What a BMS/IBS Should Be. Building Management System vs Integrated Building Solution

Posted by | October 13, 2011 | Management Technologies

by Fultech Solutions.

We feel there are 5 main areas to an integrated building system:

  • HVAC control – One of the largest energy suckers, total control and management is key
  • Lighting control – Having control over lights from occupancy sensors to dimming and scheduling.
  • Daylight harvesting – Keeping lights off when enough ambient light is present and using daylight for lighting. This also includes controlling ambient light via shades and shutters to control light and heat gain/loss.
  • Overall efficiencies – Using efficient products and systems, Energy Star, etc., plugging leaks, and improving waste loss.
  • Systems Integration – Bringing it all together with all systems in the building, from security/access control, lighting, hvac, audio/video and more. Tie them all together to create a complete and integrated system.

We, at FulTech, have taken a holistic approach to energy management. BMS is an often mis-used word these days, often applying exclusively to HVAC control systems. To me BMS should control and monitor ALL of the BUILDINGS functions and features. I feel this term has been ruined by overuse when applying exclusively to HVAC. We design and install systems that control and integrate all aspects of a buildings functions. Maybe they should call it an IBS- Integrated Building System/Solution. Or Energy Management System, but really a BMS should provide both energy management and controls and conveniences as well.

Utilizing a system that integrates and controls HVAC, lighting, shade controls, occupancy sensors, daylight harvesting, audio/video even security and access control. This gives complete monitoring, management and control of your space. We find most businesses are spending money on most of these areas already; it is a matter of getting systems that integrate together, for around the same cost.

For instance, we received an EPA Energy Star rating of 90, after 12 months of records. Our electric bills dropped nearly 40% and we see real, empirically backed savings and ROI. We gutted our space and redid everything 18 months ago, adding LEDs to all fixtures, using an integrated access control and security system, put in a control system for lights, hvac, audio/video and integrated all of that. The HVAC turns on 30 minutes before arrival on weekdays. Otherwise, the system is passively activated. Simply swiping your access control keycard unlocks the door (during weekdays, once disarmed before 9am, the doors stay unlocked until 4:30pm at which time they lock again), disarms security, turns on the main hall lights (all offices are on occupancy sensors) and turns on any digital signage or music we may want on (BTW- this also clocks in all employees as well).

When in the office, all rooms have occupancy sensor with built in daylight sensors preventing the lights from turning on when enough outside light comes in. In other rooms, the system is tied to our Outlook and when you schedule a meeting for the boardroom, for instance, the HVAC will turn that room on when the meeting is scheduled. When leaving the office, a final swipe of the keycard, locks the doors, arms security, turns off all lights and any other devices we may have left on.

The system also offers convenience, safety and security, as we can control any aspect from a PC screen, iPod/iPad, remotely via the internet and even monitor multiple locations. In addition, we added simple programming, with no product cost, to produce some additional unforeseen benefits such as the ability to remote lock doors. So, when everyone leaves for lunch, except the secretary, on their PC screen control, they press a “closed for business” button and the doors lock, until they press it again, unlocking the doors until 4pm again.

The system is totally passive, works flawlessly and really makes it so employees cannot foul it up. It clocks them in and out. Insures nothing is left on. Insure the doors aren’t left unlocked. You have complete control to override any feature or function using the thermostats, keypads, remotes or PC controls, so it really is the ultimate in energy management systems. It also allows real-time/actual and historical storage of energy use and consumption on multiple levels, subsystems (lights, hvac, etc), type of fuel (gas, elec, solar, etc) and a few other metrics.

Our showroom is open for tours and we have some information on our website as well. Let me know if you would like more info.

Dan Fulmer is president and founder of FulTech Solutions, a home technology installation firm headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla. (www.fultechsolutions.com)


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