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What is Building Energy Management?

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  • Written By: B. Turner
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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Building energy management is the process of monitoring and controlling the operating systems within a building. Though specific components may differ, these operating systems may include heating and air conditioning, ventilation, lighting, power, security, and alarm systems. While building energy management techniques can be applied to a variety of building types, they are generally the most cost-effective when used in large commercial and industrial buildings. The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) provides codes and standards that are often used in developing building energy monitoring standards at the local level.

Most building energy management systems are operated using specially designed software programs. These programs are operated using a traditional computer, and are capable of providing feedback on system operations and energy consumption. Most types of building energy management software also allow operators to make changes to building automation systems, though some may require changes to be made manually. These energy control systems are usually operated by building management or maintenance personnel, who must be trained to interpret the building performance data generated by the software. Many building management professionals have both hands-on and technical training in energy conservation and building operations.

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The software used to control building energy management systems may gather data from a variety of information sources. They will typically measure temperature changes, humidity levels, and occupancy patterns to calculate energy use. Many energy control systems also measure air quality and carbon dioxide levels to help maintain healthy buildings. Based on this information, these programs can recommend techniques to maximize occupant comfort and function while minimizing energy consumption. Building energy management systems also monitor operational failures and routine maintenance tasks.

There are a number of important benefits associated with proper building energy management. First, these systems help ensure that the building is operating at its maximum level of efficiency and performance. They are also critical to regulating occupant comfort and well-being, and in preventing poor air quality and insufficient ventilation. These systems also help to minimize wasted energy, which can make a significant impact on monthly expenses.

The growth of the green building movement has helped expand the use of energy management technologies. Most building systems are powered through the use of fossil fuels, which release carbon dioxide and other gaseous pollutants into the atmosphere. These gases have been linked to ozone depletion and global warming, which could have significant impacts on the earth's climate. By monitoring and controlling energy use, building energy management principles can help reduce environmental impacts and protect the earth and its atmosphere.

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PelesTears
Post 3

@ FrameMaker- Arizona State is another school that incorporates alternative energy into its energy management and control system. The university has at least 2 megawatts of installed capacity, and is planning to install 5 more at the Tempe campus alone. The university currently saves about a half a million dollars a year on energy costs, and the initial installation did not cost the school anything.

The University installed the panels on many of the building’s rooftops as well as the top level of most of the parking structures on campus. This is an example of a practical energy solution for such a large institution. When you are an institution that supports about 70,000 students, faculty, and staff, any insecurity in energy prices can have a profound effect on operational efficiency. Independent power generation is one of the best ways to hedge against fuel and electricity price fluctuations.

FrameMaker
Post 2

@ Cougars- There are many green technologies for energy management. One place to look for inspiration is at Universities across the country. Many research institutions are heavily invested in alternative energy technologies, many of which are designed for decentralized energy production. Some universities even draw significant amounts of their energy from these alternative sources.

One example is Middlebury College in Vermont. This Ivy League school uses biomass gasification to generate heat and electricity for a large percentage of its campus. The plant is zero net emissions and it gets its fuel from local sources that are within a 150-mile radius. The school also plans to double its capacity and grow willow to use as fuel in the near future.

cougars
Post 1

What are some environmentally friendly energy management solutions for commercial buildings? What types of things can developers use in smaller buildings, and what types of systems are applicable for larger structures?

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