Building Management System

A Building Management System (BMS) is a computer-based control system installed in buildings that controls and monitors the building’s mechanical and electrical equipment such as ventilation, lighting, power systems, fire systems, and security systems. A BMS consists of software and hardware; the software program, usually configured in a hierarchical manner, can be proprietary, using such protocols as DeviceNet, Ethernet, Controlnet, and so on, recently, however, new vendors are producing BMS that integrate using Internet protocols and open standards such as DeviceNet, Controlnet and Modbus. Systems linked to a BMS typically represent 40% of a building’s energy usage; if lighting is included, this number approaches 70%. BMS systems are a critical component to managing energy demand.


Improperly configured BMS systems are believed to account for 20% of building energy usage, or approximately 8% of total energy usage in the United States.

As well as controlling the building’s internal environment, BMS systems are sometimes linked to access control (turnstiles and access doors controlling who is allowed access and egress to the building) or other security systems such as closed-circuit television (CCTV) and motion detectors. Fire alarm systems and elevators are also sometimes linked to a BMS, for example, if a fire is detected then the system could shut off dampers in the ventilation system to stop smoke spreading and send all the elevators to the ground floor and park them to prevent people from using them in the event of a fire.