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Last edited 06 Oct 2016

Energy management and building controls

In April 2016, BRE and the Energy Services and Technology Association (ESTA) published a Briefing Paper: Energy Management and Building Controls, written by Andy Lewry, which is available free online at

Controls are one of the easiest and most cost effective ways of saving energy in buildings. However, clients and building occupiers rarely exploit advanced control solutions because they are perceived to be too technical and too complex to operate. There has also been a lack of information on the subject and as a result there has been poor uptake.

The paper states “The control of energy in non-domestic buildings is generally poor, despite the availability of a range of tried and tested systems incorporating both established and innovative technologies. Although the installation of HVAC zone controls, optimising controllers (for Wet Heating Systems) and lighting controls is encouraged by the building codes, their requirements are basic. As a result, specifications are often limited to the minimum requirements, and superior technologies, such as pre-programmed packaged Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) and Demand Control Ventilation (DCV), are ignored.”

The briefing paper is intended to simplify the operational aspects of energy management and building controls and to encourage the uptake of these technologies, creating better indoor environments, promoting wellbeing, and reducing carbon emissions and energy costs.

It is intended for use by clients and building occupants and is particularly relevant to those specifying, procuring, installing and operating building controls.

The briefing paper:

  • Explains the different control systems available.
  • Provides guidance about where and why a technology can and should be used.
  • Gives advice on how to apply technology to get an effective solution in practice.
  • Outlines the key issues that need to be addressed, such as value engineering, future proofing and training.
  • Introduces BS EN 15232 'Energy performance of buildings. Impact of Building Automation, Controls and Building Management', to illustrate the impact different control systems can have.
  • Provides information about how the government's Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme applies to controls and gives an overview of its eligibility criteria.

Robin Hale, Director of the ESTA, said: “Controls are a powerful tool in ensuring our buildings are run efficiently and provide the desired environment for the occupants. This document will help building clients and occupiers select the most appropriate controls solution for their particular application”.

Julian Kay of Danlers Ltd said: “Controls are essential tools for managing energy. This Paper will help building occupiers understand where they use energy and how to manage it”.

--BRE Group

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