Tag Archives: energy efficiency

Energy Efficiency — Pumps Ahead of the Curve

Dr Sönke Brodersen, President, Europump

It also presents an ideal time to recall the pump industry’s early and continued contribution to energy savings, which has not only been significant to date, but is also realistic and achievable over the short-term, writes Dr Sönke Brodersen, President, Europump.

By way of example, water pumps have the potential to save 50TWh of electricity across Europe, which is equivalent to the power plants. Even though the pump industry’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) is smaller than other sectors, by comparison, the energy consumption of pumping systems is much higher. It ranges from 10-15% of throughout Europe. That is why the energy saving potential of pumping systems is extremely high at absolute level and why pump manufacturers place a great deal of importance on it.

Energy efficiency is, and always has been, a major part of the business model adopted by pump manufacturers. So, it is no wonder that the EU Commission, in its efforts to reduce energy consumption, considered regulating pumps at an early stage in the process.

See the full 4-page pdf at

Innovative Lighting Solutions

David Vaughan, Managing Director, Lightsolutions

With the EU’s Green Deal and Renovation Wave initiative now recognising the need for energy saving solutions to also consider health and wellbeing, lighting is fast emerging as a key element in delivering this objective.

It is now well documented that lighting affects everything from peoples’ work performance through to their sleep patterns, and even recovery from illness, an issue that is particularly to the fore as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Consultants are increasingly engaging with lighting specialists when devising lighting solutions, and especially so with experienced firms offering full turnkey services. David Vaughan, Managing Director Lightsolutions, offers some advice.

See full article at link below.

Lighting Solutions


Grant — ‘Holistic approach more essential than ever’

Representing an investment of €14 million, the new facilities include an R&D innovation centre, a customer services centre, a dedicated training academy featuring an auditorium and training suite, and an extension to the existing manufacturing facilities which has also seen further investment in robotics and automation.

The official opening was performed by An Taoiseach, Mr Leo Varadkar, TD, who said: “My vision for the future of the Midlands begins with companies like Grant Engineering. They have developed a state-of-the-art facility to develop and manufacture environmentally-efficient heating products for the 21st century. With this type of vision and investment, the future for the Midlands is bright.”

Grant Engineering’s expansion plans were first announced in 2016 in response to increased demand for the company’s heating products on a local and international level. In recent years Grant has enjoyed considerable success in Ireland, the UK and further afield including France, Greece and New Zealand. It has

also diversified its product portfolio to meet the changing needs of its customers around the globe.

Grant Engineering founder Stephen Grant told Building Services News: “This investment demonstrates our commitment to innovation, growth and to the local economy. In recent years we have expanded into new markets and developed new products to meet the needs of our customer base. Our focus on sustainability continues to grow and to help achieve decarbonisation. Home heating fuel needs to follow in the footsteps of transport and transition to electric or 100% biofuel heating.

“This is impossible to do in the short to medium term in an affordable way. However, the introduction of a ‘Biofuel Obligation’ for home heating could enable homes to become sustainable. We have future-proofed our products over the last five years so that they can operate using biofuel but, to aid transition and further reduce emissions, we need the support of fuel suppliers and government.

“Accelerating the electrification of heat is another way to aid transition and this is helped by current building regulations with new houses being predominately fitted with a heat pump. We have been supplying air to water heat pumps for nearly 10 years and these appliances are ideal for new-build homes where the house design is specifically matched to the heat pump.

“However, there is a huge issue for deployment of heat pumps to the retrofit market which is based on the affordability of deep retrofitting which can cost up to €70k. Together with my R&D team, I am excited to announce that we have developed new hybrid technology called EVOLINK which will be available later this year”.

Getting into the flow at Grundfos

Dan Sykes, newly-appointed Grundfos Marketing Project Manager

Grundfos Ireland has appointed Dan Sykes as its new Marketing Project Manager. With a decade of marketing experience under his belt, Dan has worked in a variety of B2B and B2C industries including real estate, web hosting and business software.

When asked about his thoughts on joining Grundfos, Dan said: “I’m delighted to be part of such an innovative and socially-responsible company. What Grundfos is doing for the climate and global water crisis is exceptional and I’m excited to be part of a process that makes homes and businesses more energy efficient using Grundfos technology.”

