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Integrated EMS provides insight into energy flows

A proportion of buildings in Europe must have a Building Automation and Control System (BACS) and an integrated Energy Management System (EMS) by 2026. This offers valuable insights to take energy-efficiency to the next level.

The new ESG legislation from the European Union (EPBDIII) underscores the importance of data in paving the way to more energy-efficient buildings. Whereas Energy bills gloss on the surface, informing facility managers about overall energy consumption, Energy Management System (EMS) are like a deep dive. An EMS monitors the consumption from individual items, areas through to process systems. This offers valuable insights for cherry-picking high yield energy-saving measures and improved operations.

It is imperative for organisations to update their EMS systems as soon as possible. While there is no clear indication of how this will be enforced in the EU, the Dutch Government for one is clear on its intent to stick to 2026 a non-negotiable in the Netherlands.

From insight to optimisation

Earlier in this series on the EPGDIII, we shared that some of buildings must be equipped with a Building Automation and Control System (BACS) in accordance with NEN 52120 by 2026. In addition, any building with a BACS must also have an integrated EMS (Level B) before 2026. This applies to all newly built utility buildings with a heating or cooling system from 290 kW nominal output. For existing buildings, the EMS must be included if a major renovation is going to take place, a generator is being replaced and/or included in your MJOP (multi-year maintenance plan) or renovation passport.

An Energy Management System (EMS) maps the various energy flows within a building, such as electricity, water and gas. This system combines hardware and software: sensors at strategic locations measure consumption, after which the software makes real-time analyses. Thanks to the link with BACS, these insights can be used to optimise the automatic control of lighting and climate systems, for example.

Of the several combinations are possible for the integration between BACS and EMS, the most common options are:

  • API connection between BMS and EMS: Having the two systems communicate with each other via a data connection.
  • Total solution: One system which supports both processes.

In addition, both systems should be at a certain level, as described in ISO 52120-1:2021 .

" Unlike BACS, for which level C is sufficient, level B is mandatory for EMS. This means, that in addition to monitoring consumption, the EMS needs to analyse trends and generate reports.
Naomi Duivesteijn Smart Building Advisor

Technology with a human touch

To ensure that organisations actually get to grip with this, the appointment of an energy coordinator becomes mandatory, for both owners and tenants. This person manages the complete EMS, investigates where reduction opportunities lie and implements them. Depending on the capabilities and complexity of the systems.

EMS compliance in 3 steps

Whereas there are predictive systems that show exactly where energy is being lost many buildings’ EMS does not meet legislative requirements. At Deerns, we help our clients comply with the legislation. This involves three starting points:

  1. A sub-metering plan: All major installations and components, as well as lighting, heating, cooling systems and other energy flows must be measured separately. A sub-metering should also be made per “logical rentable unit”, to gain insight into the energy flows per tenant.
  2. An energy meter audit : We audit the meters to assess whether they meet the requirements or whether new/additional energy meters need to be addedas efficiently as possible – e.g. with wireless meters – and the meters are installed.
  3. Data Plan: Adata plan ensures safe transfer of all the data from the energy meters to the EMS.

This three basic steps inform an upgrade plan with a cost estimate, after which we can proceed to implementation.

A look to the future

As ‘B’ in “level B” suggests, it is not the final port of call. A “level A” EMS is expected to be added as a requirement to legislation in the coming years. The same applies to Smart Grids. Right now, the EMS should be ready for Smart Grid integration, but it does not have to be connected yet.

The great benefit of a full EMS system including Smart Grid integration is improved energy consumption management, depending on the offer of the grid supplier. A smart system could purchase energy at the time when CO2 emissions are close to zero when the supplier is sourcing from green energy, to keep the carbon footprint as low as possible. In addition to environmental impact, it can also be similarly geared for low cost purchase – sourcing energy when tariffs are low.

An EMS offers undeniable benefits, now and in the future. By visualising data, you become aware of energy consumption and it becomes clear which systems need improvement and where optimisation is possible. Contact one of our experts for targeted advice on Energy Management Systems (EMS).

Deerns EU Energy Performance series

Earlier in this series on EU building legislation for energy performance, we unpacked high level expectations, followed by tips on getting ready for the requirements around Building Automation & Control Systems (BACS). Look out for the next article on the EU Taxonomy, which aims to increase transparency in the real estate market.

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Pieter Schepman

Unit Director Building Physics and Energy