Building Management

Software Improves Building Systems Connectivity and Efficiency

In my previous post, I talked about how the IoT – the Internet of Things – means there will soon be many more connected sensors and devices. Within a few years, the ratio of devices to humans could be 10 to 1. That’s a daunting statistic. For Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS), this means there will be much more data available than ever before. Consequently, that information could be used to increase energy and operational efficiency.

However, there’s a big “if” implied here. Simply having connected devices isn’t enough. They must be tied together in a manner that enables communicative-connectivity. This means you must have the right software in place. The reasons for this can be seen in the definition of a building energy management system, which as Navigant Research states in their Leaderboard Report “Building Energy Management Systems,” is IT based. Using this approach, a BEMS enhances and improves the communication capabilities of sensing, control, and automation hardware to direct automated and/or manual improvements to building system operations.

IT solutions include a significant amount of software. Gartner says that direct software spending accounts for nearly 15% of all IT spending worldwide, with the tally being even higher once software-related services are considered. So, a good part of what makes a BEMS worthwhile is the software within it, and the nature of that software impacts the quality of the management system.

The right software has the potential to expand connectivity to new areas, extending it beyond the building control system. Increasing the scope of connections has the potential to deliver other benefits. Data on weather, electricity pricing and predictions of occupancy levels are just some of the other areas where better connected software can provide a boost to a building’s performance and cut operational costs. For example, knowing when occupancy levels are reduced, building operators can program the BEMS to put part of a building into a temperature setback, potentially producing a savings of up to 10% in heating and cooling a year, with more savings possible through changes in lighting and ventilation.

Achieving these and other improvements in efficiency is particularly important because building energy demands are projected to grow significantly. Currently, buildings consume 53% of the world’s electricity. Trend lines are forecasting an increase of 80%, due to growth in urbanization. The number of people who live in cities will rise from 54% of the population today to 66% in a few short decades. Moreover, there are carbon emission targets to consider. Consequently, buildings must become three times as efficient.

The right software can be an important part of the solution. Our experience is that the combination of more sensors along with the proper software and control strategies can cut a building’s energy consumption by nearly 77% – more than a three-fold efficiency improvement.

To reap these levels of energy efficiency, you need a BEMS solution that comes with the right software. Explore SmartStruxure for large and critical buildings. If small and medium buildings are your focus, discover solutions with SmartStruxure Lite.

The subject of my next post in this series looks at the impact of software and technology on physical and operational comfort. Look for it soon.

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