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The Exclusive Magazine for the Building Service Contracting Industry Since 1981

Saving Energy and Boosting Income with BEMS

Written by  Monica Lopeznieto
6 SavingEngeryDue to the stagnant state of the economy and rising energy costs, BSCs should constantly be on the lookout for ways to save clients’ money through reduced energy consumption. One excellent way for BSCs to not only conserve energy, but also create a valuable new source of revenue is through the use of building energy management systems (BEMS). BEMS are computer-based systems that monitor and regulate all building mechanicals that use energy. For instance, air-conditioning, heating, lighting, and mainframes can all be regulated with a BEMS device, as can the use of water and other natural resources.
BEMS Revolution Based on President Obama’s 2011 budget proposal, it’s estimated that commercial buildings consume roughly 18 percent of the United States total energy consumption. To cut back on this high level of use, the budget laid out plans for the Department of Energy to increase energy efficiency in all government buildings between 2012 and 2014 by almost $4 billion. These new policies, coupled with rising energy costs, have helped push both government labs and private companies to develop improved wireless-sensor networks and building-energy management software. As a result, the BEMS market is undergoing a spurt of innovation and evolution, and the use of building automation and control systems is quickly increasing.
The burst of growth in the BEMS market opens up a myriad of new opportunities for BSCs. For instance, the vast amounts of data that BEMS collect can be confusing to untrained building owners, providing an opportunity for BSCs. By training employees in the operation of BEMS, or by hiring those who already have the necessary skills, BSCs can tap into this new and promising market sector. Small startups have already begun accessing the BEMS market and are challenging the larger, more established companies with new methods of analyzing building energy performance. So far, there is still plenty of room for new players to enter the BEMS market, and there are even more service areas that take advantage of this growing demand for energy-efficiency solutions.
Energy Audits Energy audits are another way of accessing this new market. A commercial building energy audit evaluates the building’s energy-using equipment, as well as water consumption. Without using a BEMS, a BSC can hire employees who will go to a facility, interview managers, and inspect a building’s systems, such as lighting, air conditioning, heating/ventilation operations, and air compressors. These can be simple “walk-through” audits, or they can involve more extensive evaluation, including blower-door testing and infrared technology. The auditor then develops conservation strategies and calculates the expected savings potential and costs associated with each conservation measure. Building owners may be likely to hire a BSC for such a service, especially when a building is looking to present itself as being environmentally friendly.
Offering both energy audits and BEMS services can be one of the best options for BSCs. The results of an energy audit may, in some cases, call for the installation of BEMS. Even more, as an incentive to building owners to install a building-energy management system, BSCs can offer a free energy audit. Because audits show building owners just how much they can save on energy bills, the results of a free audit are likely to sell a BEMS installation more easily than any sales pitch can. This is part of the reason why BEMS are such a great opportunity for BSCs. There is almost no reason for a building owner not to install a product that will significantly cut energy expenses, and the BEMS market is expected to continue growing as a result.
Green Growth Many BSCs have already begun adapting to the green movement by using cleaning products with fewer and safer ingredients. As more clients become environmentally conscientious, those BSCs who fail to “go green” could fall behind the competition and miss a valuable opportunity for expanding their services. In the years to come, BSCs should consider all of their options when it comes to expanding into new markets and adapting their services to fit the needs of clients in this greener age.

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