Do you know that there is a difference between Building Automation Systems and Energy Management Systems?
Most people are under the impression that these terms are synonymous and use them interchangeably. Energy Management is a collection of strategies used to optimize a Building Automation System (BAS). The BAS is a tool used to carry out this collection of strategies. This collection of Energy Management Strategies is what creates substantial energy savings. Most buildings that have a BAS are not optimized.
It is often thought that when you repair your failed devices, your Energy Management is increased. While this may be true, you also want to make sure that you are using your Building Automation Systems for increased energy savings, as repairing failed devices plays only a small role in your Energy Management Strategies.
The common theme with these strategies is to reduce the output of the HVAC systems whenever possible while still maintaining comfort. Most Modern HVAC Systems and Subsystems are modulating, meaning their output can be adjusted 0-100%. While continually monitoring the building demand, we dynamically adjust the setpoints to an optimal value that will operate the HVAC systems at a capacity equal to the building load. This dynamic optimization is what generates the energy savings.
The number one reason that energy management is not implemented is COST. Cost can be broken into variables for explanation purposes.
1) Most control work, especially new construction is awarded to the lowest bidder.
2) The implementation of Energy Management is labor intensive.
3) Although there may be energy management strategies written in the specifications, it is rarely verified or enforced.
4) Control contractors are aware of this and therefore do not complete this aspect of the system.
The second reason Energy Management is not implemented is due to the lack of expertise. It takes advanced system knowledge to successfully implement these strategies while maintaining occupant comfort and unfortunately, most control contractors lack the qualified personnel to complete this type of work.
Although the strategies may seem simple in theory, the proper execution of them is not. Each building reacts differently and must be individually tuned to perform properly. The individual strategies must be tuned to compliment the collection, otherwise they can fight each other and produce poor results. Stay tuned for more information on maintaining your Energy Management System once you have one in place!