All building systems, from heating and air condition to ventilation, lighting, and plumbing, require operational controls, and the design of these controls is an integral part of a green building project. A green building’s systems have to be tailored to the specific needs of that project, and the more efficiently a building’s controls can be made to respond to those particular conditions, the more benefits the building operator will see.
What is a Building Management System?
New developments in building controls are being introduced every year, and design-build teams have access to a wide range of technologies that can be used to maximize efficiency of building systems. Sensors that gauge building conditions like occupancy, temperature, light levels, humidity, and carbon dioxide can be combined with timers and other controllers to create a closed loop that seamlessly measures and responds to changes in building conditions.
Building Management Systems (BMS) are a way to control all the parts of a building’s systems, including sensors, controllers, and controlled devices, from a single location. By integrating hardware, software, and network interfaces for all of a building’s myriad systems, BMS helps operators easily monitor system performance and quickly make any needed adjustments.
Benefits of Building Management Systems
A well-designed BMS will help all of a green building’s systems run as efficiently and safely as possible. Building controls can be set, operated, and maintained from the central computer interface, and this computing power can be used to calculate optimal operational settings. When the controls on this system are optimized and able to respond quickly to changes in building conditions, operators will see numerous benefits, including:
- lower energy consumption and correspondingly lower costs
- limited wear and tear on building systems
- automatic alarms that alert occupants to safety issues and changing conditions
- a more comfortable environment for building occupants
- minimized time and cost for repair and maintenance
- rapid availability of up-to-date information on the status of systems
BMS and Design Build
Building Management Systems are an integral part of the design-build process. The integrated design-build team is able to choose system specifications that are best for each individual project and can maximize efficiency by also handling issues such as hardware location, control settings, and how often controls are checked and adjusted. When a BMS is created as part of a green design-build project, owners will see the benefits over the entire lifetime of the building.