Many people say that home is their place of power. Unfortunately, it’s only figurative meaning. In reality, homes consume a lot of energy. International Energy Association reports that buildings use the third part of the entire global energy and present 15% of direct carbon dioxide emissions.
Global CO2 emissions from building operations in the Net Zero Scenario, 2010-2030
This situation underlines that the way we use energy in our buildings can be a serious hurdle for fighting global climate change and Europe energy crisis. Luckily enough, businesses have an opportunity to help the cause of saving our planet by offering innovative solutions, and the bump of interest in relatable tech solutions makes visible gains. Businesswire states that the building energy management software market will be $12.7 billion by 2025, while home energy monitoring services like Sense raised $105 million in the Series C round of funding.
However, development of such solutions is easier said than done. For that reason, the JatApp team will guide you on how to develop a building energy optimization software and explain what business prospects you can have with such a product.
Pinning the technology down. What is a building management system?
Building energy optimization software (BEopt) or building energy management system (BEMS) is an umbrella term that describes solutions used for energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings by gathering and processing information about power use in order to inform consumers about the most optimal energy management decisions.
In other words, building energy optimization software controls all facilities and devices responsible for energy use and management: heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) system, electricity, utility meters, fire systems, security systems, to name a few.
At this point, we would like to place special emphasis on the role of Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices that actually gather data for building energy monitoring systems. Connected sensors, scanners, and thermostats collect information about conditions and power use inside the building to determine whether the energy consumption is adequate and how it can be optimized any further. Informing users about the best energy management decisions is actually the main purpose of BEopt software and would be impossible without IoT devices.
BEopt/BEMS software can be a standalone solution or a part of building management/automation systems as well as smart home kits. In a whatever case, users can enjoy the following benefits:
- Energy use reduction
- Cutting utilities costs
- Informed decision-making about energy efficiency
- Early recognition of problems with power supply and consumption
- Compliance with sustainability standards
- Reduction of a need for human labor to control a building’s facilities.
Must-have ingredients for developing a great BEMS
If you’re going to develop your own BEopt/BEMS solution, you need to know the major building blocks to include in your product for creating maximum value to your customers. This type of energy efficiency solution isn’t a plain software with several lines of code, which is why recognizing the main components of BEopt/BEMS software is a must.
Speaking of the main components, we need to mention a central control station, where all important decisions are made. A consumer has different facilities inside their building: electricity, heating, air conditioning, and such. The system needs to take into account all relatable processes, while their orchestration should take place in a centralized fashion.
Consequently, having “local” controllers for each facility type or any critical elements of the building’s infrastructure is also reasonable to streamline data flow to the central control station and reduce data overlapping. Still, there are many other nuances to discuss, so showing them would be a better way to describe a typical architecture of the whole building energy management system. Please, look at the illustrations below.
Typical architecture of BEMS solutions
And now, when you have a better understanding of BEopt/BEMS software architecture, we can discuss the must-have features.
Features that make BEopt/BEMS a new tech hit
To describe the most important features for BEopt/BEMS, we’ll take an example of our client’s solution. JatApp worked on the product’s user interface/user experience (UI/UX) design. The solution got $4.4 million of pre-Series A funding round, and this is the moment for us to brag a little, as our deep business analysis was accurate enough to make the product a promising investment prospect.
Well, enough for a smug introduction, let’s discuss the features:
- Intelligent analytics. This feature is the first and foremost aspect of any building energy efficiency software. Your product has to collect and analyze data to provide users with various insights such as energy use, peak hours, the most power-consuming sources, and best ways to reduce power use. As a matter of fact, you need very clever artificial intelligence (AI) technology here. Our client brought AI-enabled analytics and learning in the sharp focus of their product. Artificial intelligence enables the building energy analysis system to not only present all insights on a dashboard, but actually make the most optimal decisions about creating comfortable and healthy living conditions, energy saving, and preventing the building from production of planet-cooking emissions.
- Automation of power use. Your BEMS system is expected to adjust power consumption to the most acceptable level without getting users involved. In the ideal case, your customers should forget about having any BEMS software at home because facility management automation is a process that goes without someone’s constant involvement.
