Building Energy Management

From programmable thermostats, to occupancy sensors, to a fully automated energy management system, there are many options to make the best use of your energy and turn it off when you don't need it. 
A Building Energy Management System can efficiently control as much as 84% of a building's energy usage.

What is it?

Energy use in buildings, both residential and commercial, accounts for 20-40% of total energy use in OECD countries, including Canada. Building Energy Management describes the process of using technology solutions to ensure that a building’s mechanical and electrical energy systems are optimized to eliminate waste. This often includes the installation of programmable or automated systems that control the appropriate use of systems such as ventilation, lighting, and power, based on occupancy needs.

The primary role of a Building Energy Management System is to regulate and monitor heating, lighting, ventilation and air conditioning to ensure only as much energy as necessary is used. Effective Building Energy Management can result in better control of internal conditions to increase comfort and productivity, effective monitoring and targeting of energy consumption, and lower maintenance costs.

 

Taking Action

Building Energy Management as a general concept can apply to distinct and individual actions which work to monitor building energy use. For example installing a programmable thermostat, light occupancy sensors, low flow water fixtures, and indoor air quality controls are all considered to be Building Energy Management actions.

Taking the concept one step further is the use of a Building Energy Management System (BEMS). A BEMS controls a collection of individual actions, for example lighting, air temperature, humidity, vent, and fresh air flow, along with the corresponding equipment together as a system The primary and most substantial way in which a Building Energy Management System differs from other control systems is the characteristic of communication: information regarding the energy use and functions of the building can be received and controlled at a central, single operating unit. The major benefit of this is the ability of the system to proactively detect and respond to problems or imbalances that may lead to inefficient energy use. Building Energy Management Systems can have a higher cost for initial installation and operation, however over their lifetime they can easily make back this cost through savings from improved energy efficiency and environmental conditions for the building.

 

How can we help?

The Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC) offers the TAME+ program which provides tools and funding to help municipalities understand how energy is used in their buildings, identify key savings opportunities through audits, and implement retrofit projects. The results of the TAME+ energy audit will provide a number of energy conserving measures that can be taken to increase efficiency in a particular building. Building Energy Management Systems including direct digital controls, occupancy/motion sensors, photocells, thermostats, and direct load controls are eligible as energy conservation measures under TAME+ and can therefore be covered by the rebate.

The MCCAC also offers a free online Energy Benchmarking tool that uses annual energy data to generate a report comparing a building’s energy use intensity compared to the average and best-in-class buildings of a similar type. Completing a benchmark report for each building on a yearly basis is a quick and easy way to track the ongoing energy performance of each building relative to themselves and the best-in-class examples.