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Construction : Cover Story | February 2016 | Source : CW-India

Smart Building Management

With smart cities gaining popularity and an emphasis on increasing efficiency in buildings, opportunities abound for the building management system market.

Everyone is talking ´smart´ - smart homes, smart buildings, smart cities. What makes a building, in specific, smart? Buildings are becoming data-rich environments as owners and key decision-makers continue to invest in a variety of solutions that embody the technology foundation of the Internet of Things and cloud computing. The concept of interconnecting different building systems to control things is nothing new. As time progressed, we saw things evolve. Today, the idea has become more sophisticated with the ability to control not only HVAC and lighting but other equipment in buildings.

For a building, the challenge is to take data from a wide variety of sources and turn it into actionable information. Many smart building systems have limited analytic capabilities, providing simple snapshots. Here, a building management system (BMS) plays an important role. An integrated data network and control system for automation, monitoring and control of various functions in a building, it provides a clear and visible interface through which myriad systems can be managed. A BMS enables easy automation, better cost savings and improved performance. Further, according to a report, the global BMS market is set to grow at a CAGR of 8.18 per cent over the period 2015-2019. In India, too, with the concept of smart cities picking up and our towns gearing up to turn smarter, the BMS market will see great demand.

Impacting efficiency
A BMS can supervise, manage and control the functions of all equipment of HVAC, lighting, electrical, hydropneumatics and fire-fighting systems (See infographic on page 104).

Take for instance, the Jain Group, which has adapted BMS in its projects to increase efficiency. ¨We have installed BMS in our projects, Dream Exotica and Dream Eco City,¨ says Rishi Jain, Executive Director, Jain Group. ¨We experienced power efficiency, as the BMS software monitors the power budget assigned, based on the historical usage background; and it helps us check, monitor and prevent wastage on site. Therefore, if there is a sudden spike in terms of power consumption, an alert is immediately issued, enabling us to take the necessary action without any delay.¨ Marathon Group, too, has installed BMS in most of its projects, which has tremendously helped increase efficiency in terms of the HVAC system, lighting and ventilation. (see case study on Marathon Futurex in Mumbai).

How does it work?
A BMS provides vital information; enables centralised control and monitoring of energy use and environmental comfort; validates performance of equipment; displays energy consumption; optimises operations of equipment or systems; and provides new insights into how building systems work together. According to Rakhi Deepak, Managing Director, SagTaur Universal, ¨If it is designed and installed properly, the system will definitely reduce energy costs and improve working conditions by maintaining parameters such as temperature and humidity.¨ She adds that it is extremely difficult to manage all the systems installed in a building on an individual basis, but integration makes it much easier as accessing data across systems reduces the time it takes to diagnose and fix issues.

Adding to this, Thanik B, Director-Strategy & Business Development, Buildings Business, Schneider Electric, says ¨With Schneider Electric Building Analytics, our managed service is based upon a scalable, enterprise software architecture that uses automated fault detection and diagnostics (FDD) and other advanced diagnostics methods to produce ranked recommendations on the most impactful fault remedies and energy savings available for facility.¨

Additional benefits
With growing consciousness, energy-efficiency in buildings is fast becoming part of real-estate management, facilities management and operations strategy. ¨Growing demand for BMS is driving developers today to incorporate these technologies in their projects,¨ says Thanik.

Indeed. Geopreneur Group has various simplified solutions in its current projects but plans to use BMS in upcoming ones. As Rohan Agarwal, Managing Director, Geopreneur Group, says, ¨With digitalisation and technology taking over the world, BMS will enhance the experience of residents by making their lives easier with integrating technology.¨

The system provides an effective method of tracking operational data within a building. The best part of BMS, Mayur Shah, Managing Director, Marathon Group, adds is that , ¨It provides reliable and authentic data on the energy consumption pattern, based on which the management or operation team can take appropriate decisions for possibilities to save energy without adversely affecting the functioning of the office.¨

Functional dynamics
Implementing BMS brings together all the functional systems into a single network service to control, monitor and manage the system, enabling easy and effective operations. While monitoring and controlling from a single location, the systems helps save energy, reduce operational and maintenance costs, improve working conditions and render environmental benefits. The key to their success, however, is proper installation and maintenance.