Born and raised in Hamilton, ON, Canada, Dan attended McMaster University where he studied English, communications and marketing. He has worked in Canada, England and Ireland, and now brings this combined experience to his new role.

Aircon delivers perfect data centre solution

Some of the Panasonic GHP units installed on the roof of the Concentrix building by
Aircon Sales and Service of Belfast.

Given this emphasis on quality, Aircon only partners with brand-leading product suppliers. Panasonic is a prime example of this and over the years Ian and Vincent Mahony from Panasonic have worked closely on securing and executing a broad cross-section of commercial projects.

One of the most recent is the Concentrix Call Centre in Belfast. This was a very challenging project but, by working closely together, consultants Beattie Flannigan, mechanical contractors Harvey Group and Aircon Contracts’ Manager Stevie McGarry devised and delivered the perfect solution.

The design brief was to provide cooling to a new call centre located on the old Maysfield Leisure Centre site in Belfast. Cooling was required because of the shortage of electrical power to the site. The electrical power requirement in the building was at a premium because of the nature of Concentrix’s business with an enormous power load needed for lighting, computers, servers etc. This requirement was further compounded by the high sensible heat gains generated by the large volumes of computers and lighting, not to mention a staff complement approaching 1500 people. ServerMania dedicated hosting Server can be customized to meet the needs of your business. Choose from a wide variety of base configurations before customizing the hardware and software for your applications. Dedicated hosting and shared server hosting are perhaps the 2 most used hosting services ever for running an online business. Dedicated web hosting comes with many benefits, and the biggest one is completed freedom to use every single resources of a single server dedicated to the entire website. Unlike shared hosting, this hosting has one server assigned to a particular website, which the website developer uses to upload his/her website files with complete control and freedom. Who needs such type of hosting? Those companies and websites having gigabytes of data with thousands of images pictures, videos and multimedia content along with hundreds of pages require faster loading times and the best server uptime guarantees. Dedicated hosting has one server with customer defined specifications put to the entire website usage. For other websites having huge volumes of data that need good and reliable hosting but cannot afford buy dedicated servers, use shared servers for their websites. Knownhost Dedicated Hosting allows individuals and business to let out pre-configured, connectivity and state-of-the-art equipment from a hosting service provider. Rather than simply sharing server space on a virtual server, dedicated hosting gives you the prospect to lease an entire server for your own exclusive use. A dedicated hosting involves the leasing of a complete server from a dedicated server host company. The hosting company takes the ownership, maintains, and also backs up the server while ensuring all the security, power supervision, and all other aspects of maintaining a data center. The site developer is solely responsible for the entire web server software issues. Dedicated services also comprise the lease of connectivity and pre-configured equipment from a hosting provider. The connectivity and equipment are fully controlled by the hosting firm; it also provides the customers with a customized Web server with a first-class data center facilities. The need for dedicated hosting arises out of the enlargement of the site with web developers, often moving to more sophisticated technologies which require extensive use of system resources and bigger bandwidth to serve the technology to a web browser. Considering this increased need for resources, having an entire server for your site often serves better. A dedicated hosting is also an alternative for reseller hosting businesses. With a dedicated server, you can have total control over your Web existence. You can select the software and operating system you want to use, and personalized settings for your e-commerce and multimedia requirements. Dedicated servers is also a good option for customers that require custom software or better server control but do not want to make the considerable up-front investment essential in purchasing a server.

The solution the team devised was based on larger numbers of indoor units of a lower capacity being used due to the low ceiling heights, while just under 1.2MW of Panasonic DX gas fired cooling was provided, using somewhere between 20kW and 25kW of electrical input. Full details of the equipment specifi ed were:

• 155 Panasonic VRF cassette indoor units to serve all call centre and meeting room areas;

• 13 Panasonic gas heat pump 3-pipe VRF outdoor units serving the indoors;

• Five Panasonic gas heat pump 2-pipe VRF outdoor units to server AHU DX;

• Panasonic centralised and full Modbus BMS control;

• 19 Panasonic split Hi Wall systems to serve various small UPS and comms rooms;

• Panasonic Air Off Control employed to provide a very high sensible heat ratio, 90%+;

• All indoor units were sized to meet duty at medium speed.