- Energy consumption optimization. If your BEopt product is capable of automating all power facilities in a building, why can’t it make energy consumption more efficient then? This feature should go hand in hand with automation of power use to create the best living conditions and keep energy consumption as minimal as possible. People won’t sacrifice their comfort for “the greater good” of humanity’s future. This way, humanity will go extinct even faster, without enough heating and other basic needs covered with energy resources. Your building energy management software should be the one that keeps a building occupants’ comfort and carbon dioxide emissions at a perfect balance.
- Reporting. Beyond a doubt, users need to see how their homes use power within different time spans and any other insights that can prompt change in energy management practices, consumption behaviors, and so on. That’s why formation and visualization of reports according to a chosen time frame, category of power source, and specific building is important, as this feature helps to promote better energy efficiency decisions and satisfies human’s curiosity.
- Access management. This feature should be developed with security of the entire system in mind. Having different access permissions for regular users, guests, facility managers, administrators, and maintenance service providers is necessary not only for the sake of data security, but also just for mundane convenience. A building energy management system can be complicated for people who don’t use it often. The “more is less” principle is surely good here: every stakeholder needs to see just enough to be able to manage their own activities within the BEopt system.
- Energy reuse. Your solution can use the energy that is produced as a waste of some process. For example, a manufacturing site has tons of hot steam produced as a result of daily operations. Your BEopt system can convert manufacturing process byproducts into heating power for the site’s office building to decrease the use of power from the primary source. Moreover, if you add an ability to manage such energy conversion by enabling users to set specific requirements, energy volumes to be reused, and any other ways of controlling power conversion, your product will earn extra customer loyalty.
Of course, all these features tease your entrepreneurial taste buds, but how much does BEMS development cost? What kind of team do you need and what’s the usual timeline for such a complex project?
We estimate that a cost for a similar project starts at $98, 000, and will likely last for almost a year. And it’s evident that you need a complete team that includes project manager, UI/UX designer, back-end developer, front-end developer, and software quality assurance engineer.
You need to remember that you need this much resources to develop the initial version of your building energy management optimization software. Then, you need to think about how your business will grow. But don’t you worry, we’ve got the answer.
Are BEopt/BEMS solutions scalable?
Yes, they definitely are. Building energy management software exists in a comfortable position between energy efficiency and real estate sectors, so your product can churn out money from both industries.
First of all, BEopt/BEMS can be a natural extension to any smart home platform or even a property management system. That is why consider building your product with an open application programming interface (API) to enable integration of the solution with relatable software. You can even enter a joint partnership with other companies, once you have a similar target audience who would like to have all solutions rolled into one platform.
You can go even further and offer your product to construction companies that sell residential and commercial real estate. Again, customers look for plug-and-play products, while construction companies evidently lack expertise in making their buildings more sustainable by implementing digital solutions. Construction companies will be able to create extra value to their customers, while your product will have an additional source of revenue and opportunity to scale.
On a side note, we need to mention a possibility of partnering with renewable energy companies and various green startups. Renewable energy is certainly the wave of the future, which is why building energy management software can connect buildings to such sources when they’re available.
Once you offer a solution that makes energy consumption more eco-friendly, you can take your offer to the next level: with purchasing your product, customers can get a free (or at least discounted) renewable energy provision for the initial period of using your BeOPT/BEMS solution. In such a way, your partners and you will share the customer base and build a sustainable energy network that is apparently a big contribution to fighting the global climate change and energy crisis.
Gather a reliable tech team to develop your BEMS product
Building energy management software does make our homes more sustainable and literally “the place of power”. Under these circumstances, the high demand on relatable products is justified, which means that launching your product today is a just-in-time decision.
Nevertheless, you need a professional tech team who will turn your written-on-whiteboard idea into a real product that satisfies the needs of your customers. JatApp can provide you with the best tech talents in Eastern Europe who have seven years of experience in developing IoT solutions for the energy sector. Our team will not only deliver you a quality solution but also provide a profound business analysis of your product to make it a strong competitor in the market.
Start building your BEopt/BEMS software by contacting us. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.