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.
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.