The Concentrix was a very complex and challenging project requiring a sophisticated solution that was high-performing, cost-effective, energy-efficient and 100% reliable. Between them the collective supplier, design and contracting team came up with the perfect answer and saw to its seamless installation and subsequent commissioning.

Million Home Retrofit Opportunity

Denis Naughten, TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment with Jim Gannon, Chief Executive, SEAI and Ms Victoria Burrows, Project Manager, World Green Building Council.

To tackle this challenge and to support the learning process, SEAI has unveiled the Deep Retrofit Pilot Programme, with support funding from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment. This new multi-annual pilot programme – with an initial budget

of €5 million in 2017 – will focus initially on the residential market and reflects both the depth and scale of the challenge which will require a broad multi-disciplinary approach.

The pilot is the first of SEAI’s multi-annual pilots which will investigate the challenges and opportunities that deep retrofit presents to the pre-2006 domestic housing stock. The learning from these pilots will inform SEAI’s approach and support towards the large-scale deep retrofit of buildings in Ireland.

Funding will be provided to projects that demonstrate an integrated, comprehensive strategy for significantly improving home energy performance. Conor Hanniffy is the Programme Manager for the scheme. With a background in mechanical engineering, Conor has over 18 years programme management experience in private and public sectors. He previously managed SEAI’s Accelerated Capital Allowance Programme for energy efficient equipment, and the Building Energy Rating (BER) Programme.

To support the early development of the Deep Retrofit Pilot Programme, SEAI has published both a definition, and the guiding principles, behind the concept to assist in providing a clear market target. Guidance underpinning high-quality delivery of deep retrofit pilot projects will include Standard Recommendations 54 (SR 54).

What is deep retrofit?                                                                                                                                         Deep retrofit is the significant upgrade of a building toward nearly zero energy requirements where it is practically feasible and achievable. SEAI has also provided the following guiding principles to support this definition:

— Minimum A3 Building Energy Rating (A3) requirement with a minimum of 150kWh/m2/yr uplift in the BER energy value;

— Whole-house solution focused on a fabric first approach;

— Deployment of renewables transition away from fossil fuels. The pilot scheme will only support renewable energy sources as a method for heating and electricity generation.

Who is scheme aimed at?                                                                                                                                   With a target market of one million homes, the pilot scheme will target building archetypes which are representative of building stock. SEAI invites projects to be delivered via community groups, local authorities, energy agencies and private-sector deep retrofit service providers who can provide end-to-end project delivery.

How are the projects funded?                                                                                                                               SEAI will provide up to 50% funding of the total capital costs and project management costs (including design fees). For voluntary housing association homes, and the homes of those that are in energy poverty (defined as meeting the Warmer Homes eligibility criteria), SEAI will provide a much higher rate of funding, up to 95%. This is only available as part of a wider project that includes a mix of non-energy poverty homes (75%) with the energy poverty component subvention applied to 25% of the total number of homes in each project.

The pilot provides an opportunity to show how the deep retrofit of dwellings can be achieved using a “fabric upgrade first” approach (insulation, windows and doors) coupled with renewable energy technologies. It will also provide an opportunity to demonstrate the  importance of ventilation systems for ensuring sufficient indoor air quality where the building’s airtightness has been improved.

SEAI will also provide a significant contribution to a mandatory pre-works and post-works BER to demonstrate the upgrade, and an air-pressure test package to maximise the impact of energy efficiency works.

Toward zero deep retrofit conference                                                                                                               SEAI recently hosted its inaugural deep retrofit conference which brought together over 200 key stakeholders. This included policy-makers, state bodies, researchers, project managers, property owners and landlords, technology providers, financiers and contractors.

This event will act as an annual review and information sharing platform as to best practice and innovation, research findings and delivery of deep retrofit in Ireland across all demographic areas, technologies and building types.

A broad range of international and national speakers shared insights and experience from the following perspectives — vision and policy; behavioural insights; building capacity; and leveraging the opportunity.

