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Building owners in the GCC region are not reaping the full potential of BMS

Eighty per cent of the systems are operating on manual mode, says MEP expert, while also bemoaning the lack of an inter-connected approach to designing, constructing and operating buildings

| | Apr 21, 2016 | 4:17 pm
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Dubai, UAE: At a time when there is much talk about how HVAC systems can be integrated with sophisticated connectivity regimes, including the Internet of Things, Satish Adurkar, CEO for UAE Operations at Energy Automation, is not fully convinced that building owners in the GCC region are showing signs of embracing the technologies available to their fullest extent.

“There used to be a time when it was a challenge to get people to accept the need for BMS systems,” Adurkar says. “Today, a lot of BMS systems have been installed. So yes, we have more BMS systems, but 80% are operating in manual mode.” He attributes the situation to a general lack of maintenance contracts or to people responsible for maintaining buildings not having adequate human resources.

Also, companies, he says, are keen on selling hardware, but it is equally important to pay attention to the software. Broadly speaking, he says, fundamental engineering is being ignored; and the situation is aggravated by lack of adequate knowledge among owners associations of such aspects as condensation, Delta T or hydraulics. While it is the role of FM companies to fill the knowledge gap by handling these aspects, most of them, Adurkar says, need to have more insights into the technical side of things, as opposed to only being focused on cleaning- and security-related functions. Equally, there is a need for consultants and contractors to monitor the performance of the buildings they have worked on, Adurkar says, adding that it currently is not the case.

In such a scenario, the Internet of Things can play an important role, Adurkar says. “It allows for collecting and analysing data,” he says. “It also allows for having a limited number of highly trained and proficient technical staff monitor more buildings.” Marrying HVAC systems with IoT is not without challenges, though, he says. “Most people are reluctant to share data, fearing security issues or loss of ownership of the data,” Adurkar says. “Be it pumps, chillers or compressors, IoT can play a big role in improving HVAC performance.”

(The writer is the Editor of Climate Control Middle East and the Editorial Director & Associate Publisher of CPI Industry.)

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