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In the pipes, ducts, and units that make up a functional HVAC system, tracking every bit of data with a Building Management System (BMS) is essential for HVAC workers. With a BMS, such data shines a light on potential issues, energy lapses, and even the occasional breakthrough.

For HVAC contractors and facilities managers, especially those in New York City, the management and analysis of tracked data represent a critical piece of the operations. In this post, we will explore how BMS not only tackles the demanding circumstances of HVAC management in the city but also elevates the standard to conserve energy and ensure compliance — thus promoting more sustainable measures in the world’s most influential city.

What are Building Management Systems (BMS)?

building management systems

In the city that never sleeps, the operation of a building’s systems cannot afford to rest; they must be adaptable and responsive to the unprecedented fluctuations in demand and environmental conditions. BMS is what allows this adaptability, integrating cutting-edge technology with the ageless infrastructure to meet the challenges unique to the city that never stops moving.

What Does a BMS Consist of?

BMS’s are centralized, interconnected networks of hardware and software that monitor, control, and optimize the various functions within a building. A Building Management System’s inner workings include sensors, controllers, actuators, and the management software itself.

As for what it automates: between lighting, power, security, and your lauded HVAC systems, Building Management Systems serve as a technological epicenter for your building’s functions. With a primed BMS, building owners and facility managers can be ensured that resource consumption is minimized and, thereby, costs are controlled.

Moreover, with the advent of digitization, building management systems are primed with the power of digital databases. As such, much of the processes are automated, with sensors and IoT-connected devices feeding real-time data into comprehensive software platforms, providing actionable insights at the click of a button.

How a BMS Works Alongside HVAC Systems

As previously noted, a BMS functions as a control system that monitors a building’s HVAC system performance/operation. With pre-established metrics, a BMS will automate certain processes in relation to elements including, but not limited to:

  • Occupancy
  • Temperature
  • Energy usage

… all of which aid in comfort and overall energy efficiency. This is particularly crucial in a city like Manhattan where HVAC systems are required to operate at a level of complexity and scale that is rarely seen elsewhere. Moreover, the cost of energy is among the highest in the country, and with strict emission regulations, energy optimization has become a paramount goal for building owners and managers.

BMS also can inform building/facility managers when:

  • Air filters need to be changed
  • Equipment needs to be inspected
  • Performance testing is required

On top of that, BMS can be integrated with:

  • Lighting controls
  • Ventilation
  • Fire alarms
  • Security systems
  • Steam systems
  • Other critical infrastructure

Why BMS in NYC?

When it comes to investing in a BMS, it’s important to consider the scope of your environment. With skyscrapers upon skyscrapers in New York City, it’s easy to surmise that the Big Apple uses a lot of energy, electricity, and more. On top of that, you’ve also got the drastic weather changes of every season — thus exacerbating the need for Building Management Systems even further. 

The sheer density of the city and its towering structures create a micro-climate that, if not managed adeptly, can lead to inefficiencies and significant environmental impact. These challenges call for a proactive and sophisticated approach that can only be achieved with the aid of advanced BMS technology.

Whether it’s a fan working out of ordinance or a boiler that’s cranked out, there are a litany of reasons your building/facility should have a functioning BMS in order. Not only do they alert owners and facility managers of any issues plaguing the building, but they also provide a full rundown of issues that can inform professionals shall they need to be brought on-site.

Building Management Systems Help the HVAC Industry Comply with Regulations

When it comes to regulations, a BMS can help hold your HVAC systems and managers accountable. In New York City, for instance, there are stringent local ordinances and national regulations, such as those outlined by the NYC Department of Buildings and the Environmental Protection Agency, that mandate the logging and review of HVAC system data.

NYC DOB Benchmarking Laws include:

  • Local Law 133 of 2016 – deals with water and energy efficiency; amends the definition of “covered buildings”
  • Local Law 33 of 2018 – also deals with water and energy efficiency; energy efficiency scores to be obtained, assigned, and disclosed in accordance to section §28-309.12 annually; upheld in accordance with reporting by way of Federal energy efficiency standards
  • Local Law 95 of 2019 – assigns grades to buildings based on Energy Star energy efficiency scores
  • Local Law 97 – set stringent carbon emissions limits that penalize buildings for non-compliance

Together, BMS plays a pivotal role in managing and reducing energy usage to ensure buildings adhere to these regulations. They facilitate the implementation of energy-saving strategies such as dynamic setpoint controls, demand-based ventilation, and lighting systems that respond to occupancy, all while staying compliant with local guidelines.

Why It Matters

These regulations serve a dual purpose. They ensure that mechanical systems meet safety standards for building occupants, while also aiming to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by improving system efficiency. Failing to comply can result in penalties, inoperable buildings, and — most crucially — an avoidable compromise of public safety.

Regular Data Analysis: A Pillar of Performance

Think of an HVAC system as a complex setup where each unit plays a crucial role, and BMS provides the operational data. However, this system’s efficiency is lost without regular monitoring. Routine log analysis is essential to ensure all parts are functioning correctly, working together efficiently, and not wasting energy through inefficiencies.

The Quantifiable Benefits

Early detection of issues through log review can:

  • Save on significant repair costs down the line
  • Supports the extension of equipment life
  • Reduces the frequency of replacements
  • Significantly reducing the total cost of ownership for the system over time.

How Donnelly Mechanical Helps Your Building Stay on Track

In conclusion, Building Management Systems are not only a tool — they are a necessity in modern New York City building management. Not only do Building Management Systems offer a solution to the unique challenges of HVAC systems management in the city, but it also presents an opportunity to enhance energy efficiency, comfort, and the bottom line for building stakeholders.

It’s not only about record-keeping, it’s about staying one step ahead. At Donnelly Mechanical, we partner with a quality BMS vendors to ensure we optimize system performance, improve energy efficiency, and provide clients with greater comfort and control over their environments. 

With extensive preventative maintenance services and 24/7 coverage, you can always count on Donnelly to get your HVAC system up-to-par.

For improved indoor air quality and more, please visit our website and call us TODAY!

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