According to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU. At present, about 35% of the EU's buildings are over 50 years old and almost 75% of the building stock is energy inefficient. Buildings are therefore the single largest energy consumer in Europe and have vast potential for energy efficiency gains. Currently, only about 1% of the building stock is being renovated each year. Renovation of existing buildings can lead to significant energy savings, as it could reduce the EU’s total energy consumption by 5-6% and lower CO2 emissions by about 5%. One way to increase the energy efficiency of buildings is to implement a building energy management system (BEMS).
BEMSs are centralised, computer-based systems, which provide real-time monitoring and integrated control of building services and equipment to optimise energy usage. They typically control the lighting, power, hot water, and HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) systems. The system monitors the information received from various sensors in the building (smart meters, occupancy, temperature, carbon dioxide and humidity sensors, etc.) and optimises the energy consumption while maintaining safety and comfort.
These systems can also be used to improve the health and security of the inhabitants by controlling and monitoring the environment, emergency responses and regular maintenance schedules. The technology can be applied to both residential and commercial buildings and at varying scales from small independent buildings to complex sites with multiple buildings.
Problems to be solved
Greenhouse gas emissions
Building Energy Management Systems are deployed to bring about a decrease in energy consumption whilst maintaining optimum comfort levels. Achieving this leads to reductions in energy cost and greenhouse gas emissions.
Improving energy usage efficiency
Reducing energy bills
Reducing operation costs
Enhanced data security
Improved data accessibility
Decreasing energy consumption in buildings
Improving energy usage efficiency
Reducing energy bills
Reducing GHG emissions
Shaving peak energy demand
Increasing share of renewables
Enhances grid stability
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Each Solution has at least one mandatory function, which is needed to achieve the basic purpose of the Solution, and several additional functions, which are features that can be added to provide additional benefits.
Gives real-time information to optimise generation and consumption
BEMS technologies gather data to inform future decisions
Automatically adjusts control setpoints to ensure user comfort at all times
Ensures grid stability by managing generation
Balances generation, consumption, and storage
Facilitates the monitoring and control of multiple systems and buildings simultaneously
There are two kinds of BEMS technologies: active and passive technologies.
Passive strategy includes technologies such as:
- Building envelops (walls, roofs, windows, doors, etc.) and insulation which lead to lower heat demand and higher efficiency of buildings
- Building materials and their thermal transmittance (U-value)
- Architecture and orientation which determine sun shading effects
- Natural ventilation
The combination of the above measures brings about the targets for building energy efficiency, which are reducing heat gains, controlling heat flows, and managing energy demand.
Active strategy includes technologies such as:
- Mechanical and smart ventilation systems
- Heating and cooling technologies such as heat pumps, boilers, solar thermal systems, direct electric heaters, hybrid systems, combined heat and power (CHP) systems, etc.
- Renewable energy sources (RES) generation
- Energy storage technologies
To optimise the energy management for active systems, demand side management, model predictive control, and fault detection and diagnosis can be used.
- Demand Side Management (DSM): DSM ensures that consumer-side peak loads are redistributed in such a way that loads can be shifted and even energy can be saved. This results in lower peaks and, ideally, generation of a more constant load. DSM thus improves the overall performance of a power grid and can save energy through the intelligent control of household appliances, power generation plants and storage.
- Model Predictive Control (MPC): Based on forecasts of building energy utilisation, MPC can be used to foresee building response to temperature, heat, and moisture control requests, and can act sufficiently to accomplish the necessary operation.
- Fault detection and diagnosis (FDD): Although buildings can be planned and developed in an energy-efficient and green manner, a substantial fraction of energy could still be lost if the BEMS is not appropriately executed. FDD is implemented through a data driven approach which utilises artificial intelligence to determine the cause of the fault in the system, or through a knowledge-based approach which depends on specialists to recognize and detect faults more viably and dependably.
In addition to the above benefits, self-consumption in buildings with renewable energy systems can be maximised with BEMS. Ancillary services to the grid can also be provided, with the integration of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) and Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) capabilities.
There are two main directives in the EU covering the reduction of energy consumption in buildings: The Energy Efficiency Directive and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, with amendments made to both directives in 2018 as part of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package:
2018/2002 Energy Efficiency Directive
The key element of the amended directive (2018/2002) is the update of the policy framework to 2030 and beyond, with an energy efficiency target of at least 32.5% by 2030, from the previously stated target of 20% by 2020.
