“All you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?” Greta Thunberg said in her famous speech before the United Nations in 2019. Today, business leaders can no longer feel comfortable with the rising CO2 emissions levels and pretend that they contribute to social welfare while also ignoring the climate crisis.
As the Earth is getting hotter, the building energy management system (BEMS) sector is blazing hot, too. Reports show a staggering growth from $5.85 billions in 2018 to predicted $9.32 billions in 2023. Clients have become more eco-conscious and tend to prefer sustainable companies that take care of the environment rather than exploit it mindlessly.
BEMS market size
In this blog post, the JatApp team will discuss what a BEMS actually is and what burning issues it solves. We will also take a look at our recent case to show what features you can add to make your BEMS shine like a diamond.
Why does energy efficiency in buildings matter?
Energy systems in buildings are one of the easiest ways to reduce the detrimental impact of climate change. Buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of CO2 emissions worldwide, far more than the transportation industry.
The recent findings from the International Energy Agency suggest that we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings by 87% by the end of 2050. To achieve this ambitious goal in thirty years, we need to combine energy efficient management with renewable energy technologies that have already penetrated the market.
Projected buildings-related CO2 emissions
Still, less than 1% of buildings are carbon neutral nowadays. So, it’s a stunning paradox that the most affordable way to fight climate change without compromising human health is to introduce technologies in the industry that lags behind.
Besides, building energy management helps not only cut down CO2 emissions but also reduce indoor air pollution, as it ensures better ventilation than the traditional buildings. This helps to reduce the risks of air pollution-related conditions, like lung cancer or asthma. Energy efficiency solutions save lives, while alleviating financial burden associated with medical treatment and increasing the building value.
What’s the difference between a building energy management system (BEMS) and building management system (BMS)?
Even though the concepts of a BEMS and BMS may look similar at the first glance, these two are entirely different species. A BEMS refers to technologies that track energy use, showing how a user can improve energy efficiency of a building. BEMSs are usually used to monitor and control lighting systems and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units in commercial buildings, like restaurants, plants, grocery stores, you name it. These solutions help to gain a bird’s eye view of energy consumption and provide valuable data to make a more informed decision regarding power use.
Meanwhile, a BMS, also known as a building automation system, is a broader term, which refers to a platform that lets users automate controls of their buildings, such as lighting, security, ventilation, and energy. A perfect example of a BMS can be a fire safety control, which ensures that the elevators will automatically stop working at the ground floor, if there’s a fire in the building.
Ticking many boxes: What problems does a BEMS solve?
The name speaks for itself: a BEMS helps to manage energy usage in the buildings. But you might think that this is too abstract. What specific problems does it solve? Let’s unpack the benefits of a BEMS by showing how this technology makes life easier.
It takes a village to gather data
Collecting data manually is associated with high risks of human errors. Without reliable data on building performance, any changes in energy management could be a waste of time, effort, and money. Moreover, this is a rather tedious task that usually takes at least several workers to complete.
The use of a BEMS allows facility managers to gather information from different sources. The technology also frees up their time for higher value tasks that cannot be automated.
Energy wastage goes unnoticed
Facility managers waste energy due to many factors. Wrong settings, faulty timers, broken equipment, and the list goes on. By the time you figure out the cause, you might have already lost thousands of dollars. Certainly, you can gather a team to perform daily routine checks, but be ready to pay a fortune for qualified employees.
So, why not let a BEMS automatically track building operations? Such a technology can notify managers when energy consumption goes beyond the set levels. When a user has real-time knowledge of building performance, they are more likely to prevent energy wastage and reduce the risk of a sudden breakdown.
Energy reporting is time consuming
Facility managers are responsible for reporting on energy consumption to senior management. However, writing all these reports can be a real headache. Workers need to set clear goals, process large volumes of data, perform strong analysis, and present their findings in a way that is easy to understand. Phew, that’s a lot! And when they have to report on several buildings, it becomes even more problematic and time consuming.
With energy management software, facility managers can throw away old-school manual reports to the history’s dustbin. The BEMS helps not only to automatically generate and customize reports but also share them with their colleagues.
It’s challenging to justify retrofit projects
When finishing retrofit projects, senior management usually wants to see concrete results that show a return on investment. Without reliable data, chances are facility managers will be extremely nervous, when a boss calls them in on the carpet. With the proper BEMS, it’s possible to easily assess the impact of the project once it’s implemented. This also allows businesses to increase the scale of the project with more confidence.
Occupants’ behaviors affect building performance
Occupants’ habits directly affect the building energy performance. Therefore, engaging occupants in energy efficiency initiatives can be a game changer. But how can a manager convince them to modify their behaviors? By showing reports generated by a BEMS, facility managers can highlight the need for a change and indicate specific areas for improvement.
Which “killer” features should a great BEMS have?
JatApp helped a startup from Germany to design a BEMS that helps to reduce energy consumption in commercial buildings by up to 40%. Thanks to its valuable functionalities, the company managed to raise an overwhelming $4.4 millions in venture capital. Without further ado, let’s talk about some “killer” features that make investors pour their money into this BEMS.
The dashboard feature allows users to see a bigger picture of building energy performance. A system of widgets help them customize the view as well as filter the information according to their taste. Our team also added the drag-and-drop feature to move the widgets on the dashboard easily. Thus, the dashboard is divided into two sections: the main block that contains widgets and the sidebar that has two tabs with global filters and a set of widgets.
Our designers also built a section where users can find all connected buildings. It has such tabs as history log, access permissions, building characteristics, and artificial intelligence (AI) status. More specifically, the AI status tab shows how much a user has progressed with the technology implementation.
The solution also invites them to enter different building characteristics to increase the overall energy efficiency. During each stage of the solution implementation a user needs to submit a different type of data. To gamify this process, we included a progress bar that changes each time a new piece of information is added. The solution also allows uploading an Excel file with building data, so that a user can no longer bother with typing everything manually.
Buildings section feature
With this feature, users can view the list of reports that can be filtered according to their preferences. Each report opens in a new tab, which enables them to easily compare different reports. Additionally, they can visualize reports using custom graphs and charts.
The administration panel has three major sections: company settings, user and group management, and permissions. These tables allow administrators to provide access to various users.
What is interesting about this feature is that facility managers can give access to a specific tab or form. For instance, a user who’s in charge of the ventilation system in the building doesn’t need all forms to do their job. Offering access, say, to the heating system will only confuse this user, leaving them wondering whether they’ve mistaken the app.
User authentication and profile
If your BEMS is designed for the B2B market, a user registration can work as follows: a person should send a request to get authorized before accessing the system. Once registered, they can edit, and hide personal information, change the password, delete their account, and view the access rights in the profile tab.
Create an innovative BEMS with us
The idea of developing your own BEMS from scratch may seem like a hassle at the beginning. But once you understand the benefits and know what features are valuable, you’re already halfway through. When you pick a reliable software company that can offer you the right technical expertise, developing a BEMS will be one pleasant experience!
JatApp is a software development agency that has completed more than 200 projects over the past seven years. With that under our belt, we’re delivering services that receive a 99% satisfaction rate from our customers. It’s also worth mentioning that many of our clients are startups from the energy sector. Their solutions, like the aforementioned BEMS, get millions in funding and are appealing in the eyes of strategic angel investors.
Interested in building energy management software? Please, leave us a note and we’ll reach out to you as soon as possible.