Previously, I’ve talked about the Internet of Things and how it, along with a digital hub, leads to building energy management systems (BEMS) that enable improved connectivity and efficiency, physical and operational comfort, and the connecting of electrical and HVAC systems. As my last post showed, implementing these ideas takes a solution that offers performance, quality and reliability.
You know what else is needed? A broad product portfolio.
To see why, remember that the B in BEMS stands for building. Now, structures last a long time. A typical building can have a useful life, per International Energy Agency reports, of a century or more. The lifecycle of the sensors, valves and actuators that make up the foundation of a BEMS is considerably shorter, as is the useful life of central processors.
A BEMS, as Navigant Research Leaderboard Report: Building Energy Management Systems defines it, directs “automated and/or manual improvements to system operations.” But the technology that allows this to happen is constantly changing and evolving, on timescales that run a few years for software to much longer than that for some hardware and decades for the building itself.
So, what does all this mean for innovation in the BEMS space? Well, there will be entirely new installations, from either a new building or a complete retrofit/upgrade. But, what will happen more often is a partial retrofit, with some systems and components replaced while others remain largely untouched.
So, when a solution is being devised, it may demand a wide array of sensors, actuators, valves and other fundamental components. Having a broad portfolio of these available increases the likelihood that something will be appropriate for a given situation. Similarly, a comprehensive choice of processors and software improves the odds of a successful solution.
An extensive portfolio of BEMS products leads to other innovation-related benefits. A building energy management system is a system of systems, including electrical and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). They work together to make buildings more comfortable and occupants 27% happier – which turns out to be about the reduction in operating expenses. Studies indicated that comfortable and satisfied people are more productive.
Like a BEMS, the parts of a product portfolio also work together. A more capable sensor, for instance, may better capture when a room is occupied and when it is not. That, in turn, allows a controller to more effectively cycle a fan on or off, with a more efficient fan moving air for less energy than a less efficient one. So, a broad portfolio can expand the innovative ways in which a challenge can be overcome. That makes it easier to develop a solution, particularly one optimized to give the best possible results within budget and time constraints.
Our SmartStruxure solution for large and critical buildings as well as our SmartStruxure Lite for small and medium buildings are part of a broad product portfolio. The size of the catalog backing such offerings up is important to keep in mind when looking at them or any BEMS.