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Building controls: Making the right choice in energy management
When managing energy in the built environment, controls should be one of the first tools out of the tool box; hence the importance of understanding what they can do and making the right choice. The control of energy in buildings is generally poor, despite the availability of a range of tried and tested systems. Specifications are often limited to the minimum requirements; innovative technologies, such as Building Energy Management Systems and Demand Control Ventilation are rarely applied. Building controls, whether stand-alone units or full building energy management systems, are designed to provide a comfortable climate for building occupants while ensuring this is delivered with the lowest possible energy consumption. Energy can account for about 40 per cent of the running costs of a building over its lifetime. Anything that can be done to help manage this effectively is a benefit to building owners and occupants. Any decision on what to specify should be based on lifecycle costs, not short-term thinking about the initial capital cost. Controls can be applied equally successfully to a new or refurbished building.
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Andy Lewry DIC, CEng, CSci, FIMMM, CEnv, MSocEnv, FEMA has 19 years’ varied technical, marketing and management experience within the carbon and energy management industry, preceded by a further 10 years’ similar experience within various parts of the environmental and construction sectors. Andy is a chartered engineer and a Fellow of both the Institute of Materials (IOM3) and the Energy Managers’ Association, as well as a Prince 2 qualified project manager. He is currently the principal technical consultant for the BREEAM Existing Buildings Team in BRE Global. Andy has authored and published best practice publications on energy management, energy audits, building control and building energy management systems. Recently he produced guidance on ‘Bridging the performance gap: Understanding predicted and actual energy use of buildings’, Journal of Building Survey, Appraisal & Valuation, Vol. 3, No. 4, and ‘Producing the business case for investment in energy efficiency’, Journal of Building Survey, Appraisal & Valuation, Vol. 4, No. 1. He was also part of the UK Green Building Council’s task group that produced the ‘Delivering Building Performance’ report on 11th May, 2016, which lays out the success factors and steps required to tackle the gap between building design and building performance.