IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change

6.4.6 Building energy management systems (BEMS)

BEMSs are control systems for individual buildings or groups of buildings that use computers and distributed microprocessors for monitoring, data storage and communication (Levermore, 2000). The BEMS can be centrally located and communicate over telephone or Internet links with remote buildings having ‘outstations’ so that one energy manager can manage many buildings remotely. With energy meters and temperature, occupancy and lighting sensors connected to a BEMS, faults can be detected manually or using automated fault detection software (Katipamula et al., 1999), which helps avoid energy waste (Burch et al., 1990). With the advent of inexpensive, wireless sensors and advances in information technology, extensive monitoring via the Internet is possible.

Estimates of BEMS energy savings vary considerably: up to 27% (Birtles and John, 1984); between 5% and 40% (Hyvarinen, 1991; Brandemuehl and Bradford, 1999; Brandemuehl and Braun, 1999; Levermore, 2000); up to 20% in space heating energy consumption and 10% for lighting and ventilation; and 5% to 20% overall (Roth et al., 2005). Commissioning

Proper commissioning of the energy systems in a commercial building is a key to efficient operation (Koran, 1994; Kjellman et al., 1996; IEA, 2005; Roth et al., 2005). Building commissioning is a quality control process that begins with the early stages of design. Commissioning helps ensure that the design intent is clear and readily tested, that installation is subjected to on-site inspection and that all systems are tested and functioning properly before the building is accepted. A systems manual is prepared to document the owner’s requirements, the design intent (including as-built drawings), equipment performance specifications and control sequences.

Recent results of building commissioning in the USA showed energy savings of up to 38% in cooling and/or 62% in heating and an average higher than 30% (Claridge et al., 2003). A study by Mills et al. (2005) reviewed data from 224 US buildings that had been commissioned or retro-commissioned. The study found that the costs of commissioning new buildings were typically outweighed by construction cost savings due to fewer change orders and that retro-commissioning produced median energy savings of 15% with a median payback period of 8.5 months. It is very difficult to assess the energy benefits of commissioning new buildings due to the lack of a baseline.