Maximizing ROI in an Integrated BMS

Nov. 1, 2007
By making the most of building management systems, building managers have the opportunity to improve employee productivity and save capital and operating expenditures

A state-of-the-art building management system (BMS) enables superior integration between systems, including information technology (IT), sophisticated single-point-of-control security, and ongoing energy cost savings for the life of the building.

Today, the BMS not only maintains specifications for heating, cooling, and ventilation, but also supports energy conservation and emergency-response procedures, and even monitors independent power supplies. Sophisticated security systems that combine access controls and closed-circuit television also work in concert with the BMS. A BMS enables employees and occupants of a facility to be more productive. Investing in a BMS can save more than 14 percent in annual costs measured in lost productivity, according to studies by the Atlanta-based American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Integrating environmental, emergency, and security into a single BMS decreases expenses by allowing operators to drive performance metrics in complete alignment with business objectives for entire buildings, campuses, and multi-regional facilities. This integration can save up to 24 percent in capital expenditures for installation and 35 percent in operating expenditures over time. An integrated BMS even has the design flexibility to allow moves, additions, and changes to commercial office layouts or usage patterns without additional investment in the system.

Energy conservation can be administered with a comprehensive plan tied to occupancy and usage based on integrated access control and environmental systems. Environmental systems can also react to security and emergency requirements through automatic shutdown procedures based on preset specifications.

An integrated BMS allows for the convergence of facilities management and IT through a common IP network, which avoids duplicating multiple networks and operating environments. Additionally, technology advancements allow the BMS to be integrated into the existing IT infrastructure, enabling smooth BMS upgrades and extending building controls to other business systems. These systems benefit from centralized monitoring and synchronization with environmental, emergency, and security systems.

According to studies by the Converged Building Technologies Group (CBTG), the payback of a fully integrated approach to the BMS and IT begins in the early stages of installation and continues throughout the life-cycle of the systems. For example, having one team for project design and development eliminates communications problems in organizing and scheduling the project.

Integrating security and systems with fire alarms and public address and evacuation systems on the same network with the BMS saves 35 percent of installation costs. Combining closed-circuit television with the BMS on this same network saves another 24 percent, CBTG research explains. Over a 30-year life-cycle for an integrated building, operational costs are reduced by an additional 35 percent per year.

Using an integrated BMS to manage the facility increases employee productivity and saves energy and operating costs. The good news for building managers, who are entrusted to optimize the performance of commercial buildings, is that there are more opportunities than ever before to maximize return on investment in an integrated BMS. 

Cliff Holbeck is business development manager with Carrollton, TX-based TAC (, a world leader in building automation, security systems, and energy services.

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