Gemma Kilburn, Product Manager at Andrews Water Heaters, explains the efficiencies building management teams can gain by utilising a BMS-connected water heater.

Traditionally, building management systems have been restricted to large commercial applications owing to the sheer scale of HVAC, lighting, and smoke detection systems that are installed within these premises. However, the advancements and connectivity of appliances used within commercial properties has widened the scope for pairing technologies, such as water heaters with a building management system (BMS), offering greater flexibility to those who manage them. 

For many buildings and facilities managers, BMS-connected water heaters are seen as the next logical step in buildings operation and management. Connecting water heating technologies to a BMS affords commercial premises a means of maximising efficiency, in turn lowering energy bills while simultaneously limiting the number of site visits and reducing equipment downtime. 

With a greater number of water heaters entering the market that are ready to connect into a BMS, building management teams have available to them a means of remotely monitoring water temperatures and system faults. With economic uncertainty driving businesses to better observe their energy usage and allocation of staff, having the ability to monitor conditions remotely affords cost-conscious premises an opportunity. 

For instance, integrating a water heater into a BMS allows management teams to closely monitor how much energy is being used at any given time. This ensures that building managers have oversight of key information, including when the peak demand for hot water is. 

This type of information is critically important for scheduling maintenance as it may be the case that hot water is in greater demand than anticipated or that the water heater could be left powered on during hours when it is not required. By understanding the timetabled use of the hot water, management teams can better plan for switching off the water heater to save energy, while ensuring that their maintenance schedule aligns with the use of the water heater. 

Better maintenance planning is a key benefit of BMS-connected water heaters. In my experience, I have observed situations where the water heater is not being maintained as regularly as it should, given the number of hours that it operates for. Having oversight of the peaks and troughs of hot water usage ensures that building managers can increase their planned maintenance visits to the water heater if necessary, or reduce the number of visits they pay to the appliance. This allows management teams to reallocate staff to where they are most needed within a commercial property. 

Remote monitoring of the condition of the water heater has the added benefit of allowing building managers to respond to specific problems with the building’s water heater. For example, should an alarm be raised on the water heater, the building manager will be able to check the problem and deploy a member of the building management team to the water heater to carry out immediate reactive repairs. Additionally, the team member sent to investigate and repair the fault can ensure that they are carrying the correct tool for the job in hand, owing to the exact error having been brought to the attention of the building manager through the BMS. 

BMS connectivity not only limits downtime, but it has the potential to positively benefit the lifetime costs of the water heater because changes no longer involve going direct to site. Changes to settings, such as temperature and pump control, can be made remotely from an office. This means changes can be acted upon immediately.

Connecting water heaters to an intelligent building management system has the ability to significantly reduce the number of man hours spent visiting appliances, while improving building efficiency and lowering maintenance costs. 

The ability for a skilled professional to adjust the temperature of the water heater could have long term ramifications on the energy efficiency of the building. Lowering the temperature of the water heater has the potential to save a business money on fuel, while simultaneously reducing the emissions of the appliance owing to it burning less fuel. With the UK pursuing carbon neutrality by 2050, improving the energy efficiency of commercial properties has never been more necessary. 

Getting connected in 2019 is simple. Choose a water heater that seamlessly pairs with a BMS and watch the savings roll in.