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BCIA: 'BEMs data key to energy management'

Speakers at the Ecobuild 2013 ‘Buildings in use’ seminar have stressed the use of data from building energy management systems (BEMS) to assist energy-reduction strategies.

Ian Ellis, president of the Building controls Industry Association (BCIA), chaired the opening session on building controls and energy management.

In his presentation, Mr Ellis said: “BEMS are not a fit-and-forget technology. Continuous monitoring of the data they provide on energy use is essential to keep buildings performing energy efficiently in the long-term.”

Simon Parsons of IBM Global Business Services agreed: “Data from the BEMS is a valuable business asset. Building operators should apply advanced analytics to it, and build on that information for benchmarking, for example.

“Beyond that, it is also possible to move on to predictive analysis about how a building will use energy going forward. That increases the return on investment of property as an asset.”

Cal Bailey, sustainability director of NG Bailey, stated that it was possible to gather data on building energy use that was not currently being used as a resource.

“The challenge for building owners is that after a certain point, energy savings start to slow or they don’t stick. Continuous commissioning is key, because greater savings can be achieved, and retained,” he said.

William Box, principal of monitoring specialist Carnego Systems, also agreed that on energy use data should be regarded as  a business tool: “The cost of collecting data has now reduced so much that it’s worth collecting as much as possible.”

However, Mr Box did also point out that the people who occupy and use buildings should not be overlooked. “Users should not be regarded as separate from the building. They are part of the system and should be involved in energy efficiency strategies.”

Mr Ellis pointed out that good data can be used to show the financial value of energy-saving strategies. “We are looking at a virtuous energy circle. Data on energy use shows where it can be saved; action can be taken on that basis; and then data will indicate the level of saving. It is a process of continuous improvement in which the whole-life costs of BEMS need to be considered from the outset.”

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