This month, I’ve been speaking with Dave Holden, our Technical & Energy Services Manager at BMSI (Building Management Solutions Integrators) about Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems (HVAC).
The majority of HVACs are operated via control systems known as a Building Management System (BMS) or Building Energy Management System (BEMS). These systems are mandatory for larger buildings with an energy bill of over £10,000*. However, mini-Building Management Systems are increasingly being installed to benefit smaller buildings and businesses.

A mini-BMS tends to have fewer check points (including the boiler and AC split units), reflecting the needs of a smaller building and helping to ensure the right level of control and efficiency. A mini-BMS is also supported by online reporting, where users can see the various information like temperatures and time schedules, removing the need to purchase dedicated software.

A little winter maintenance goes a long way

I asked Dave about the most common problems that can occur with a BMS and preventing them. He reported that a lack of maintenance and failure to replace faulty parts is the number one. These can be avoided by a maintenance regime and adopting a ‘spend to save’ approach. He noted a few example where businesses waste energy:

Check your cooling valve
When a cooling valve is faulty and fails to open, the heating then comes on to compensate for the extra cooling load. The extra heating load required can easily exceed the cost of replacing the cooling valve actuator (approximately £400).

Turn off out of hours
AHU (Air Handling Unit) can be left running in ‘manual’ instead of switched off out of hours, the extra running costs can range from £1,500 up to £30,000 a year**.

7 tips to help businesses’ ‘spend and save’ and maintain regime

Dave highlighted having a properly maintained BMS system can save up to 20% of building energy costs and that the best place would be tips like:

1. Censor the sensors
A BMS takes readings from both internal and external environments to regulate it to the chosen settings. Faulty sensors can result in inaccurate readings and, in turn, the BMS will not operate as it should.

Does your business use over 6,000 MWh of half hourly electricity each year?

If yes then you need to register your business with the CRC otherwise you could face a hefty fine of up to £45,000.
CRC stands for Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC). Businesses are required to measure and report on their electricity and gas carbon emissions every year. Depending on how much energy your business uses you will need to pay different allowances.

You need to register by 31 Jan 2014.

Download our:

CRC Guide (pdf, 122kb)

Greenhouse Gas reporting (pdf, 202kb)

Find out more about the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme

2. Location of your sensors
Ensure sensors are installed in the right locations – sensors in the wrong place can result in unnecessary energy use.

3. Check frost protection temperature settings
If set too high it can result in heating systems running unnecessarily, out of business hours.

4. Correct date and time?
Make sure time settings are correct and match the building occupancy hours.

5. Seasonal changes
Don’t conflict heating and cooling settings by running systems at the same time whatever the weather. This is not only expensive in energy and costs you money, but could result in additional maintenance.

6. Delay ventilation time
This allows the building to heat up before circulating the warm air.

7. Maintain dampers, valves and actuators
A BMS is dependent on these mechanisms to regulate them. If parts are damaged or defective, the system will not run to its maximum output

Sources:

*Carbon Trust http://www.carbontrust.com/media/7375/ctv032_building_controls.pdf

** BMSI http://www.bmsi.co.uk £1,500 based on 2 x 3kw fans / £30,000 based on 2 x 55kw fans

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