A Guide to Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS)

Buildings have become an integral part of the landscape in cities. The purposes of these buildings can range from residential to commercial to institutional. And like every infrastructure, these buildings rely on energy to function properly.

The energy consumption in buildings constitutes about 40% of the total energy consumption in the EU. (Source) And considering a 30% of that energy is wasted (Source), the need for smart systems that can save some of that energy in buildings becomes more vital.


Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) for better energy efficiency

A building has various devices or applications that require energy for them to operate. And for a better use of energy, these wide range of energy consuming outlets need to be integrated into a system, which not only gathers information about the energy usage but also gives the building manager the ability to control them. Building Energy Management Systems, also known as BEMS, does exactly that.

Some of the most common applications that are integrated in to BEMS for their energy optimisation include heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, lighting, and other power systems. These are usually the primary aspects of a building whose energy usage needs to managed.


BEMS, a system focused only on a building’s energy needs and optimisation

Building energy management systems, as the name suggests, are focused primarily on the energy aspects of a building. They enable building managers to get an overview of how the consumption of energy within a building takes place and monitor in real time. BEMS are also programmed to identify and recommend possible actions that can improve the energy efficiency of buildings.

Building managers, with the data on energy consumption and suggestions from the BEMS, can make better decisions about the next actions to improve the building’s energy performance that do not interfere with the regular functioning and energy needs in the building. The BEMS also provide tools to execute these decisions, thereby giving the managers the control needed to improve the building’s energy performance.

But what about the other aspects of a building that are not energy related?


Building Management System, for a holistic control of a building

Besides energy, there are other concerns that also need to be addressed and monitored for a building’s optimal operation. Functions such as fire and smoke detection, CCTV, access controls, alarms, and lifts are some of the few that do not directly fall under the energy management category.

Having an overview and control of these varied functions also is a necessity in modern buildings. And for that, Building Management Systems (BMS) are the ideal installations within a building. Some of these functions can be automated as well to make the building manager’s work easier. Therefore they are also known as Building Automation Systems (BAS).

These systems offer flexibility, simplicity, and security to the overarching operations of a building to ensure that the people inside the building have a pleasant and safe experience.


Building Management System (BMS) vs Building Energy Management System (BEMS)

Building Management System (BMS) can be considered as the broader concept that considers every aspect of operations that happen and needs to happen within a building. Apart from operational efficiency, it looks at security and comfort offered within the building.

While Building Energy Management System (BEMS) is a subset of this holistic system whose main objective is to focus on the energy consumption within the building and offer the building manager the tools to understand the building’s energy performance and improve it. Thus, it aids in having more savings on the building’s expenses on energy and make it more sustainable.

With the right integrations and programming, a BMS can also be a BEMS.


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