Schneider´s SmartStruxure™ solution enables an owner to monitor, measure and optimise a building´s performance throughout its lifecycle, thereby saving money. Thanik explains, ¨This solution connects five domains of expertise - power, data centres, process and machines, building management, and physical security - within an open and flexible technology architecture that delivers significant savings on capital and operational expenses.¨ The SmartStruxure solution software facilitates the exchange and analysis of data from energy, lighting, fire safety and HVAC systems. ¨Its unique, scalable architecture allows seamless integration with existing and emerging technologies,¨ he adds.

Also, other than normal integration software, many customers opt for energy management software that helps manage and reduce energy expenses and develop sustainability plans.

Going ´smart´
With the advent of green and smart buildings, BMS has a significant contribution as it checks energy wastage. ¨If energy wasted can be controlled, automatically the use of fossil fuels and thermal energy will be less,¨ says Jain - for him, this is the basic premise of anything that is green and smart.

With this focus, Schneider Electric has launched Building Analytics, which converts big data from the BMS into actionable intelligence to improve facility performance. But Building Analytics allows you to do more than just identify mechanical plant and equipment inefficiencies. One can now pinpoint the systems and equipment that have irregularities with prioritisation based on the severity of impact on cost, comfort, energy, and maintenance. ¨Our advanced, cloud-based automated fault detection and diagnostics (AFDD) use artificial intelligence to not only identify problem conditions but guide resolution through suggested proposals and actions,¨ elaborates Thanik. ¨Along with periodic and regular reviews, this actionable information allows you to close the gap between information and fact-based decision-making to better organise internal and contract resources for quicker, more efficient repairs and commissioning services.¨ Built on scalable enterprise software architecture, Thanik adds that Building Analytics can be used in one building or in multiple facilities across the portfolio. Further, it is compatible with most existing BMS and requires little to no additional hardware or software.

Cost and savings
The cost of installation depends on the size of the building and service cost, based on the extent of automation planned. It is estimated that HVAC systems consume up to 60 per cent of energy use, while lighting requires 10 per cent. Deepak explains that simply turning off lights when not needed - something that can be controlled automatically with occupancy sensors - can reduce expenses by as much as 30 per cent. And much greater savings and faster Return on Investment (RoI) can be achieved when systems are networked and integrated with a BMS. Also, breakdowns can be prevented by regular assessment of performance problems. Emergency repairs can be eliminated, and with a lot less disruption.

As far as returns and savings are concerned, automation optimises the working of the equipment (need basis) instead of running continuously. Shah tells us how: For example, in case of car parking ventilation (normal mode), the running period of the fans can be optimised based on the levels of the carbon monoxide inside the parking area, rather than running the fans continuously as per selected air changes. The savings will depend on the capacity of the fans, generation of carbon monoxide and heat generation in the area. It also optimises manpower efficiency.

The payback of a fully integrated approach to the BMS and IT begins in the early stages of installation and continues throughout the lifecycle of the systems, avers Agarwal. He adds, ¨Investing in a BMS can save more than 14 per cent in annual costs measured in lost productivity.¨

BMS can be a cloud-based or enterprise-based solution, with the cost ranging from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 20 lakh and above. Power wastage is curtained by an overall 50 per cent and the overall cost has been reduced to 7-8 per cent. ¨It has been adapted in our Dream Exotica, which is a national award winning project, and Dream Eco City, which is under construction,¨ says Jain.

BMS supporting technologies and challenges
Thanik explains how StruxureWare software by Schneider encompasses powerful software applications that are unified across three levels to maximise efficiency: Enterprise level - driving sustainability strategies effectively by evaluating and selecting scenarios that meet financial, regulatory and business objectives; operations level - analysing and optimising operations, energy and assets on an enterprise-wide or site-specific basis; and control level - controlling process performance, ensuring business continuity and tracking energy consumption in real time, whether on site or remotely.

Sophisticated security systems that combine access controls and closed-circuit television also work in concert with the BMS, adds Agarwal.

Smart building software can automatically analyse asset data in real time, however, this information is worthless without adequately trained people to act on it to get the desired result. And there is a challenge in terms of facility and well-trained staff, who are crucial in the area of analytics. As Deepak says, ¨Personnel need to be trained and re-trained to understand and operate a building automation system to get the best performance from the technology.¨

Opportunities on the horizon
Cities are increasingly developing with a ´smart city´ vision in mind, resulting in growth in demand for smart buildings. With this, the demand for BMS will witness a sharp increase. Also, with initiatives that encourage green solutions, incorporating energy harvesting propositions in BMS will be an added advantage and increase demand significantly.

