GC5’s Product Manager Pawel Szarmanski asks, “Is a Small Size Building Worth a Building Management System?”

Studies shows that less than 10% of buildings have BMS with unnecessary waste of energy consumption up to 25%! This leads up to a gigantic 750 trillion BTUs waste annually, only in US! That corresponds to the yearly energy demand of Minnesota!

Let’s be honest – Building Management Systems (BMS) have not been designed for small buildings. It’s all about the scale! Big sized buildings, of over 50,000 square feet (around 4500 square meters) with potential of huge energy waste are more likely to use BMS then small (under 5,000 square feet) and medium (5,000-50,000 square feet) sized buildings that may utilize the cost of implementation much slower. Expert says 1  that cost of BMS system may vary from $2.5 up to $7.00 and this is data from 2016! 

According to the survey 2  published by Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) there are several barriers that stands in the way of better building energy efficiency, and on the top of it there is: money. Right, financial barriers as expected are on the top of the ranking, with lack of funds or very long time payback expectations as main reasons in this category. But isn’t it a
trap, when small and medium-sized buildings cover 98% of US commercial building market, and represent 65% of building stock floor area 3 ?  

Studies shows 4  that less than 10% of buildings have BMS with unnecessary waste of energy consumption up to 25%! This leads up to gigantic 750 trillion Btus waste annually, only in US! That corresponds to yearly energy demand of Minnesota 5!  

In the global perspective, small building make big difference, isn’t it? But while some buildings were unable to have BMS implemented back in the day, maybe it is a right time for a retrofit? Existing scalable solutions offer so much in one package and became affordable, bringing the big building technology and experience to a small sized buildings!  

Great example of a single device, that can cover most of the needs is iSMA-B-MAC36NL. Hybrid IoT controller that has been created especially for small and medium-sized buildings brings 36 I/O for Direct Digital Control, powerful Niagara Framework, with possibility of merging multi-vendor automation systems into single scalable solution, HDMI port for costless real time data visualization and control, with two USB ports enabling touch control for the screen or mouse and keyboard connection. Moreover, new version of iSMA-B-MAC36NL is going to be released soon, with integrated M-bus interface. It is going to be the first Niagara 4.8 IoT controller with possibility of standalone M bus integration. This is another feature to bring small-sized buildings closer to the BMS with one device. 

Implementation of BMS in small buildings looks even better for developers with many similar buildings. Concept of mini-BMS in every building is a great step, to bring Smart Cities vision closer than it ever was! Having one, multi-site solution with global access for building analytics might bring us to even better energy savings with advanced building optimization in the future. Normalize, Scale, Visualize and Analyze. All with one single, yet powerful device, like iSMA-B-MAC36NL. Isn’t it the right time for a true BMS in your building?

1.  Costs, Savings, and ROI for Smart Building Implementation, 2016 
2.  Europe’s buildings under the microscope, 2015 
3.  Jennifer King and Christopher Perry: Smart Buildings: Using Smart  Technology to Save Energy in Existing Buildings, Feb 2017 
4,   US Department of Energy: Small- and Medium-Size Building Automation and Control System Needs: Scoping Study, 2013 
5.   New Green Prairie Community Shining Example of Sustainability, 2014

About the author

Pawel Szarmanski is Product Manager at Global Control 5 where he develops and shares his visions of product strategies for Niagara Framework environment. Focused on understanding user’s need,  he always goes for the most effective solutions.


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