAK is especially beneficial for multi-asset portfolios, as it centralizes data from different BMSs across multiple sites. This comprehensive view provides a holistic understanding of operational performance, facilitating benchmarking and tracking of various parameters, including supply chain performance, thermal comfort, energy consumption, emissions avoidance, and more. This is made possible by PEAK’s independence and BMS-agnostic nature.
For example, Charter Hall, one of PEAK's customers, successfully aggregated data from 13 providers into one platform, providing a seamless transfer of knowledge between sites and Facility Managers and enhancing portfolio visibility.
Building Management Systems are more than just a trend; they are an essential tool for effective building management in the modern world. By investing in a BMS, commercial building owners and managers can ensure they stay ahead of the curve, achieving superior energy efficiency and building performance while enhancing the occupant experience.
Don't miss the chance to enhance your building's efficiency, productivity, and sustainability.
Request a callback today to explore how the PEAK platform can integrate with and complement your existing BMS, ensuring optimal building performance.