Modern Building Management Systems (BMS) are capable of collating significant amounts of valuable Building and HVAC Plant operation information. The problem, as with any database, is turning the significant amounts of data into insights which can then be targeted and actioned.
Estates and Facility Managers and their Teams are facing increasing time pressures and may therefore find it difficult to fully monitor their BMS each day, meaning that critical issues or opportunities could arise which go unnoticed. The challenges they face are significant ones:
Across the whole lifecycle of a typical Building, demand is driving innovative services that empower:
Managers to make sense of their BMS and HVAC plant operation data
Health Boards and Investors who want to keep their assets attractive and valuable over longer periods
Responses from Staff and Visitors who often complain about uncomfortable conditions in their workplace
To assist Estates, Facility and Energy Managers to overcome these challenges, companies like Schneider Electric have developed a balanced approach. It comprises a comprehensive portfolio of Services using three- elements people, technology and collaboration to provide whole life building efficiency. Key to this is the analysis of the BMS data. It provides valuable insights into the performance of the BMS, it’s control over the associated HVAC plant and the actual HVAC plant operation.
This led some years ago to a new way of maintaining a BMS and the associated HVAC Plant – using a predictive approach instead of preventative maintenance. Preventative maintenance has traditionally been the preferred option for a BMS, especially when looking at field devices with a wear potential, such as valves, actuators and motors. However, a rigidly planned schedule doesn’t detect issues before they occur. These are only uncovered during the actual planned maintenance activities, some of which could be up to 12 months apart. This leads to a much-increased risk of breakdown and all the associated reactive activity to affect a repair, in the intervening periods. Reactive maintenance is also the most expensive approach, costing as much as 25-30% higher in repairs with four times as many breakdowns and therefore a poor return on investment.
However, the full Predictive maintenance approach combines a wide range of monitoring and associated activities including data analytics, remote alarm monitoring and analysis, coupled with remote and on-site support.
Firstly, BMS and HVAC plant data is captured at small time intervals and continuously analysed using specific data models to identify opportunities for possible improvement based around three key areas; maintenance, energy and comfort. The resultant output highlights which can then be investigated in a prioritised dashboard or report.
Secondly, the monitoring of critical BMS alarms allows further key analysis to be carried out. Some large Healthcare Estates find their BMS generates hundreds of alarms per day, some of which are nuisance alarms. Reviewing and acknowledging each one becomes a major task, never mind determining whether there are urgent issues which need to be addressed. Intelligent analysis of these alarms helps to identify patterns and trends which can then be turned into insights and actions which are then passed onto the appropriate resources to investigate.
The third element is the combination of remote and on-site support. Using modern technology, experienced Controls Technicians and Engineers can operate equally well in both a remote and on-site service delivery approach. This element provides the tangible benefit and value from the previous two, by enabling appropriate resources to be focussed on prioritised tasks which can then be investigated and corrected, thereby maximising their time and efficiency.
The combination of all three elements should result in a comprehensive service portfolio, which offers a wide range of Service Plans to suit different budgets and operational requirements: -
Calculated using average real-time Customer data over a 12-month period in 900+ buildings and 8 countries, these approaches have been shown to offer:
> Up to 80% of issues resolved remotely > Typically, 29% decrease in unscheduled maintenance > Typically, 33% fewer occupant complaints > Up to 20% energy cost reduction
For further information on the potential benefits of Connected and Digital Service Plans, look at the following White Paper Optimizing Buildings Using Analytics and Engineering Expertise available from the Schneider Electric website.