The directive allows for a possible upward revision in the target in 2023, in case of substantial cost reductions due to economic or technological developments. It also includes an extension to the energy savings obligation in end use, introduced in the 2012 directive. Under the amending directive, EU countries will have to achieve new energy savings of 0.8% each year of final energy consumption for the 2021-2030 period, except Cyprus and Malta which will have to achieve 0.24% each year instead.
Other elements in the amended directive include:
- stronger rules on metering and billing of thermal energy by giving consumers - especially those in multi-apartment building with collective heating systems - clearer rights to receive more frequent and more useful information on their energy consumption, also enabling them to better understand and control their heating bills
- requiring Member States to have in place transparent, publicly available national rules on the allocation of the cost of heating, cooling and hot water consumption in multi-apartment and multi-purpose buildings with collective systems for such services
- monitoring efficiency levels in new energy generation capacities
- updated primary energy factor (PEF) for electricity generation of 2.1 (down from the current 2.5)
- a general review of the Energy Efficiency Directive (required by 2024)
2018/844/EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive
It introduces new elements on the EU’s commitment to modernise the buildings sector following technological improvements and increase building renovations. The EPBD covers a broad range of policies and supportive measures that will help national EU governments boost energy performance of buildings and improve the existing building stock. For example
- EU countries must establish strong long-term renovation strategies, aiming at decarbonising the national building stocks by 2050, with indicative milestones for 2030, 2040 and 2050. The strategies should contribute to achieving the national energy and climate plans (NECPs) energy efficiency targets
- EU countries must set cost-optimal minimum energy performance requirements for new buildings, for existing buildings undergoing major renovation, and for the replacement or retrofit of building elements like heating and cooling systems, roofs and walls
- all new buildings must be nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) from 31 December 2020. Since 31 December 2018, all new public buildings already need to be NZEB
- energy performance certificates must be issued when a building is sold or rented, and inspection schemes for heating and air conditioning systems must be established
- electro-mobility is supported by introducing minimum requirements for car parks over a certain size and other minimum infrastructure for smaller buildings
- an optional European scheme for rating the ‘smart readiness’ of buildings is introduced
- smart technologies are promoted, including through requirements on the installation of building automation and control systems, and on devices that regulate temperature at room level
- health and well-being of building users is addressed, for instance through the consideration of air quality and ventilation
- EU countries must draw up lists of national financial measures to improve the energy efficiency of buildings
The business value of BEMS does not directly correlate with the solution's complexity. Due to the diversity of customer needs and building infrastructure, different types of BEMS can be most profitable. The graphic below shows different possible complexities of BEMS.
For example, for an owner of a single building who is just starting to explore the opportunities of more strategic energy management, a BEMS, which enables the visualisation and reporting of the energy consumption may be the ideal investment. On the other hand, an executive seeking to manage energy across a corporate real estate portfolio may require an integrated BEMS that manages a broad spectrum of equipment, helps expedite a centralised maintenance team, and tracks progress toward corporate sustainability targets. In this situation, the most beneficial BEMS would include the sophisticated capabilities in each of the four classes: visualisation and reporting, fault detection and diagnostics, predictive maintenance and continuous improvement and optimisation. Furthermore, a BEMS that is initially implemented with a focus on a particular building or equipment type but is scalable to add complexity and integrate across systems over time may generate more business value and support a phased investment approach.
BEMS Offerings Roadmap (Casey Talon, 2015)
Resources Needed for BEMS Implementation (BABLE, 2021)
Due to steadily increasing energy costs and the upcoming focus on environmental performance, the energy efficiency of buildings will become even more important in the next years.
According to a report from Navigant Research, global BEMS market is expected to grow from $2.7 billion in 2016 to $12.8 billion in 2025 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.2%. In 2016, hardware only contributes an estimated 10% of BEMS revenue, while software and services nearly split the remaining revenue, contributing 44% and 46%, respectively, as shown in the graphic below.
This category of software is the vehicle that can translate the increasing array of facility data into actionable information. It also helps end users recognize and act on opportunities to improve system performance and behaviour that deliver cost savings and business improvements.