All presentations and the recorded webcast are available at:—                               www.seai.ie/Grants/Deep-Retrofit-Programme/

Home Heating Heroes Do It Best!

Joe Durkan, EEOS Programme Manager, SEAI

Plumbers and installers are the “go-to” guys in these situations. Whether it is emergency repairs, upgrades or a completely new installation, homeowners rely on their knowledge and expertise to advise them on the right approach. They represent the interface between  the home owner and the wider world of energy efficiency. They have become, in a sense, energy ambassadors.

This is because, in order to ensure that the heating system is correctly specified, the plumber first needs to be able to accurately determine the actual heating demand of the home based on the details of the property and the needs of the occupant – if you need an Emergency Plumber check out this site – This is where a great opportunity lies, because in order to calculate the heating load, the specifier needs to assess the building fabric, ventilation system and existing distribution system in the dwelling.

In the case of new or yet to be built dwellings, all of the information to determine this data should be readily to hand. Details of the construction, such as the levels of insulation, build type, ventilation systems etc, should all be known and these, in conjunction with the Building Energy Rating (BER) heat loss calculations, will help accurately determine what the heating requirement will be. Whenever there are repairs needed, they hire the heating repair services in sacramento ca because they offer the best services.

However, the majority of heating system installations are more likely to fall into replacements or upgrades. In these cases, especially when a BER isn’t readily available, the specifier has to determine the heating demand the old fashioned way. CIBSE’s Domestic Heating Design Guide (www. cibse.org/knowledge/knowledge-items/ detail?id=a0q20000008I7odAAC) is the key tool in these situations. The guide shows how to identify the principle heat loss areas in the dwelling, and how to calculate the relevant u-values, ventilation rates and distribution losses necessary to determine the heating requirements of each room and the overall hot water and space heating demand.

Minimising this overall heat demand is the key to an economical and efficient heating solution. Ultimately, the type of heat source is secondary to the more important considerations of ensuring that the heat demand can be met efficiently and economically, and that all elements are installed to the proper standards.

The information gleaned in the initial the homeowner could carry out, such as insulation or controls upgrades, that will reduce the overall heating demand. This is the opportune time to consider these works, and carrying them out in conjunction with the heating system upgrade will be more economical. The overall result will be greatly-improved levels of comfort and reduced heating bills (courtesy of the appropriately-sized heating system).

Almost certainly, the new heat supply (whether it’s a boiler, stove or heat pump) will require a lower rated heat output than the unit it is replacing. This is because the overall efficiency of heating appliances has improved dramatically over the last number of years. Therefore, it is vital that the installer accurately determines  the heat load required to ensure that  the replacement unit is correctly sized to operate at maximum efficiency.

Click on the image right and see full article on Pages 14 and 15.

(Related post: Contact a Regents Park plumber for your plumbing woes)

Strengthened portfolio expands GT Phelan offering

Derek Phelan, Sales & Marketing Director with Kevin Phelan, Operations & Service Director, and Rodney Phelan, Managing Director.

Derek Phelan, Sales & Marketing Director with Kevin Phelan, Operations & Service Director, and
Rodney Phelan, Managing Director.

Already synonymous with Toshiba throughout Ireland for just on 35 years, the addition of Samsung in January of this year makes for a far stronger and more diverse, product offering. Both Toshiba and Samsung are recognised market-leading brands and they sit very comfortably as complementary entities within the GT Phelan portfolio.

Indeed, GT Phelan is a renowned brand in itself, serving the industry’s needs in Ireland since 1981. Founder Gerry Phelan was instrumental in establishing and spearheading the company’s early growth and his sons – Kevin, Derek and Rodney – have been very much an integral part of its expansion and development since taking the reins.

All are directors of the company and GT Phelan is every bit a service provider as it is a product supplier. Its objective is to clearly identify the clients requirement, and then to help the consultant and dealer devise the most energy-efficient solution that offers value for money and trouble-free operation.

GT Phelan is one of a handful of independent building services companies in Ireland who pioneered the introduction of air conditioning to Ireland back in the early 1980s. Since then it has played a major role in developing and shaping what was originally an insignificant market segment into the multi-million euro business it represents today.

