BMS (building management systems) are not something that is all that new. Controls have been used since the late 1960’s with large pneumatic air compressors to open hot water valves that supply heat to a portion of a school, or close a damper that stops cold air from coming into a hospital. These control systems allowed the heating and cooling equipment to run based on air pressure that was activated by several thermostats in a building.
Now facilities like schools, hospitals, military bases have all but switched all of their temperature controls to BAS (building automation systems). These systems are computer programed controllers that react to reading of not just thermostats, but outdoor air sensors, pressure sensors, and water level sensors. These systems have saved state run facilities millions of dollars in energy costs and significantly decrease the carbon foot print of these facilities as well.
BMS are control systems that instead of just controlling the heating and cooling, they control work orders, payroll, lighting, garbage pick up, and maintenance tasks that would typically take a team of over 20 people just to organize this data. BMS does this virtually automatically and requires two people to run it: The head of maintenance and an IT technician.
Why Is This An Important Green Topic?
This is an extremely important green topic because it is in the plans of the DOE (Department of Energy) to implement some of the strategies in our homes with the new smart grid that is coming out. We will have the option, as homeowners to monitor and possibly control our homes heating, cooling and electrical systems in a more automated fashion than we ever have before. Yes. You can program your thermostat to specific settings, but it is something that many people only partially dig into. Lighting will be something that will be very easy to control under a BMS system. All the data will be right at your fingertips, from the implementation of new, energy saving strategies you have implemented compared to how much you actually saved, to carbon footprint data. This could revolutionize energy use as we know it.
What Is More Likely To Happen
Because this is being pushed through the system and is already being inter grated into large communities on a volunteer basis, the beginning use will have many bugs in the system, and the IT staff and repair technicians will be understaffed. There is also the likelihood of those that are not computer savvy not understanding the operating procedure.
In either case, BMS are great innovations that can make a huge environmental impact when implemented correctly. What remains to be seen is how this will be integrated with smart grid, if it will be integrated, and what the cost will be. These determining factors will determine the success or failure of this program option.