homenews and insights chocolate vanilla or strawberry what flavour of bems do you want

Chocolate, Vanilla, or Strawberry: What flavour of BeMS do you want?

By Dr Andrew Eaton
07 August 2020

Product Marketing Manager

Meet our SSE Energy Solutions experts

Neapolitan ice cream

Historically, BeMS were primarily considered to be a tool to minimise energy use. But organisational needs are changing and in recent years the driving forces behind BeMS strategies and decision-making have branched out to meet those needs. Which flavour is right for you?

Occupant wellbeing

It seems likely that 2020 will be the year that changed everything. COVID-19 has forced everyone to reevaluate priorities to manage both the outbreak and the subsequent return to “the new normal”. This has put the needs of a building’s occupants as a priority over almost any other condition.

Occupant safety



The above blogs show a range of things that can be done to prevent the spread of the disease. Some, such as opening windows or closing toilet lids before flushing, are not part of the BeMS strategy, although you would still want to do them.

The primary aim is to prevent infection using a range of BeMS activities such as increasing ventilation, setting fan coils to always-on, etc. Often these measures will directly increase energy use but reducing the possibility of infection remains the top priority.

This will have implications for new builds as extra capacity will need to be built into the design of HVAC systems to meet the on-going increased load required by the new strategies.

Additional measures to enforce new occupancy rules may also be needed. Here CO2 sensors can be used to determine whether maximum occupancy is being maintained. Other sensors such as thermography on entry points may be used to determine if someone has a temperature.

SSE can help by providing risk assessments of occupant safety in your building, and carrying out work to change the control strategy for maximum safety.

Occupant comfort

Once reassured that the building is safe, people’s normal instincts return and questions such as “Am I too hot” “Is it cold in here?”, and “what’s that smell?” will resume. Assuming that safety is assured, occupant comfort will still a very significant concern and part of the overall issue of wellbeing.

Online shopping has created many challenges for retail and providing an enjoyable occupant experience is essential in creating footfall. The requirement to pay university tuition fees has led students to expect a high standard in both teaching and accommodation spaces.

The use of IoT sensors and controls enable you to provide greater comfort, better air quality, and better facilities. SSE can help.

Guarantee of service

In industrial or scientific facilities, the primary aim is to keep operations running. In supermarkets, the failure of a refrigerator or freezer can result in an expensive loss of stock. Ensuring that the organisation’s normal operations continue uninterrupted is far more important than energy savings.



All systems can be subject to failures. Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) is the most effective way to ensure that this doesn’t happen by checking frequently and replacing components before they fail. SFG20 is the gold standard for planned maintenance and specifies both the actions required and the frequency with which they should be performed.

SSE can provide PPM to the SFG20 standard, or tailored to the specific additional needs of your organisation, using a combination of remote-access and on-site working.

IT network

IT network

See BeMS and the IT network

BeMS systems rely on network and IT systems. The network covers everything that the BeMS needs to talk to its endpoints. This can be anything from the router that is managing the data, the switch that transports it, or down to the fibre and copper cable that the data travels across. The server is then responsible for presenting this data to the end-user and saving and storing the events that are happening. All of this is generally covered by IT teams. As with all things in the mechanical and electrical sphere, these systems need to be constantly monitored and maintained.

Maintaining the servers can resolve many issues before they occur and prevent their becoming more serious problems than needed. For instance;

  • Being able to see an impending hard drive failure, before they fail and take down the server;
  • Performing updates to the system so the server is patched to its latest version removing vulnerabilities.

You’re not on your own. Talk to SSE about a maintenance and monitoring solution for IT network management, or for real-time alerts and pro-active fixes before system issues arise. Let us help and find your blind-spot.



See 10 steps to cyber security for your BeMS

Even if your BeMS is not connected to the internet or your corporate IT network, it can still be vulnerable to attack by disgruntled employees using CDs or memory sticks.

User access and password control are an important part of keeping your systems safe. Regular backups also protect you from hardware failures or ransomware attacks.

Let SSE manage your cyber-security by controlling accounts and passwords and installing software updates, either on-site or remotely.

Windows 10 logo

Keep up-to-date


Most components and software have finite lifetimes, after which they are no longer supported by the manufacturer. Once out of support, replacement parts cannot be obtained. Out of support software means that will be no more update patches in response to new threats.

Keeping up to date means that you can access new features and functionality and are protected from new threats.

SSE can put in place a planned upgrade programme for your BeMS and head-end operating system, to ensure that your operations are safe from failure and downtime.

Energy optimisation

Or your main objective might be energy optimisation, either to reduce cost or to reduce your carbon footprint.

Canary Wharf



Business Energy Intelligence (BEI), our energy optimisation platform, will help you to identify excess energy use which you can eliminate using your BeMS

Hour meter

Sub metering

See If You Don't Measure It You Can't Manage It

Sub-metering allows you to measure the energy use of individual pieces of plant or other equipment.

SSE can install sub-metering to help you to understand your energy use.

What flavour do you want?

Although there can be conflicting needs between these three drivers, in practice, most organisations will arrive at a compromise between the three. SSE can help to reach this compromise.