Back to the workplace: how to make sure your BMS is working efficiently

With lockdown easing and more and more people returning to work, it is now more important than ever to make sure your BMS (building management systems) are working efficiently.

The process of re-opening commercial estates and buildings will give energy professionals several challenges, here are some suggestions from us to support you with this. Ensuring the correct operation of systems will be vital and with many buildings finding themselves under-occupied since the beginning of lockdown in March 2020, there is an opportunity to manage these systems both safely and more efficiently.

To help you, our head of TEC, Dean Walsh has compiled a list of key things to consider.

HVAC Systems

Chances are your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems have been off for a while, so it’s important to have a physical inspection completed on this equipment to make sure it is in good working order with no active alarm indicators showing.

If you have a BEMS onsite, a great place to start is either at the panel or at the BEMS supervisor where the alarms should be visible.

You may want to run over your onsite temperature setpoints and look at what your actual building temperatures are. If you’ve gone without your annual service and maintenance things may have been adjusted that you’re not aware of.

It’s also great to consider what your systems cooling and heating dead bands are (The temperature range that you decide doesn’t require heating or cooling). An example of this would be if you decided you would heat the building if the temperature dropped below 18 degrees, but only cool the building when the temperature was above 23 degrees, allowing a deadband between 18 and 23 where you’re not running either system.

Does your organisation have new operating times?

It’s important to ensure that your lighting and heating and BMS controls are reflected in your new operational schedule. Don’t forget, this doesn’t have to apply to your whole building, you can often zone areas to mirror how you’re using your space.

You should also notify your staff of what needs to be switched off at the end of the working day. Having a nominated energy champion for each site you can get the local support you need for unautomated systems.

If you have PIR (presence detection) sensors, check that the correct lighting levels are being achieved and that the timing around how the PIR operates works for your building.

It’s important that the lighting does shut off when there isn’t anyone around but similarly, you don’t want a disco of flashing lights, so making sure the timing is correct is important.

Look at your energy consumption data

Was your building more or less efficient through lockdown? Is there any unexpected consumption while you’ve not been occupied? This is a great opportunity to see if you really do have full control over your buildings and to what level you can reduce consumption.

To safeguard your workforce, some buildings might be using separate entrances and exits which would not usually be in use.

Ensure these aren’t propped open so your heating and cooling systems aren’t working hard for all that energy to go out the doors.

This can also affect the comfort of your employees, leading to them using plug-in fans and heaters which is an even bigger efficiency issue.

If you would like advice on managing your business’ energy efficiency or looking at your BMS, our expert energy consultants offer a range of services to help, contact us today by emailing, or call on 0161 543 4131.