Building management systems (BMS) act as property’s ‘nervous’ system, managing the server, security and automation systems that regulate the overall operations of the facility: lighting, temperature, ventilation and hydraulics among others.
Unfortunately, many BMSs currently age faster than the buildings that they were designed to manage. This is because they are usually based on a ‘closed’ model created specifically for each provider and their products.
The owner of Warsaw’s Rondo 1 office skyscraper, one of the capital’s smartest buildings and an iconic skyscraper, faced this issue when their BMS provider stopped producing parts for the installed system. Looking for an efficient and long-lasting solution, Arup was engaged to conduct a feasibility study to assess other viable alternatives.
Arup’s digital consultants suggested implementing an open, flexible system based on a self-learning artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm, which will keep the BMS ‘young’ for longer, increase user comfort and reduce energy consumption, a crucial step in preparation for future decarbonisation. Our team developed a concept design and provided end-to-end project management for this BMS upgrade, including supervising the tender process.
103,000 m2total surface
>10%reduction in energy consumption
AI BMS: energy optimisation, secure power supplies
Located in the city’s most prestigious business district, Rondo 1 is a two-building complex offering 37 floors of prime, flexible office space as well as a 10-floor office and commercial space. Energy optimisation is a key driver for Rondo 1, which was the first ‘existing’ tall building in Europe to obtain a LEED Gold Certificate. Currently, Rondo 1 is certified with LEED Platinum.
For Rondo 1, Arup’s digital consultants designed a self-learning AI algorithm enabling the new BMS to effectively manage the building’s energy production based on weather forecasts, data collected by sensors – both within the building and outdoors, as well as past performance. The combination of all this data should allow the new BMS to reduce the building’s energy use by up to 10%.
For instance, based on past data, the system will know that despite a chilly start to the day, temperatures rose as the day progressed. Based on the latest weather forecasts, it might decide that the solar heat gain during the course of the day will be sufficient to heat the building. Then, while the sun is shining, the BMS may allow for up to one degree of overheat. The additional warmth will remain unnoticeable for the users as it will be stored in the elements of the building structure and office furnishings, and be redeployed to warm up the building as temperatures dip after sunset.
The AI-based BMS will be able to prepare Rondo 1 against power outages. Poland, which derives the bulk of its energy from coal plants, faces electricity supply restrictions during heat waves. This could be problematic on hot summer days, when offices need the AC to fight high temperatures. A power-saving programme will ensure that services are not disrupted by potential blackouts. For example, predicting upcoming energy shortages, the system will overcool the building in the morning so that less energy is required during the day, pull the shutters down and activate lights during the periods of more intense sunlight, delivering sizeable AC-related energy savings.
Based on weather forecasts, the algorithm-based system may similarly help reduce the risk of flooding as predictive management enables it to know when to empty the pumping rooms ahead of heavy rainfall.
Safe system integration with no down-time
At Rondo 1, a 40-storey building, the stakes are high – any outages affecting the heating, air-condition, ventilation or lighting systems would impact on hundreds of occupants. Even more important is ensuring the fire safety of all building users.
The previous Building Management System at Rondo 1 had been integrated with the fire alarm system. Replacing a fully fitted fire alarm system would be expensive, logistically challenging and unnecessary. Our consultants advised on the separation of the system from the obsolete BMS to integrate it with the new BMS. The system integration is carefully managed to ensure the safety of the hundreds of people working in the building – the fire system cannot be switched off at any moment.
To replace the BMS without impinging on operations and minimising disruption for building’s tenants, Arup consultants deployed BMS gateways, which serve as translators of information, converting it from the language of the new BMS to the language of the previous BMS, which the fire system understands.
Sourcing all of the BMS upgrade and replacement services from one single provider facilitates the complex integration process ensuring the teams work collaboratively to deliver a value-added product to the end client. Arup is currently Poland's leading company in terms of providing the range of multidisciplinary services needed to refurbish a BMS in-house including automation, ventilation, electronics and plumbing.