A combination of all three categories brings about energy efficiency and management capabilities such as operational efficiency, space utilisation, productivity, occupant engagement and sustainability.
BEMS Revenue by Offering Type, World Markets: 2016 - 2025 (Casey Talon, 2016)
Stakeholder Map for BEMS Systems (E-LAND Project Output, 2019; BABLE, 2021)
The Renovation Wave Initiative
To achieve the long-term goal of climate neutrality by 2050, the European Commission published its Renovation Wave strategy on 14 October 2020, which aims to at least double renovation rates in the next ten years and make sure renovations lead to higher energy and resource efficiency. The Commission foresees that by 2030, 35 million buildings could be renovated and up to 160,000 additional green jobs created in the construction sector. Key actions included in the Commission's strategy include:
- Stronger regulations, standards, and information on the energy performance of buildings
- Reinforced, accessible, and more targeted funding supported by technical assistance
- Creating green jobs, training, and upskilling workers, and attracting new talent
- Expanding the market for sustainable construction products and services
- Developing neighbourhood-based approaches for local communities to integrate renewable and digital solutions and create zero-energy districts
- Promoting decarbonisation of heating and cooling, which is responsible for 80% of energy consumed in residential buildings
Smart Finance for Smart Buildings Initiative
It was launched as part of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package, and includes practical solutions to mobilise private financing for energy efficiency and renewables in three main areas:
- More effective use of public funds
- More assistance to create project pipelines
- De-risking using EU grants
EU Funding Schemes for Energy Efficiency
- The European Structural & Investment Funds: In total €17.6 billion has been allocated to energy efficiency (incl. € 13.3 billion, dedicated to energy efficiency improvements in public and residential buildings), i.e. around EUR 2.5 billion per year.
- European Local ENergy Assistance (ELENA):Managed by the European Investment Bank, it supports private and public promoters to develop and launch large-scale bankable sustainable energy investments (above €30 million), including in sustainable transport. ELENA covers up to 90% of project development costs.
- Project Development Assistance - Horizon 2020 (PDA H2020): It helps public and private promoters develop model sustainable energy projects, focusing on small and medium-sized energy investments of at least €7.5 million and up to €50 million, covering up to 100% of eligible project development costs. Sector covered include refurbishment of buildings, RES in buildings, district heating/cooling, energy efficient street-lighting, and clean urban transport.
- Increased post pandemic focus on energy consumed by the buildings sector
- Growing regulatory pressure to curb energy wastage in buildings
- Governmental policies and strategies to promote the use of smart technology in home energy saving
- Increased collective engagement through the adoption of user-friendly interfaces to facilitate monitoring and control
Local context, including legislation and cultural conditions, affects the kind of BEMS that is ideal for each city and the adjustments to the standard model that may have to be made. Key factors to consider when planning an approach are:
- City physiology: The climate and geography of the city affects the mix of BEMS that can be deployed. Hot climate presents great opportunities for solar PV generation, but also challenges, as mechanical cooling is extensively used. Thus, a flexible energy system helps to balance demand and supply.
- Politics, policy & regulation: Specific policy measures that encourage energy efficient refurbishments while punishing actions that increase energy consumption should be developed. An in-depth study of old and existing retrofitting programs and the building stock overview needs to be considered for selecting policies that align well with local context.
- Economic performance: Funding vehicles tailored to specific market segments that provide simple and commercially attractive source of finance for deep renovation should be developed. Deep energy retrofitting of existing building shells, e.g. property tax reduction for high energy performing buildings, as well as incentives for the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies should be put in place.
- Social & cultural conditions: The lifestyle, demography, security, and cultural heritage of the city influence the choice of BEMS technologies. Some cities experience a daily double-peak in electricity demand that put enormous pressure on the distribution network and require expensive reinforcement without load-shifting and peak reduction. Care must be taken to ensure a balance between maintaining the lifestyle in a city and implementing energy efficient measures, whilst also preserving the cultural heritage and uniqueness of every building.
