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Building energy management

Energy management of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and water services in a building are crucial in cost and budget management for facility managers and building owners.

Energy conservation and environmental considerations are also important drivers in energy management, in an increasingly conscientious and aware society.

Energy management and efficiencies gained will help to lower buildings and their enclosed services’ energy consumption and environmental impact. It is incumbent on business to assist in the global effort, to actively address climate change action and assist national governments in meeting their targets.

Figures show that buildings are responsible for around 50% of energy use – according to Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), whose maintenance and engineering management guide is the authority on building services. While the Carbon Trust contend that buildings produce around 37% of carbon emissions.

Further, those businesses with ISO standards, such as 50001 for energy management systems and 14001 for environmental management systems are required to show auditors, they are proactive in the areas of energy and emissions.

Requirement for energy audits

Non-small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are required to carry out energy audits. Article 14 of Statutory Instrument (S.I.) No. 426 of 2014 of European Union (Energy Efficiency) Regulations 2014 dictates that companies in Ireland with more than 250 employees or whose annual turnover exceeds € 50 million, must have an independent energy audit carried out at least every four years. While public bodies with a floor area of more than 500 m2 or who spend more than € 35,000 on energy per annum must do the same. SMEs are exempt under regulations.

Companies that are not SMEs shall carry out an energy audit… audits shall take place within 4 years of the previous energy audit.

energy audit requirements and exemptions

How are energy savings achieved?

Energy savings are achieved by the design and implementation of an energy management plan – agreed amongst key energy stakeholders, such as, building owners, facility managers, department heads and all impacted staff.

Energy management plan

There is a five-step process in an energy management plan. It is a continuous circular process, evolving to refresh itself to further energy conservation targets having completed the initial five-step process.

Thermodial energy management plan

  1. Report – appraisal of the current energy situation.
  2. Install – install energy monitoring and metering equipment.
  3. Analyse – gather the energy data, analyse and set reduction and energy saving targets.
  4. Implement – apply energy saving initiatives and consumption targets.
  5. Verification – access and verify the energy savings implemented.

HVAC, water and lighting systems consumption

Heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), hot water and lighting systems are responsible for 80% of a non-domestic buildings’ energy consumption. Therefore, the successful installation, commissioning and control of these systems are essential in energy management plans – working alongside planned preventative maintenance (PPM) in ensuring the correct operation of these systems.

Control consumption

Meanwhile, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), in their commercial buildings survey found that:

room-by-room time and temperature controls were much less common, being present respectively in only 9% and 15% of surveyed buildings.

Controlling room temperatures, water and lighting are critical in driving down energy use in a building, as this equipment consumes over three quarters of a buildings’ energy use.

Before 31 December 2025 there is a requirement for building automation and control systems (BACs) in commercial buildings, according to article 5 of Statutory Instrument (S.I.) No. 393 of 2021 of European Union (Energy Efficiency) Regulations 2021:

A new building shall, where technically and economically feasible, be equipped with self-regulating devices for the separate regulation of the temperature in each room or, where justified, in a designated heated zone of the building unit

An existing building (other than a dwelling) shall… be equipped with a building automation and control system if:

(i) the effective rated output for heating systems or systems for combined space heating and ventilation in the building is over 290 kW, or
(ii) the effective rated output for systems for air-conditioning or systems for combined air-conditioning and ventilation in the building is over 290 kW.

energy performance of buildings

Remote access and monitoring

All stages of the five-step the energy management plan can be performed with the assistance of remote monitoring of HVAC, water and lighting systems. Remote monitoring can enable the full view of these systems, without being physically present on-site.

Remote monitoring is performed through a remote access router over a secure cellular connection to the internet, meaning access to systems aren’t bound by traditional physical access procedures and opening times.

Technologies such as the eWON – when installed to a building energy management system (BEMS) or BMS – can allow direct remote access to on-site systems via a cellular internet connection.

Thermodial remote access and monitoring

Remote access and monitoring benefits

The benefits to remote access and monitoring in energy management include:

  • A potential energy saving of 8% to 14%.
  • Energy control – full visibility of systems and the ability to control devices in accordance with energy conservation and building occupancy.
  • Early diagnosis of issues – quickened response to emergency issues by simply accessing systems on the remote monitoring PC with no physical barriers to entry.
  • Reduced travel time and costs – saving on service engineers’ time, fuel and tolls costs, in the likely event that issues can be resolved through the remote monitoring PC.
  • Environmental costs – saving on carbon emissions from efficiencies gained through the energy management plan and thus their more efficient operation.
    Environmental savings are also maximised from the service engineer not travelling to site.
  • Security – a private IP address is used in remote monitoring, causing no interference with local firewall security.

Thermodial’s approach

Talk to Thermodial about in-house energy management services, providing energy expertise, fully costed options, reporting requirements, remote monitoring from Thermodial’s energy monitoring bureau and an annual review of energy initiatives. Thermodial can also walk you through and assist you in the energy management process, from our energy management experience and certification to ISO 50001 – 2018 standard – for energy management systems.

Key guidance source materials

Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) | Guide M: maintenance engineering and management.

European Union (Energy Efficiency) Regulations 2014 |  S.I. No. 426 of 2014.

European Union (Energy Efficiency) Regulations 2021 | S.I. No. 393 of 2021.

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) | Extensive survey of the commercial building stock in the Republic of Ireland.

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