Energy concerns drive growth in global market for BEMs

The global BEMS market — Henry Lawson.

The global market for BEMS (building and energy-management systems) could almost double from its present level to over US$6.8 billion by 2020, according to Henry Lawson, a market-research consultant with BSRIA, in a new market report. The European market currently accounts for nearly half the market and is growing at 10% a year. The market in North America is growing faster than that figure, and the rest of the world even faster.

Among the drivers are a near doubling of gas prices in western Europe from 2005 to 2013 and major economies such as Germany becoming increasingly dependent on gas imports from politically sensitive countries such as Russia and the Gulf states — raising the prospect of uncertain supplies.

The rise in electricity prices has been less dramatic, but Germany has committed to shutting down all nuclear power generation by 2020. The UK faces similar challenges as aging coal-fired power stations reach the ends of their lives.

As a consequence, Europe continues to invest in energy efficiency, and there are signs that organisations at all levels are beginning to understand the full potential of BEMSs to save money while meeting obligations and improving the brand.

In North America, the pressure of energy prices has been less relentless, especially since fracking of shale gas has got underway. The proportion of energy used by office buildings has been rising inexorably as energy used in transport, industry and homes has been stable or falling — placing office buildings firmly in the sights of those wanting to make savings. There are also many firms developing innovative energy-management solutions in the USA and Canada.

In the rest of the world, the picture is extremely varied. BEMSs have been widely adopted in developed countries such as Japan and Australia. In major emerging countries such as China, energy has hitherto been seen as less of a problem, but the problem associated with fossil fuels is becoming more pressing.

The report suggests that the most successful companies will be those that can combine innovation in new technologies with an understanding of how a building’s occupants interact with the building and a deep-seated understanding of how buildings function.

The report is available from BSRIA.

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