Older Office Buildings Embrace Open Protocol Systems for Enhanced Energy Management

Utilizing Building Management Systems for Enhanced Energy Efficiency: Insights from Experts

Office building owners in Singapore are increasingly adopting open protocol systems for energy management, aiming to boost efficiency and minimize environmental impact.

Samuel Han, head of Energy & Sustainability Management at Savills Singapore, highlighted the advantages of open protocols in seamlessly integrating new energy systems with existing infrastructure.

These protocols facilitate easy connections between equipment, provided that application programming interface connections are permitted.

Han stated, “Recently, energy systems have shifted towards open protocols,” indicating a growing trend in the industry.

Open protocols, openly published and accessible to all, receive support from various entities, including corporations, user groups, professional societies, and governments.

This support expands users’ options for devices or systems tailored to their specific needs, according to a Schneider Electric report.

Open protocols offer several advantages in building management systems (BMS), including broad support from manufacturers and software vendors, access to a wide range of third-party software, improved communication with subsystems, active community support, and adaptability for future upgrades.

Despite the challenges associated with older buildings, Samuel Han noted that their existing efficiency can result in substantial returns upon modernization, rendering them ideal candidates for energy-saving enhancements.

Han emphasized, “Older buildings stand to gain significantly from the installation of energy systems due to their higher payback potential.

This is attributed to the greater energy savings achievable, as older buildings typically exhibit lower efficiency levels.”

Advancements in Building Management Systems

Han also advocated for leveraging Building Management Systems (BMS) for data analysis, enabling stakeholders to identify and seize energy-saving opportunities effectively.

BMS serves as crucial systems engineered to regulate and oversee essential energy-consuming elements within buildings, encompassing HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems, lighting levels, and security infrastructure.

Moreover, Han emphasized the criticality of addressing energy consumption, particularly attributed to HVAC systems, which can represent up to 70% of energy expenses.

“To enhance efficiency, we must optimize this equipment. Converting an inefficient building into an efficient one could result in savings of 30% to 50% on energy costs,” he asserted.

Han stressed the importance of adopting a comprehensive strategy integrating routine maintenance protocols for essential equipment in plant rooms alongside advanced data tracking mechanisms, often facilitated by artificial intelligence (AI) solutions.

He highlighted the evolving landscape of energy management in office buildings, where AI aids in fault detection and delivers automated solutions, thus reducing manual intervention.

Innovations in Office Building Technologies

In addition to open protocol systems, office building owners are increasingly integrating innovative technologies to enhance energy efficiency.

Samuel Han, head of Energy & Sustainability Management at Savills Singapore, highlighted the rising popularity of technologies like the multi-comparison chiller, designed to operate efficiently even during low occupancy periods, and IoT sensors that facilitate enhanced data collection and analysis.

Han emphasized the importance of educating tenants on conservation efforts through targeted initiatives. “By analyzing data, we can pinpoint areas for improvement and implement energy retrofits to maximize savings.

Educating tenants on energy and water conservation through posters and other educational materials fosters a culture of sustainability,” he explained.

Awareness and comprehension of energy data are crucial for identifying opportunities for savings, Han stressed, emphasizing the role of tenant education in promoting sustainability.

Singapore’s dedication to optimizing energy usage and reducing environmental impact is evident through initiatives such as the adoption of solar photovoltaic systems and the pursuit of green building certifications like BCA’s Green Mark and LEED.

These efforts, alongside data-driven energy management, optimized HVAC systems, and efficient water and lighting usage, underscore Singapore’s commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices.

Since its inception in 2005, the Green Mark certification scheme has played a pivotal role in evaluating buildings’ environmental impact and promoting sustainable design and construction practices.

Advancing Singapore’s Sustainable Energy Strategy

Singapore has made remarkable strides in reducing its carbon footprint by transitioning from carbon-intensive fuel oil to natural gas for electricity generation.

Currently, natural gas constitutes over 95% of Singapore’s fuel mix for electricity generation, primarily due to its lower carbon content per unit of electricity produced, as reported by the National Environment Agency.

With ambitious goals, Singapore aims to increase its solar capacity to 2 GWp by 2030, supported by widespread energy storage deployment post-2025. Solar panels will be strategically installed on rooftops, reservoirs, and offshore locations to bolster clean energy supply and enhance energy security.

Furthermore, Singapore is exploring collaborations with neighbouring countries to access cost-competitive energy through interconnected grids.

To address carbon emissions effectively, Singapore is embracing innovative technologies such as carbon capture and hydrogen solutions, showcasing its commitment to combatting climate change while fostering sustainable economic growth.

Expanding its efforts, Singapore is broadening the scope of its Energy Efficiency Grant (EEG) scheme to include a wider array of businesses, spanning manufacturing, construction, maritime, data centres, and beyond. Initially introduced in 2022 for sectors like food services, food manufacturing, and retail, the EEG aims to support businesses by co-funding the acquisition of energy-efficient equipment.

Greg Swanson
Greg Swanson
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