BMS or EMS: Which should you choose?

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Even though the terms Building Automation System (BAS) and Energy Management System (EMS) are sometimes used interchangeably by facilities experts, they each serve very different purposes; as such, they can benefit facilities in different ways.
A recent article on the online trade magazine Home Toys explored in more detail the differences between the two systems. While a traditional BAS is a platform that automates functions such as lighting, alarms, security cameras and HVAC, a standard EMS system provides the data, alerts and reports needed to adjust these functions with energy saving in mind.
The article used the helpful analogy of comparing your building to a car; if the BAS is the steering wheel, accelerator and brakes, then the EMS is the dashboard data, where you have your speedometer, fuel gauge and warning lights.
But as the two systems become more integrated, it can be difficult to differentiate between the two.
Integrating and automating HVAC, lighting, security and so on is complex, which means that many BAS systems are only used to control HVAC. This means the cost of implementing a BAS for this reason alone can be prohibitive to small- and medium-sized facilities. On the other hand, EMS technology is simpler and more affordable, offering a typical return on investment in 12 months or less.
Effective energy management
EMS systems provide a similar functionality to full BAS systems, but for a fraction of the cost – and they are typically installed at less than 50% of the cost. Many are able to control conventional gas/electric heating, as well as dehumidifiers and air dampers. They can also use real-time weather forecasts to control air and heating, while unique algorithms reduce energy usage during periods of absence or reduced workflow. What's more, event scheduling tools allow holidays and calendar dates to be taken into account.
Flexibility is perhaps the crucial component of every energy management system. Not only can they operate as stand-alone energy management systems, but they can also be integrated into existing building automation systems – making them an economical solution for all types of facility.
Building Energy Management



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