Green building certifications need a specific type of rating and high energy-efficiency, which can be achieved only with an efficient BMS. Adds Deepak, ¨One of our clients could see a visible improvement in the productivity of employees owing to an enhanced office environment, which was achieved by adapting BMS.¨

The benefits of BMS and other technology advancements that allow an increase in efficiency of buildings, including reducing costs in the long run, are just the beginning of what can be achieved. Jain believes that with time, new players for BMS will be available to developers, both domestic and international, the price will become more affordable and the user interface (UI) will definitely become simpler.

According to Thanik, the BMS market is anticipated to exhibit robust growth on account of rising security concerns and growing efforts of commercial and IT and ITeS sectors to minimise operational costs. He avers, ¨We believe this growth presents a vast opportunity for our BMS offerings.¨

Of course, developers see the greatest benefits when systems are networked and integrated with a BMS, which helps achieve much greater savings and faster RoI. And, with our cities getting geared up to turn smarter, the BMS market is sure to soar sky high in times to come.

Quick Bytes

  • BMS enables easy automation, better cost savings and improved performance.
  • Global BMS market is set to grow at a CAGR of 8.18 per cent over the period 2015-2019.
  • With the concept of smart cities and smart buildings, demand for BMS to witness a sharp increase.
  • Robust growth on account of rising security concerns and growing efforts of commercial and IT and ITeS sectors to minimise operational costs.

Case Study: Marathon Futurex, Lower Parel, Mumbai
An IGBC pre-certified Gold rated building, Marathon Futurex is one of Marathon Group´s main projects built on green principles where a BMS has been installed.

Mayur Shah, Managing Director, Marathon Group, shares how installing it has helped tremendously in increasing the efficiency of the building.

  • HVAC system: As a part of our green initiative, we have installed a VRV system to cater to the cooling in the main lobby and common areas. The entire system is controlled and monitored through the BMS system. This helps have complete control over temperature with just one click. We can get the desired temperature for our clients and have the flexibility of switching the system on and off, as we desire.
  • Electrical lighting system: Common area lighting is controlled with the help of the BMS system. As a result, all the lights in the common areas are controlled at one point. One need not go to all the areas to switch on the lights. With the help of this system, all the lights in the common areas can be switched on and switched off as per the requirement at one go. The main HT and LT panel status can be viewed online.
  • Ventilation system: The entire ventilation system in the building is controlled in a hassle-free manner with the help of the BMS.
  • Pumps system: The operation of the sump pump is monitored from a single point by sitting in the BMS room. This also helps check water accumulation in the complex.
  • Generator backup: During power failure, the use of generators becomes essential for functioning. With the help of BMS, the status of generator parameters can be viewed easily in the BMS.
  • Water tank level system: With the help of the system, water tank levels can be monitored with ease. This helps provide continuous water supply without any hindrance.
  • Sewage treatment plant (STP): The STP is monitored and controlled at one point through the BMS system. Its operation can be viewed in the BMS system, thus ensuring continuous operation of the plant.
  • Fire panel: The status of the fire panel can be viewed online, thus providing hassle-free operation.

BMS products for the Indian market
SagTaur is in the system integration business and, in the past, has worked with different controllers for various applications. Rakhi Deepak, Managing Director, SagTaur Universal, lists these controllers:

  • Room controllers can adjust temperatures and lighting in unoccupied rooms to save energy and money.
  • Fume hood controllers, used in laboratories, gauge the performance of a fume hood´s ability to contain and exhaust harmful vapours, thus providing safety and energy-efficiency.
  • Controllers used for the entire building automation can be grouped in three categories: Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), system or network controllers, and terminal unit controllers. They manage all the equipment of HVAC, lighting, electrical, hydropneumatics and fire-fighting system.

Also, Schneider offers an integrated BMS based on open, scalable devices and applications. Thanik B, Director-Strategy & Business Development, Buildings Business, Schneider Electric, says, EcoStruxure architecture is the Schneider Electric approach that allows the convergence of five key domains of expertise: The management of power, process and machine, building, security, and the IT room. It acts as a solution ecosystem, offering guaranteed compatibility across key application areas and leveraging open standards across both Schneider Electric and third-party offerings. This approach enables the creation of the right answers to sustainable operation challenges by making energies safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green while saving on CapEx and OpEx. Under the BMS, the Ecostruxure solution for buildings delivers reliable integration between building infrastructure systems, services and applications that improves asset value, rental value and financial performance (profit), while minimising environmental impact (planet), and creating safer, healthier places to work and play in (people).

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