Sustainability is primarily driven by environmental attitude and leadership. With various other goals of sustainability, building automation and control systems can help enhance the green status and ensure specific tangible results along with other measures. Building automation has been passively included in the prevailing green certification programs though not directly on fore front. Indirect credits are related to building management system that holds a high potential lies in the system to achieve credible results with existing credit heads for green buildings.

Building Management Systems (BMS) are computer-based control systems with software and hardware applications that control and monitor a building’s mechanical and electrical equipment such as ventilation, lighting, power, fire and security systems. The system originated in the 1970s when energy efficiency started gaining emphasis in the industrial sector. With the advancement of technology, the demand for energy efficiency rose and formulated the onset of BMS. The usage of BMS in green buildings optimized resource efficiency and hence, resulted in intelligent and responsive building systems. The recent boom in green buildings has further accelerated the capabilities of BMS. The mention of intelligent or smart buildings has further evolved the concept of smart city. Thus, the application scale for the system can range from a small scale to large projects.

Incorporating a BMS in a building can effect in an insightful reduction in energy usage with enhanced efficiency. A green building interior work environment of an office space should be efficient, productive, comfortable, safe, healthy and aesthetically pleasing. Planners and designers often design the space to meet the comfort levels and perform with optimum levels for all these factors. Building automation system (BAS) helps them to operate at the right efficiency with reasonable operating costs. The comfort levels are enhanced with the system further enhancing the productivity. The tangible benefits can thus be realized with the system for superior energy efficiency, low operating and maintenance costs, enhanced indoor air quality and enhanced occupant comfort and productivity.

Building Automation System (BAS) includes aspects of green buildings like efficient HVAC system, lighting, envelope, glass etc, and further enhances the performance of these systems through regular control & monitoring. These aspects interlink energy, buildings and the environment together and converge into green and intelligent building concepts. The building management system (BMS) is the key element of ‘intelligent buildings’ as it controls, monitors and optimizes building services operations comprising of lighting, HVAC, security, CCTV & alarm systems, access & attendance system, audio-visual & entertainment systems, filtration and climate control. BMS is now used to automate all resource and gives an evident picture of the usage and savings in a central control server room as well as partial controls. BMS can be integrated in the specific situations like night time purging for cooling the building, chiller management, lighting controls, speed control of chilled water pumps based on heat loads etc. BMS can also help to ensure the comfort and health of a building’s occupants by automatically monitoring the amount of fresh air that enters a space. Sophisticated BMS systems can also track the occupancy status of each zone and accordingly adjust fresh air flow.

The various green building rating systems have also acknowledged the benefits of BMS for the collection and standardization of data to set a threshold of resource usage in any particular typology of buildings and have introduced various points associated to the BMS directly or indirectly.

According to CII IGBC, a fully optimized BMS can save operational energy cost to the extent of 15-20% as compared to a building without BMS. CII-Godrej GBC, which has achieved platinum green certification with LEED USGBC, performed as detailed study of the energy consumption of the building with and without the BMS. The results reveal that there is a clear energy saving of 13%, when BMS is in operation.

Total power consumption: (in defined conditions)

  • Without BMS: 479 kwh/day
    • With BMS: 415 kwh/day
    • Savings: 64 kwh/day

Apart from usage of BMS on a building level, USGBC LEED version 4 has introduced a pilot credit ‘demand response’ in which comprises a central server which collates data for resource usage and formulates strategies on a macro level through load shedding or load shifting. Demand response strategies encourage electricity customers to reduce their usage during peak demand times, helping utilities optimize their supply-side energy generation and delivery systems. The input for this strategy comes from the building management systems directly.

By reducing overall demand for electricity, demand response helps utilities avoid building additional power generation facilities, transmission lines, and distribution stations, thereby, avoiding some of the environmental effects of energy infrastructure and consumption. Demand response also helps balance the contribution of renewable energy sources. For example, on calm days or at night, when renewable sources such as wind and solar are less available, grid operators must either find additional generation sources or influence energy users to lower demand. Demand response achieves the latter, balancing system wide usage and reducing the need for non-renewable backup generation. LEED USGBC promotes a dynamic plaque that is linked to the BMS and everyday results for savings can be monitored. They have additionally facilitated that the rating can be enhanced with better results and a silver project avails the possibility to rise up to platinum level with required results.

The typologies that can include the system ranges for all possible typologies and the system design can be modified on the basis of the requirements. Residential sector systems can focus more towards the safety and environmental control is extreme climates and helps maintain optimum comfort conditions.

Smart buildings are gaining more importance in the construction world due to the flexibility further integration of elements like renewable energy. Standards have evolved to counter the barriers towards integration and hold the abilities to deliver more cost-effective business services. Architectures provide the newest and probably the final step in the evolution by providing a converged network against isolated entities. The adoption of an integrated building architecture provides benefits throughout the building lifecycle to all the users. Today, BMS is not only an added feature but an integral part of the entire building services. In a green building, the system helps to achieve the desired benefits with the certification program and reveal the tangible results with integration.

Hence, an BMS inclusive green building not only has an efficient building envelope, premium star-rated equipment and efficient lighting, but also the systems, controls and automation needed to provide improved scheduling, coordination, optimization, safety and usability, while being in harmony with the environment in total control.

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