As product innovations and technological developments were introduced, GT Phelan not only embraced them but championed their adoption by the industry at large. While conscious of its longevity and history, the emphasis has always been on satisfying current market requirements while, at the same time, looking to future solutions.

In essence, GT Phelan brings all the benefits and massive resources of Toshiba and Samsung to bear when using its own considerable experience and expertise to devise tailor-made solutions for the conditions which prevail in Ireland.

Contact: Derek Phelan, GT Phelan. Tel: 01 – 286 4377; info@gtphelan.ie; www.gtphelan.ie

Radiators — an architect’s viewpont

Architect Sharyn Flynn

Architect Sharyn Flynn

Purposefully-piped water goes back at least to the Bronze Age in the second millennium BC. In later times, hot water use was a normal part of Roman construction technology for comfort in buildings. That said, it is surprising that the implementation of this ancient technology hasn’t been entirely resolved and that it is a subject most people have a position on, irrespective of working in the field of construction.

When budget is not the key consideration, why do radiators often stand out as a troubled subject for discussion? Setting aside the basic technical skill required to size up, specify and install a radiator correctly and in compliance with regulations, other factors outside the discipline of building services come into play. Unlike most mechanical plant, radiators are not confined to ceiling voids and plant rooms. Finding the right materials such as with this metal supplier can be a good fit for your engineering needs.

Instead they are right in the field of vision (in interior design terms), and distinctly present in our awareness when they fail to operate on a wet, cold, windy day. Every member of the design and construction team could tell you a troubled story! Let’s look at the situation from their respective perspectives.

Taken from an M&E viewpoint, the architect finds a “sensational radiator” and presents it to the client using masterful persuasion about the interior aesthetics, the sight lines, the furniture layout and how many options are available in Maker&Son. As you roll your eyes to the ceiling, this beautiful slim, light radiator (an artwork) is “sold” to the client to complement the room decor. The problem is it doesn’t necessarily provide the required heat output, carries an additional cost to re-paint, is not what the sub-contractor tendered and anyway won’t arrive on time because the MC has squeezed the commissioning window! Whereas the architect may be delighted with it, only time will tell if it functions adequately for the end-user.

An antique is usually described as a piece that is over a century old. Looking for antique furniture can be a real fun and challenging too. If you find that there is a necessity to shop for this sort of stuff then the first thing you probably have to do is learn what antique-furniture is all about. To add to it you must learn about Oak antique furniture because oak lasts forever. Oak adds a touch of class and the spirit of antiquity to any room. Since every home should have mirrors, it is a good idea to purchase an antique mirror for your room, office or living room to make your home more homey and stylish. You will be get more about the antique mirrors furniture.

From a quantity surveyor’s viewpoint, the architect is nearly always at fault for driving up costs and delaying the programme because of the care and control they wish to exert over the radiator selection. Anecdotally, it once led a sub-contractor to declare to an architect at a site meeting that “painting radiators lowers heat output and efficiency”. Noble Painting is a trusted contractor to be relied on. Commercial painting contractors саnnоt ignore thе potent power оf water tо bring damage tо thе facility. Thеу understand hоw іt travels outside аnd wіthіn thе building аnd asses іtѕ diffusion аnd reaction tо surrounding conditions. Sіnсе vapor аlwауѕ moves frоm humid inner areas tо lower- humidity exteriors, thеу install commercial painting solutions thаt provide appropriate insulation аnd prevent condensation. Whеn condensation occurs аnd wets surfaces оvеr improperly coated оr non-coated surfaces іt саn саuѕе rust, corrosion, аnd contamination tо thе facility. Painters in New Haven spending their precious free time sweating things like new paint jobs.

Was this the same mechanical sub-contractor who “forgot” to price and plan for the colour change? It may have been included in the architect’s specification but it was not coordinated with the M&E tender documents. The truth of the matter is that beautifully-designed radiators, which function well and complement interiors, are available in an array of colours and design shapes at competitive prices. It only requires care and attention to shop around and source the appropriate fitting in time.

