Francisco is the Commercial Director, Domótica SGTA. Domótica SGTA is a Master-level BMS EcoXpert™.
According to the European Parliament (EP), about 75% of existing buildings do NOT qualify as being energy efficient. In fact, the EP states that buildings consume 40% of energy end use in Europe. For this reason, regulations such as the European Standard EN 15232 have been tightened to emphasize improved energy efficiency, to promote greener buildings, and to tighten control through modernized building automation and building management systems (BMS).
For governments and citizens, this is good news because lower energy consumption equals lower carbon emissions, and such actions contribute to global warming reduction efforts. For businesses, although such regulations imply that their building portfolios require modifications to be compliant, those modernization efforts will result in much lower long-term energy costs.
As a Schneider Electric Master-level BMS EcoXpert™ partner specializing in the design, installation and commissioning of BMS and building automation, our company Domótica SGTA, helps organizations to meet these energy efficiency standards. Our experts support engineering consultants, contractors, and end users by properly implementing the regulatory statutes and directives. We also advise building owners on how to best generate energy savings across their building assets.
Regulations Push Building Owners to Reduce Carbon Emissions
Recent revisions to the European Union’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) lay down the new target energy consumption levels to be achieved. EPDB defines four classes (A, B, C, and D) of Building Automation and Control (BAC) efficiency (class D is designated the least efficient while class A represents the most efficient category). Each of these classes defines specifications for heating, cooling, ventilating, lighting, and shading of the building. Efficiency gains are significant for building owners that progress beyond class C; class B buildings generate energy savings of around 20% while class A buildings can generate energy savings of up to 80%.
Each member state in the European Union is free to decide how to transpose these directives into national laws. In Portugal, where our company is based, it was mandatory, as of 2013, to install a class C or higher building automation and control system. In 2019, that directive was strengthened so that now a class B or higher system is required.
The intent of the directive is to enable the owner of the building to control energy consumption down to the room level in a building. In an office building environment, for example, the various offices, meeting rooms, lunchrooms, and lobbies must be capable of independent control to optimize energy efficiency.
Implementation Costs Drop as Energy Savings Rise
When addressing these requirements, we help our clients to develop and validate technical plans and we advise them on how to operate key assets such as boilers and air handlers. We also recommend that our clients install room controllers. These technologies control the temperature, air ventilation, lighting, and window blinds in each individual room. Room controllers must have the capacity to control each particular space in a way that optimizes energy consumption reduction (like occupancy sensors that allow for less environmental control when the room is unoccupied).
At first, such an upgrade may appear to be an expensive proposition because of the volume of controllers that need to be installed, especially in larger buildings. Five years ago, 50 cabling systems would have been required to connect 50 rooms to the IP network. Today, however, thanks to breakthroughs in connectivity technologies, only one cable is required to connect up to 50 different controllers to the network. These savings are significant.
Ability to Track Data Boosts Building Energy Performance and Addresses Compliance
The new regulations also require that building owners develop their ability to gather and report building energy performance data. In Portugal, the law obliges building owners to have at least six years of data available. Important checkpoints such as electrical, gas, and water consumption must be documented. Therefore, energy system and building management databases need to be backed up so that the data can made available for centralized analysis. In this area, we support clients with analytical software that both tracks and documents the results generated by our optimized building control systems.
To learn more about how digitized building automation solutions can improve both regulatory compliance and reduce building energy costs, check out some of our project deployments.