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Building controls guidance seeks to address energy performance gap concerns - Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

Last updated: 06-03-2020

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Building controls guidance seeks to address energy performance gap concerns - Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

A new technical guide on the impacts of updated building controls and automated functions seeks to better detail how a structure’s energy performance gaps can be addressed via systems such as air conditioning and cooling.

The Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) said that its ‘The Impact of Controls on the Energy Efficiency of Buildings’ guide considers the impacts of the British and European standard BS EN 15232-1:2017. The standard is used to determine building automation and controls (BACS) and how their effectiveness can be classified in buildings.

BCIA president Terry Sharp said that ensuring a better understanding of the standard among specialists and building engineers would be vital to tackle performance gaps issues around energy use. This was the case around defining building control needs for cooling, ventilation and air conditioning, as well as heat and lighting needs.

Mr Sharp added, “It is a well-documented fact that buildings account for over 40 per cent of global energy consumption, and buildings rarely perform as well as their designers calculated.

“BCIA member companies use the BS EN 15232 standard as a guiding light for control system design and operation, so we have released this technical guide to help manufacturers and systems integrators understand the standard better and improve the performance of the buildings they work on.”

A key aim of the standard and BCIA’s guide is to address concerns that buildings often do not perform as intended by designers concerning energy consumption and cost.

The guide cited a white paper from the Building Research Establishment consultancy group that found a lack of, or poorly implemented building controls accounted for seven of the top ten reasons given for energy performance gaps in buildings.

BCIA said in the guidance that the standard offers a checklist on the levels of control function in a building for individuals, such as software engineers, to avoid energy wastage through different technologies operating as part of a whole system.

The organisation said, “For example, to achieve Class A - the highest rating defined under the standard - there must be a total interlock between heating and cooling control to ensure that they can never be ‘on’ at the same time in the same space.”

“This may seem like an obvious statement, but it is one that is very often overlooked. This could be caused by poor software implementation, an overlapping of setpoints or, more commonly, due to the fact that the heating and cooling systems were installed by two different contractors and no thought was given to the ‘hand-shaking’ between the two.”


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