building automation systemsenergy efficiencyregulations and standards

Building automation and control systems for tertiary buildings in Europe

By October 27, 2020 October 28th, 2020 No Comments

A regulatory decree requires Building Automation Control Systems (BACS) in tertiary buildings to improve energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions by January 2025. In addition, by 2020, all member states of the European Union need to translate the ruling into national legislation, according to the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).

The installation or retrofit of BACS in nonresidential buildings, existing and in construction with an effective rated output of over 290 kW is stipulated through legislation based on Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and Council, with guidelines from the EPBD.

Improving energy performance in buildings is one of the most important projects for the EU to reduce the effects of climate change and global warming. Buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU, making them the single largest energy consumer in Europe, as explained in the package: Clean Energy for All Europeans.

But how should these control systems be defined? And how can property owners, facility managers and the rest of the building sector comply with the regulations?

What are BACS?

Building Automation and Control System (BACS) means “a system comprising all products, software and engineering services that can support energy-efficient, economical and safe operation of technical building systems through automatic controls and by facilitating the manual management of those technical building systems” reads the EPBD.

BACS represents all control and automation solutions; for example, the HVAC BMS. BACS are able to optimize overall efficiency and functionality, ensuring that the systems and services are not working against each other.

The decree can be estimated to impact up to 20.3% on all EU service sector building energy consumption, according to the guidelines published by the European Building Automation Control Association (EU.BAC).

Smart functions such as demand response, consumption prediction, energy storage, equipment maintenance are all strongly connected to an optimal functioning building. BACS are able to integrate and optimize these functions too, making buildings “smart” and allowing building managers to have real-time access to cloud-based analytics, reporting and services.

BACS should:

  • Make it possible to monitor, register and analyze the energy consumption from the building’s management system continuously. This data is classified by the functional area and registered at an hourly time step. Monthly data from the building’s control system should be archived and available for five years.
  • Identify how energy efficient is the building by comparison to the data reference values from established energy studies. The BACS detects efficiency problems in the building, notifies the facility manager, and provides data to help create a strategy to improve energy performance.
  • Be interoperable with different building management or automation systems.
  • Allow manual shutdown and autonomous management of one or multiple building automation

The data produced and archived is accessible to the automation and control system owner, whether it is the property owner, facility manager, or proptech company in charge of energy performance. The manager can easily share the building’s data that concerns other stakeholders or operators.

What buildings are included in the regulatory BACS decree?

Buildings that take part in commercial or non-commercial tertiary activities equipped with a heating or air conditioning system, whether or not combined with a ventilation system, whose nominal power exceeds 290 kW. These buildings include those belonging to legal persons in the primary or secondary sector (agriculture and manufacturing).

One clarification to note concerning new buildings for which the building permit will be filed one year after the publication of the decree (from July 21, 2021): all technical systems must be linked to the automation and control system.

An exception exists for a building if the property owner can provide a study establishing that installing an automation and control system is impossible with a return of investment of fewer than six years, after the deduction of public financial aid.

How to be compliant with the regulatory decree without breaking the bank?

Only 1% of buildings are currently renovated each year, and a much higher rate is needed to be compliant with the regulatory decree to considerably improve their energy efficiency and reduce their environmental impact. Wattsense is a connectivity solution that allows users to easily upgrade or install a BACS.

Small, medium and large size buildings can be transformed into Smart Buildings in a cost effective manner by saving weeks of deployment time on every project and reducing operating costs. View Wattsense’s pricing for the Box or Hub.

Yann Le Thomas, an Account Executive at Wattsense, is based in the Lyon area in France.
The Wattsense service upgrades buildings by creating an intuitive and open BMS infrastructure.