With companies looking at how they can safely bring their staff back to work, the Building Controls industry Association (BCIA) believes that it is more important than ever that building energy management systems (BeMS) are correctly installed and maintained. The BCIA also says correct utilisation of BEMS will be vital, with many buildings finding themselves under-occupied since the beginning of lockdown in March.
Terry Sharp, BCIA president, said: “Many companies and their employees have demonstrated that they can remain engaged with their work through online meetings and document sharing. The technology that enables this has of course been available to us for years, but it has taken a global pandemic to make us fully appreciate its benefits.
“We can apply a similar logic to smart buildings and the BeMS systems that have proved beneficial during lockdown and will continue to do so after, as we will undoubtedly need to adapt to new work practices in the future. A BeMS can keep unoccupied or partially occupied buildings ticking over, saving energy and maintenance costs. Office staff may be working remotely but in instances where factory or warehouse workers have to go into work then the BeMS will be scheduling main plant to only serve the occupied areas and zones – avoiding energy wastage in unoccupied spaces.”
With regard to the safety of staff, the BCIA also predicts an increase in the use of tools like occupancy analytics. Terry Sharp added: “Organisations may have to re-evaluate how they use their spaces and this could cause problems in buildings with a smaller floor area. Occupancy analytics could therefore play a key role particularly with space optimisation as companies bring employees back to work whilst simultaneously ensuring their health, comfort, and productivity is not negatively affected.”