Data and Standards
- ISO 50001 Standard for Energy Management Systems (ISO Standard)
Smart and efficient Energy Management System for multipurpose building in Ljubljana
BTC, a multipurpose facility in Slovenia aimed at reducing their overall energy consumption and adhere to the ISO 50001 standard. Solvera Lynx offered an innovative solution for smart energy management (EM) based on wireless LoRaWA technology.
Energy Management for a group of Hospitals
Vinzenz group, biggest health care provider in Austria aimed at reducing energy consumption. A tailor-made monitoring software platform for targeted analysis of energy consumption, especially in cooling and heating technologies was installed by Solvera Lynx
Energy Management System for the Novo Mesto Municipality
The Novo Mesto Municipality identified a need to adopt sustainable energy management solutions and infrastructure upgrades in the public buildings to reach their desired economic performance goals. Hence, a comprehensive tailor made energy management system from Solvera Lynx was installed.
Energy Management in a Smart Connected Factory
Salonit Anhovo, the biggest cement production factory in Slovenia has the goal to reach the top 10 % most energy-efficient cement factories in the European Union. To support Salonit Anhovo with their energy management goals, Solvera Lynx is supporting them with LoRaWAN technology.
Energy efficient refurbishment of the building - Sports Centre CEM Claror Cartagena
Naturgy has implemented retrofitting actions to lower the energy consumption in over 12,500 m2 of tertiary floor in Barcelona. Three buildings with very different uses have been retrofitted, and one of them is a Sports Centre, CEM Claror Cartagena.
Energy efficient refurbishment of tertiary buildings by Barcelona Municipality
Barcelona Municipality has retrofitted two old textile factories, lately abandoned or used as a warehouse. The buildings have been transformed into a new public library (Library Les Corts) and an R&D centre for Smart cities hosting both public and private entities (Ca l’Alier).
Energy efficient refurbishment of the building - Educative centre Escola Sert
Gas Natural Fenosa has implemented energy refurbishment of an Educative center Escola Sert. The aim is to validate the technical and economic feasibility of adding renewable energy generation to a tertiary building in the form of building integrated photovoltaics (BIPVs) for self-consumption.
Energy efficient refurbishment of the building - Hotel H10 Catedral
Under the GrowSmarter project, Gas Natural Fenosa has implemented energy refurbishment of three buildings with very different uses , and one of them is a hotel H10 Catedral. The aim is to validate the technical and economic feasibility of executing an energy refurbishment of a tertiary building.
Energy efficient refurbishment of residential buildings by Naturgy
Naturgy has implemented retrofitting actions with the aim of lowering the energy consumption of buildings in nearly 20,000 m2 of residential floor in Barcelona: Canyelles, Ter, Lope de Vega and Melon District.
Energy efficient refurbishment of a residential building - Passeig Santa Coloma
Barcelona Municipality has promoted the energy refurbishment of a social housing building in Passeig Santa Coloma with 207 dwellings and over 14,000 m2.
Building Energy Management System: Resource Advisor
The Software Platform called ‘Resource Advisor’ developed by Schneider Electric enables the follow-up of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the evaluation of the impact of energy retrofitting works in a building.
Smart energy and self-sufficient block
The smart energy and self-sufficient block aims to reduce electric consumption in tertiary buildings through renewable energy, especially photovoltaic.
Home energy management system (HEMS) by Gas Natural Fenosa
Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS) are installed in all residential buildings selected to be refurbished by Naturgy in Barcelona. It aims to inform tenants on how to optimize their consumption and reduce their energy bills, by providing information on real-time electricity and gas consumption.
Smart control of individual rooms in existing buildings
With the aim of reducing energy consumption by 20% in the existing office buildings in Strijp-S, an innovative concept has been developed to optimise energy consumption while maintaining user comfort. The system allows interactive monitoring and control of HVAC system via mobile application.
Smart control of individual floors in existing buildings
Predictive control algorithm was used to independently control floors in a Strijp-S office building.
Sustainable Energy Management Service (SEMS)
This measure involves the development of an advanced, data-rich, management system which gains maximum benefits from the retrofitted buildings, sharing energy data through the open platform enabling energy services to be provided that reduce energy use and bills.
Energy Efficiency & CO2 saving at City of Antwerp
The City of Antwerp used a power quality improvement system, called E-Power, to improve energy efficiency and reduce consumption in eight of its buildings, with potentially more to come.
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