Heating, cooling, lights, and fire-safety. Those are just a few of the systems commercial buildings use to keep their tenants safe and comfortable. Many buildings have even more systems on top of those, such as security and elevators.
All those systems can be difficult to manage efficiently. Each has its own interface, controls, and energy demands. And, as systems age, they become less and less efficient, needing more maintenance just to function correctly.
That creates a challenge for building owners and managers. How does a handful of people – sometimes just one person – keep every system running efficiently while dealing with the myriad of other responsibilities that come with managing a building?
A building energy management system (BEMS) is one solution. A BEMS is an application that monitors and controls building systems that use energy, including every system mentioned above. BEMS applications have four key benefits.
1. Simpler, More Efficient Management
Building energy management software consolidates all building systems into a single application to make them easier to monitor and control. Heating, cooling, lighting, elevators, security, fire-safety, and other components are all included in the BEMS toolkit.
Putting multiple systems into a single application streamlines management and reduces the amount of time employees spending switching between systems. They can easily view the entire building’s energy use, including how much energy each system is using, for a complete view of the building’s efficiency. If they need to make an adjustment, they can do so immediately through the BEMS.
2. Reduced Energy Consumption
BEMS software’s end goal is to improve energy efficiency. Since 30 percent of energy use in commercial buildings is wasted,¹ this usually means lowering overall energy consumption.
A building energy management system reduces energy consumption through monitoring and analysis of temperature, the environment, and internal energy use. Data is combined into reports, graphs, and charts to show how energy use changes over time. Then the system analyzes data to detect energy drifts and areas of high use that can be corrected for better efficiency.
This system of collecting data, analyzing information, and making improvement can significantly reduce energy use. Customers who use this tactic with Nokia’s Smart Building Energy Management System, for instance, have seen up to 53 percent energy savings.
3. Smaller Carbon Footprint, Sustainability Certifications, and Marketing
Reduced energy consumption also means a reduced carbon footprint, so many businesses use BEMS software to increase their sustainability.
Sustainability is often a standalone goal for building owners and managers, but it can also be beneficial to their bottom line. A BEMS and lower energy consumption can help buildings obtain sustainability and energy certifications that can be used in marketing and social responsibility messages, for instance. Marketing the building and business as environmentally-friendly could be the push consumers and building tenants need to choose one building or business over its competitors.
4. Lower Utility Bills and Building Ownership Expenses
Reduced energy use naturally results in lower utility bills. As owners use building energy management systems to increase energy efficiency they can expect utility bills to drop, sometimes resulting in savings of thousands of dollars every year.
Using energy efficiently also means you’re using your building’s systems, like heating and cooling, more effectively. That reduces stress on each system, cutting down on maintenance needs. Over time reduced maintenance and properly functioning systems can greatly decrease the overall cost of building ownership.
Get More Benefits with a Smart Building Energy Management System
Commercial buildings have been using BEMS software to improve energy efficiency and cut costs for years. But while BEMS software isn’t new, it is adapting as new technology enters the market. For example, more advanced systems are now taking advantage of the IoT and smart technology to provide even more benefits for buildings.
A smart building energy management system will not only help you see the four benefits above, it will also help you predict energy consumption patterns and provide smart, automated energy policies and alerts. These features can help increase energy savings even more and reduce the time building staff spends managing energy use.
These systems will only continue to improve as devices become smarter and more connected, so keep an eye on emerging technology. The smarter BEMS applications become, the more likely it is that their benefits – including energy, cost, and time savings – will increase.