New BMS Section to Employ Integrated Approach

New BMS Section to Employ Integrated Approach

This piece was originally published in the September 2018 issue of electroindustry.

Suzanne Alfano, MBA, CET, Industry Director, Building Systems Division, NEMA

The new Building Management Systems (BMS) Section, approved by the NEMA Board of Governors at its July meeting, will integrate building management applications related to energy efficiency and power reliability with devices that measure and report energy use.

A BMS is an integrated system of hardware, software, and interfacing communications that automatically monitor and control building subsystems like HVAC, lighting, power, fire, access control, and security in order to optimize building occupants’ comfort, energy performance, safety, and security.

A BMS typically includes systems that

  • connect a building’s mechanical, electrical, power, communications, and lighting using devices such as sensors, monitors, actuators, controllers, and communication technology;
  • provide control outputs to optimize the building occupants’ comfort, energy performance, safety, and security;
  • include interfaces for configuration, initialization, system maintenance, fault detection, diagnostics, predictive maintenance, and continuous improvement; and
  • include dashboards to provide building performance information to facility operators.

This integrated approach expands the traditional NEMA focus of device-level collaboration to a systems focus that enables coordinated identification of broad customer concerns to facilitate wider adoption. For example, by fusing systems together, data can be leveraged to provide descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytical tools and ultimately serve as the building’s digital twin. It can also facilitate building interactions with external systems (e.g., electric utility demand response signals, time-of-use electricity prices, and first responder/firefighter guidance).

The BMS Section will maintain an intersection with traditional energy distribution and distributed energy resources (DER), focusing on applications related to energy efficiency and power reliability. This could include integration with end-device power measurement and reporting, demand response, time of use, electric vehicle charging, renewable energy production, operational technology, information technology, and other emerging technologies. It will also work with mechanical, electrical, and plumbing firms to develop guidelines and standards that promote their integration.

Although the BMS Section will coordinate with NEMA’s High Performance Buildings Council and related Sections, it will focus on such technical issues as developing guidelines and Standards for integrating devices and systems into a BMS.

For more information, contact Suzanne Alfano (

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