Top Tips: Building controls

In our February issue, expert authors shared their thoughts on building controls, and how to make the most of today’s tech. Here’s our summary of their top tips.

1. Make big data smart data

Controls technology such as sensors is gathering huge amounts of data. The secret is to turn this into smart data, by ensuring that it’s all centralised in the BEMS – and this means integrating your building services systems – heating, lighting, cooling. In fact, trying to run these systems separately will almost inevitably lead to inefficiencies as well as discomfort for occupants.

2.  Get into analysis

Once the data is all flowing into a central point, it’s possible to use analysis to pick out the really important information. This can be done in house, but if you haven’t the expertise there are data analytics partners that can help identify areas such as peaks and troughs in energy use, or the fact that heating and lighting are left on when not required.

3. Automation is the future

When smart data is available, it’s possible to automate building controls. Using the smart data, paired with analysis, the system can keep a building in balance – energy efficient and comfortable for occupants.

4. Show building users what’s going on

Energy dashboards are a good way to show building occupants the effects of efficiency strategies. And modern controls technology will give them some level of control over their environment – as long as the automated system returns efficient settings (as users are likely to leave heating or lighting operating when it’s not required).

5. Consider remote control

Although pretty much every building has some sort of control or basic BEMS, it’s often not used optimally. This can be due to lack of in-house expertise, particularly as the work is time-consuming and requires focus to gain all the benefits. For large buildings, or multiple properties, moving energy management via the BEMS to a remote service can make sense. There are many advantages, including access to state-of-the-art monitoring and analysis software. Some controls manufacturers now offer this as a service.

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