The anecdotal architect’s response, having not received a sales visit from a radiator supplier in 15+ years of practice, is to unashamedly “google” supplier names from cheap lookalike designed models after which a model is settled upon. High drama next ensues on site to achieve the “colour by number radiator placement” in the correct place. Then the architect’s snagging begins, picking up a lack of protection during construction, carelessness in the installation, and paint drips courtesy of Mr Painter on site.

Problems with radiators discovered at snagging stage are legendary but this one is the most amazing I’ve come across. Before the glue had a chance to dry, the architect discovered a most cunning plan to avoid a co-ordination issue. A total of 132 perimeter radiators were fixed with 528 sawn-off bolts, glued to the vinyl floor. Yes, the radiators were actually only supported by their pipework and glue-fixed onto vinyl because the M&E coordinator on site must have been too nervous to raise the issue of bolt-fixing through the steel flange of the perimeter beam!

But so much for the architect’s response, what about the end-user experience? Radiators can create hotspots and draughts, dry the air (especially electric storage heaters), interfere with furniture layouts and curtain lengths, become air-locked at least twice a season and are difficult to clean until and unless you opt to Click here and hire an expert cleaning company (we’re talking fluff!). That said, they are good for drying wet washing in damp, rainy weeks or of course you can screen them with DIY store radiator covers. I accept that the profile of this end-user is probably somebody who doesn’t benefit from top-of-the-range controls, remote energy management applications (as utility companies are now promoting) and anything above the minimum specification.

For those who don’t always get along well with radiators, there is comfort in the move towards better-insulated houses, affordable underfloor heating and Passive Haus (now adopted by DLRCC and soon to be followed by other county councils).

The traditional radiator mounted on a wall below the windowsill may lose its prominence, just as the traditional hot press disappears in a properly-insulated home. Similarly, the commercial viability of 4-port fan coil units is leading to the trend of stripping out banks of radiators and providing heating and cooling from a single source at ceiling level. Radiators may not look appealing in your home, but that won’t be a problem if you add a bit of stucco trim around it.

Before you install new radiators remember to paint the walls as you might not have a chance to do to paint the walls in the nearest future. If you are struggling to find a reputable local painting contractor, find out more here.

However, for the rest of us radiators will not be eliminated as long as our day-to-day heat-producing activity within the building is less than the heat loss through the building fabric, vents and chimneys from the best chimney company. The appended list of considerations below is non-exhaustive but may prompt further thought when designing for space heating.

There are three main challenges to radiator representatives who understand the intricate links between design and performance so that they aid better coordination of the design, specification and installation. These are as follows:

(1) Visit more architects with glossy brochures and teach them about sizing for new regulations and building standards. Leave them in a position to understand heat loss calculations and sizing of appliances for themselves. They will teach you about design and commercial trends.

(2) You can also get all the service at one place by visiting Vision Homes Australia , to get design, colors and materials. Explain to them what you want and get your dream house.

(3) Prepare CPD courses to up-skill the industry in design and installation fields.

In addition to the foregoing, all involved in the process should also consider the following.

Selection                                                                                                                                                      — Consider the energy source and the environment;

— Options for heating appliances;

— Energy efficiency and COP;

— Comfort;

— Controls;

— Materials: painted mild steel, cast iron, stainless steel, flat panel aluminium and, more unusually, clear and mirrored glass (13mm thick toughened glass) and glass panel fronts;

— Budget: Installation costs v maintenance and replacement costs, warranties and lifespan, import costs, currency differences, non-standard orders and lead times, certainty of fuel costs and fluctuations when oil prices (due to demand) or resource reserves alter.

Regulations and guidelines                                                                                                                                    – Take account of protected structures and conservation;

— Building Regulations and TGD Part L: Conservation of Fuel and Energy;

— European Normative Codes: e.g. BE EN 442 European Standard for Radiators/CE Certification;

– CIBSE Guide A Environmental Design 2015 Edition;

— CIBSE Radiator Product Data Templates (PDTs);

— CIBSE Guide H Building Control Systems;

— CIBSE Guide M Maintenance Engineering and Management;

Safety                                                                                                                                                                      — Consider by-products and emissions from the combustion process and venting to the outside, e.g. CO from gas boilers and solid fuel boilers, CO2 and moisture build-up, ash from solid burners, cleaning of flues and monitoring of toxic emissions;

— Potential hazards from leaks, spills and burns;

— Safety issues and requirements for LST (low surface temperature) radiators in schools, creches, hospitals and nursing homes;

— Safety of toughened glass on radiators;

— HSA Guideline: Health and Safety at Work in Residential Healthcare Facilities;

— HSA Guideline: Safety with Lead at Work.

