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Building Management Systems In An Age Of Carbon Neutrality

Building Management Systems In An Age Of Carbon Neutrality

Not too long ago the principal selling point of a building management system (BMS) was that it helped reduce energy costs. Today, the focus has shifted – thanks to legislative pressure on emissions, and growing societal concerns about climate change, a role of a modern BMS is to support decarbonisation efforts. The two are inextricably linked but the switch in priorities is hugely significant: the next generation of facility managers will be entering a world packed with new compliance regulations.

To put this into context, there is growing global pressure for carbon neutrality, which is in turn putting buildings under a lot of scrutiny. Why? Because buildings are the source of nearly 40% of global total direct and indirect CO2 emissions, according to the International Energy Agency. It’s therefore easy to understand why reaching net zero carbon across a building portfolio will be a top priority.

So what is a carbon neutral building and what role does a BMS play in helping create and maintain one?

Essentially, a carbon neutral building minimises emissions generated during construction and use, and those emissions that do occur are balanced by climate-positive initiatives so that over time, the net carbon footprint is zero. Turning that into practice, though, is the challenge. Fortunately, a modern BMS can help deliver this laudable objective.

Cutting waste, reducing emissions

Energy efficiency gains clearly sit at the heart of achieving this goal. Fortunately, a properly installed and operated BMS can on average deliver energy efficiency savings of around 15-20%; in poorly operated buildings energy waste can account for up to 50% of the total bill. Enhancing the processes carried out by a BMS can be a cost-effective energy efficiency measure.

In addition, carbon taxes are increasingly being discussed around the world as a tool to incentivise change – reducing energy consumption in light of this trend therefore makes financial sense twice over. When energy consumption goes down, so do emissions, which in turn reduces the likely impact of carbon taxes.

Pulling it all together

Optimising systems, such as lighting, air conditioning and ancillary services, to reduce energy consumption is achievable using a modern BMS. It isn’t just about cutting costs and maintaining compliance with environmental targets, it’s also enhancing the occupant experience, which in turn helps retain tenants and further protects bottom line performance.

The trick for facility managers is to be able to achieve all this in a seamless, efficient way. The key to getting it right is the combination of good training paired with the right technology. At Leeds Beckett University, working alongside Honeywell, we bring it all together for our facility management students through a combination of real world experience and great industry contacts.