|Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) provide value in four categories: visualization and reporting, fault detection and diagnostics, predictive maintenance and continuous improvement, and optimization. They provide the information and the tools that building managers need both to understand the energy usage of their buildings and to control and improve their buildings’ energy performance. As the cost of supplemental monitoring and control devices continues to decrease, BEMSs are becoming more cost-effective options for a broader set of customers. The market landscape continues to evolve as trends such as corporate awareness of the Internet of Things (IoT) and demand for data-driven decision support tools facilitate the adoption of BEMS. Solutions may span across these offering categories or provide tools for one specific offering, and they vary in technology maturity based on functionality and integration. This variability in solution design and functionality reflects the newness of the market and diverse customer needs.
Managing the energy and other needs in buildings efficiently and intelligently can have considerable benefits. A building energy management system (BEMS) is a sophisticated method to monitor and control the building's energy needs. Next to energy management, the system can control and monitor a large variety of other aspects of the building regardless of whether it is residential or commercial. Examples of these functions are heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), lighting or security measures. BEMS technology can be applied in both residential and commercial buildings. The teaser image illustrates several of the different functions a BEMS can monitor and control. Video 1 shows the possibilities for a home energy management system.
Buildings’ energy consumption in the EU represents about 30% of total EU energy consumption and between 25 and 40% in OECD countries (OECD, 2003). Developing countries have a less efficient building stock where it is even more important to improve on building energy efficiency. In the EU-25, in 2003 total CO2 emissions amounted to 3.8 Gtonnes of which 479 Mtonnes were household emissions (12%) (EU, 2005). In the UK, the domestic sector represents about 28% of CO2 emissions and within that space heating is 53%, lighting and appliances 22%, and water heating 20%. Cooking contributes only 5% (UK DTI, 2006). Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) control the functions of the building, allowing a smooth operation and efficient functioning of the building. This description elaborates on the BEMS technology.
The IEA (1997) uses the following description of a BEMS: "an electrical control and monitoring system that has the ability to control monitoring points and an operator terminal. The system can have atrributes from all facets of building control and management functions such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) to lighting, fire alarm system, security, maintenance and energy management. Another common description is that BEMSs are control systems for individual buildings or groups of buildings that use computers and distributed microprocessors for monitoring, data storage and communication (Levermore, 2000). Other terms frequently used for this technology are Building Management System (BMS) and Energy Management System (EMS).
As such, the BEMS technology is a broad concept of building control, and can have a variety of characteristics. However, the term BEMS is limited to use for sophisticated and advanced control systems (IEA, 1997). Therefore, while all buildings require and have some form of control system, BEMS technology is substantially different from previous control systems. The main point in which a BEMS differs from other control systems is the characteristic of communication: information of the processes and functions of the building can be received and controlles at a central, single operating unit. Therefore, decisions can be made based upon the received information (IEA, 1997). This is a critical aspect of a BEMS as it allows for optimization of the system. For instance, the central and single operating unit can receive information of temperature and building occupancy and can make the decision to lower the temperature in parts of the building that are not occupied. These decisions, therefore can increase energy efficiency.
Key vendors: Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Schneider Electric, Siemens