As the world is transitioning to more sustainable, reliable, and affordable energy by optimizing, synchronizing, and intelligently controlling smart grids, building energy management solutions is very essential to make clean energy production more predictable, efficient and cost effective, while accelerating the mission to end global dependence on fossil fuels.
What is a “Building Energy Management System”?
A “building energy management system” (BEMS) is a computer-based system that monitors and controls a building’s electrical and mechanical equipment, such as lighting, power systems, heating, and ventilation. BEMS are sophisticated systems that integrate several different elements – including hardware, software, and information and communication technologies – for monitoring, automating, managing, and controlling the energy requirements of buildings.
What is the purpose of a BEMS?
A BEMS is one of the many tools that can be used to operate buildings more efficiently. The goal of a BEMS is to turn a building into a “smart” building. The concept of BEMS plays a vital role in managing energy demand. Growth in technological advancement has made building energy management systems a vital component for managing energy demand, particularly in large and multi-building sites (e.g., hospitals, hotels, universities, high-tech industrial parks, shopping malls, and major manufacturing sites).
How does a BEMS work?
The BEMS is connected to the building’s service plant and back to a central computer to allow control of on/off times for temperatures, lighting, humidity, etc. Thus, one key element of a BEMS is the microcomputer system that automatically monitors and controls energy-consuming electrical and mechanical equipment such as thermostats, HVAC, and lighting within a single building or a group of buildings in order to enhance energy-efficiency and comfort. Generally, hubs around the building are linked to a central supervisory computer where building operators control the building’s power usage. The building energy management software provides control functions, monitoring, and alarms, and allows the operators to make adjustments to enhance building energy performance. Components such as air conditioners, lighting, boilers, water heaters, elevators, plumbing, and sanitation equipment all can be controlled through the BEMS.
Why do we need BEMSs?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, commercial buildings consume almost 20 percent of the energy produced nationally, and commercial and residential buildings together produce approximately 38 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, building energy efficiency presents a great opportunity to reduce energy use and resulting environmental impacts.
The BEMS business has become a multi-billion dollar industry and is continuing to experience explosive growth. According to one estimate, the global BEMS industry is expected to reach US$8.4 billion by the year 2027. The growth in the market will be driven by the growing regulatory pressure to curb energy wastage in buildings; evolution of smart building technologies and their role in pushing up the property value of buildings; legislation of new green building codes; and the growth of IT and cloud computing.
The BEMS industry can viewed as segmented based its various types of components: sensors, controllers, software, batteries, display devices, etc. The sensors segment is the largest segment at present, accounting a majority of the market share of the industry. Many also expect the software segment to see major growth over the next several years (e.g., some companies have developed sector-specific software platforms that help organizations develop and run algorithms for optimized solutions). BEMS also is advancing rapidly with the incorporation of cloud computing technologies, which has allowed BEMS functions to expand beyond conventional energy monitoring and analytics into include demand response and other “next generation” functions.