Systems Consolidation Becomes Critical to Modern Building Management

Monday, July 25th, 2016
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The centralised integration of the multiple data streams and systems capabilities made available by emerging technologies promises to radically improve the practice of modern building management.

Rapid technological advances and expanding digitisation mean that building managers now have access to a far greater range of data and functionality for the assets under their care than ever before.

Building managers are now capable of tapping into detailed, real-time data on a slew of performance areas, including power and energy, fire safety and physical security, as well as lighting, blinds and the operation of automated systems.

They can also avail themselves of a range of new building system capabilities ushered in by emerging technologies, for areas such as condition monitoring, preventative maintenance scheduling, history and trends, client access and user management, as well as integration with third party systems or equipment.

While all of these data sources and systems capabilities confer pivotal advantages individually, buildings managers won’t be able to fully leverage their potential benefits unless they are first capable of optimizing their organization and deployment.

The best means of achieving this is via the integration of these multiple functions and information sources into a single building management system (BMS), where all relevant data and sub-systems can be accessed and controlled from the one location or connected mobile devices.

According to a recent Siemens whitepaper on the optimization of building management systems, the incorporation of various sub-system capabilities into integrated data centre management systems can dramatically improve the overall efficiency, performance and value of built assets.

The Total Building Solutions for Data Centres whitepaper notes that integration confers key advantages in multiple areas, enabling the cumulative benefits of individual sub-systems to exceed the sum of their parts.

Integration is particularly important given the growing complexity of building management systems, as well as the convergence of and interaction between the multiple sub-systems they govern.

“A system that is able to integrate information from all of the data centre’s sub-systems into a common, centrally monitored comprehensive solution can reduce energy use, streamline maintenance, enable a higher level of agility, and enhance ROI,” said the whitepaper. “Most importantly data centre uptime, reliability and efficiency can be optimised.”

The systems consolidation achieved by integrated building management systems can also improve usability and operation of the manifold sub-systems of a facility, which in turn reduces associated costs for areas such as maintenance and labour.

“Integrated building automation, security and fire alarm systems can reduce the cost of multiple front ends, maintenance and training,” said the Siemens whitepaper.

“A common interface serves to streamline management of the systems by providing a single point of access for building sub-systems…operators can have visibility into all systems and common reporting through a single user interface.

This enhanced usability and management capability in turn permits efficiency optimisation in other areas, most notably the energy performance and power usage of a building.

Stefan Schwab, Head of Siemens Building Technologies, points to the One Central Park project in Sydney as an outstanding real life example of the efficiency gains made possible by the the latest building management technology.

“One Central Park is a lighthouse project for Australia, and has started a discussion around residential building efficiency,” said Schwab. “Its building management system can help customers easily understand how energy is consumed and what measures are needed for reduction, by making it visible in an easy way for consumers and property managers.”

According to Schwab a range of new technologies have recently emerged that can boost efficiency by providing occupants or building managers with detailed, real-time data on the performance of built assets.

“Live Data, particularly on your mobile device, keeps you up to date on how the building is performing so that you can act immediately, while the Total Room Automation Concept can show users or tenants that the room isn’t operating in the most energy efficient manner,” he said.

“They can then tap a leaf icon on the room panel in order to automatically restore the room to the most efficient way of operation by keeping the wellbeing part in mind.”

Image: Urbana World
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