It’s widely known that there are huge advantages of running a building energy management system (BMS), however there are flaws in the technology and this has led to some users being deterred from using such technologies. Many new buildings will have very complex, capable and expensive BMS systems installed but building operators lack the understanding, will or confidence to use them.

All too often almost all of the effort in designing BMS systems goes on the back-end. It can be a case of engineers building a system for other engineers to use but all too often these days the eventual person tasked with operating the BMS will not have an overly technical background. The language and interface of the BMS can therefore appear opaque and very difficult to get to grips with. All too often this leads to BMS systems being woefully under-utilised.

The operational costs of a building can account for 80% of the total building costs and one of the services we offer at amber energy is to look at a suitable BMS to allow clients to get their energy use under control in ways that they may not have considered before. Without key support these systems can often be used incorrectly or not at all, as there has been a trend for employees with little or no training can be placed in charge of the BMS.

As with quite a lot of technology these days, it’s just not being used in the way that was intended and a large part of this is down to the lack of usability. To ensure that a BMS delivers the the usability and interface must be looked at and be the focus of the development. Fortunately, BMS manufacturers are waking up to this issue and new systems are now coming onto the market with ease of use and the human interface element being one of the primary features. The hope is that these systems will allow building occupiers to use their BMS as intended and with a little support from energy consultants, fully optimise their buildings for low energy consumption, reduced energy costs, greater air quality and thermal comfort and a lighter environment impact.