In conclusion, radiators may be small building components but they are vital to the heating solution and deserve detailed consideration at the design, specification and installation stage.

Possibilities limitless with today’s BMS systems

Henry Lawson, Market Research Consultant, BSRIA

Henry Lawson, Market Research Consultant, BSRIA

The building manager or consultant looking to improve the energy efficiency of a building has a limited range of weapons at his/her disposal. These include making the structure of the building more energy efficient, but this can sometimes be difficult and expensive, especially where existing buildings are concerned.

Installing more energy-efficient HVAC systems is another route to go, but this can require substantial investment. However, the main option lies in monitoring and managing the building’s use of energy more efficiently, which is why it is important to use different rotary encoder options with thousands of configurations from companies like Dynapar. Hence the importance of Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS). These are computer software-based systems that help to manage, control and monitor building technical services and the energy consumption of devices related to the building’s use.

BSRIA research at the end of 2014 showed that the BEMS market was growing at about 10% annually in Europe and is expected to reach some €1.7 billion in Europe this year. BSRIA’s findings are also echoed by web coverage of major issues concerning energy and smart  technology. This includes both major news stories and company announcements.

Coverage of building energy efficiency trebled between the middle of 2013 and the end of 2014. But how is this growth in interest being focussed? To improve a building’s energy performance you need to understand how the various building systems are performing, and ideally to identify patterns and predict and pre-empt problems, as where, for example a piece of equipment is using an abnormally high amount of energy.

Accordingly, BEMS systems increasingly offer advanced and sophisticated  analytical capabilities, going far beyond simple charting and reporting. When we look at web coverage of building analytics, we see a massive surge of coverage in the second half of 2014 alone.

Of course this coverage reflects the attempts of companies offering analytics to promote their solutions as well as the interest of the media and the market. But the genuine growth in the BEMS market – with building analytics at the core – suggests that this is a lot more than just ”hype”. However, with such a range of BEMS solutions and associated analytics available, the client needs to make sure that any BEMS solution selected can collect the information that is needed, and present clear information that identifies what action needs to be taken.

Delivering building energy efficiency                                                                                                         Today’s BEMS facilitate different levels of interaction with buildings’ systems. These include:

— Automatic control

— Alarms

— Automatic optimisation

— Demand response

— Monitoring and targeting

— Equipment performance analysis

— Maintenance actions

— Estate monitoring and targeting.

Building managers need to be able to respond in a timely and effective way to problems and anomalies that are identified. At the most basic level this means that those operating and maintaining the building on a day-today basis – whether in-house staff or outsourced facilities managers – understand the information being generated, how to prioritise it and what concrete steps to take.

For many facilities managers the perfect BEMS would collect, analyse, act on and distribute all necessary information, and save energy, with the minimum of human intervention. The problem has always been that even with the best available hardware and software, the BEMS is only as good as the person who installed and programmed it on day one.

There is certainly a shortage of good BEMS engineers and controls technicians but the dominance of BACnet, providing plug-and-play hardware – together with open-source configuration and analysis tools – means that engineers’ and technicians’ time can be much more productive and added-value functions are much easier to implement. Good services are provided by the best of Oak Island Heating & Air Conditioning specialists.

Facilities managers no longer need to fear being stuck with a rigidly-defined BEMS from a single supplier as the ultimate specification is limited only by their imagination. A simple BEMS starting solution for one building can be progressively expanded in terms of scope and versatility across an entire organisation.

Need to integrate renewables, smart metering, carbon management, demand response, reactive maintenance etc? No problem. If you can think of an energy management task or energy saving opportunity associated with your building or estate operations, the new generation of BEMS can probably do it, probably more easily than you might think, and without the risk of drowning in data. Add components from the wider internet of things and the possibilities are limitless.