Monday, May 30, 2016

How Does Your Energy Management System Make You Feel?

Monitoring and controlling energy and water usage in buildings is an extremely hot topic these days.  As costs continue to rise for electricity, gas, and water most organizations are looking for ways to reduce these costs – automated ways that really work.

One conventional approach may be as simple as conducting an energy audit of the facility and then implementing policies designed to reduce usage on an ongoing basis.  Checking the utility bill each month should confirm that the measures are still working.  But what if they are not?  If one or more of the reduction methods did not occur as planned it may be too late, the money has been spent, the resources wasted.  Mistakes will happen, so a certain amount of contingency may already be in the budget to cover overruns.  But does it have to be that way?  Shouldn’t there be a way to put affordable checks and balances in place which give us confidence that the plan is working?

Another method, for buildings which have a computerized control system, an energy management or a building management system (EMS or BMS), would be to have out of compliance conditions texted or emailed to key personnel.  Automated warnings or alarms could be sent out automatically and early enough so personnel can correct problems and maintain savings or minimize excess usage.

But what about automation, automation that really works?  Shouldn’t today’s EMS be sophisticated enough to do all this without human intervention?  The simple answer is yes, however the right level of system design, installation and maintenance must be in place.

This is where it begins to get complicated.  The majority of installed EMS are not necessarily “hardened”.  Companies will budget a significant amount of both capital and operational dollars to ensure that their information technology (IT) systems are both redundant (for reliability) and hardened (for security).  Many of the IT systems are monitored 24x7 whether by personnel or automated methods to ensure proper functionality.  But what about the EMS?

The EMS is often one of the last systems to be installed at a facility.  It most likely came with the HVAC equipment and was designed by an engineering firm to use the proper amount of energy in order to keep the occupants comfortable during typical weather patterns for the area.  So it should be able to automatically adjust itself as needed to make this happen, forever.  What happens if something goes wrong?  What if the building’s occupancy or use changes?  Is there sufficient staff to react if alarms or warnings are annunciated from the EMS?

Our experience shows that most buildings do not have personnel dedicated to monitoring their EMS.  Or if they do these people are also responsible for many other building operations from janitorial and landscaping, to security and IT.  There is too much on their “plates” to analyze the daily operation of the EMS.  Their focus tends to driven by hot and cold complaints from occupants rather than ensuring the system as a whole is operating as efficiently as possible.

So what is the answer?  You’ve invested in a computer controlled EMS for your building.  Some months your energy and water usage is right where you expect it to be; but every once in a while you still see excessive use and higher bills.  What are you missing?  How can you get the peace of mind you deserve?

The answer is BMS Assurance™ from energy etc.

BMS Assurance is a subscription based service from energy etc that will give you confidence that your systems are performing as you intend them to be.
Customers choose from a menu of services that our automation engineers will perform so you can be assured that your EMS is lowering your energy bills while increasing customer satisfaction.

Sign up for energy etc’s BMS Assurance program and gain the peace of mind you deserve.

Choose Your Level of Assurance

       Base service:
            Once daily system review, priority access to Help Desk
            includes 2 hours of support per month.

       Additional Help Desk hours:
            Purchase extra 1 hour blocks of support.
       Manage server operating system software:
            Stay up to date with patches and updates, hardware checks.

       Manage server BMS application software:
            Patches and updates, backups, database management

       Additional daily checks:
            Morning and afternoon, weekends, holidays.

       Active system management:
            Energy management, critical system tuning, fault analysis.

       Many customizable options to fit your situation:
Contact to design and price your BMS Assurance plan (Brochure)


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