Beyond Control - The Power of BMS Panel

All you need to know – from Micarta experts

Table of Contents

The world of new technologies keeps growing and shows no signs of stopping, this much we can all see – especially when it comes to smart home solutions. But doesn’t matter how many impressively convenient devices we’ve got around the house. Their true potential cannot be fully unleashed until we’re able to connect the dots – to find that missing piece to control them.

Integration – one system to rule them all, if you will.

But what is a BMS control panel? It’s a device – a part of your BMS – that offers you full control over your building. Whether it’s a regular smart home or an office, from HVAC, lighting, security and energy management to fire safety, sensors and various devices and appliances – all controlled in one place. It’s like your very own command centre.

Heating control

What Are BMS Installations?

Building Management Systems or Building Automation Systems – in essence, they are the nerve centres, the control hubs that regulate and monitor a myriad of building functions. These computer-based solutions are used to supervise and control various installations and devices around the house according to predefined or preset variables.

For a modern building, a BMS is a crucial tool – it ensures it runs efficiently and smoothly as it gathers data about energy usage patterns to optimise smart systems and components of different types. And it goes for any setting, from commercial office spaces, hotels, retail stores or even heavy-duty manufacturing plants to houses of all shapes and forms.

In fact, they’ve been around for quite some time, but only recently have they become so complex, comprehensive – and powerful. That’s because nowadays we’ve got next-gen systems employing open protocols, which gives them access and the ability to connect to IoT (Internet of Things). They’ve turned into these sophisticated integrated platforms with access to data analytics, cloud computing, IoT and AI technologies.

Different Types of BMS

Picking the right type of BMS or BEMS system (Building Energy Management System) is a tricky process and in this case – it’s always best to seek expert advice, no question about it. We install them for two main reasons – convenience and efficiency. To get the full benefits and the best value for money, a tailored solution is the way to go. It’s like getting a custom-made suit – nothing beats the fit. But it doesn’t hurt to know what options we have out there.

Here are the 3 main types of BMS installations:

Centralised BMS

In a centralised BMS, all control and monitoring functions are basically consolidated in a single central location. It offers a unified point of management for various building systems. To put it in very simple terms – one smart element (a BMS controller) controls all other elements. That sounds convenient, but it does come at a cost – if that one unit fails, the whole system shuts down.

Distributed BMS

Unlike centralised solutions, a distributed BMS relies on various semi-autonomous components – every single one is smart. It’s more flexible and perhaps allows more room for scalability, which is why it’s often a preferred choice for larger commercial spaces. In this setting, when one element disconnects, the rest keeps working.

Hybrid BMS

This solution combines what’s best out of the two previously discussed systems. It offers unified control over all the components through a BMS control panel, but when the command centre fails – the rest remains fully functional.

BMS Components

Combining different types of home cinema lighting solutions will work best in most spaces. That’s why when we’re talking about cinema room lighting, we typically mean the full installations, layers of different solutions, often referred to as techniques. Let’s talk specifics.


Starting with hardware, there are three main component types in this category:

Control or BMS Panel

The most important part, the rest is pretty much optional. It’s not really a single product or a lightbulb, but an idea and combination of different solutions. That’s why it’s absolutely fundamental. Dimmable lights are a must-have for ambient lighting. Ceiling lights or cove lighting with LED strips definitely add a nice touch and enhance the experience. Just make sure your overhead lights are not placed directly under the seating area – this can ruin the overall experience. Scones, seat-side lights, star ceilings, and even floor lamps are all great options. It’s all about mixing and matching.


This may sound quite enigmatic, but it’s actually rather simple. The light has a specific task – illuminating a part of the room or an object (a chair, a table, a minifridge). A good and clear example of that is a regular desk lamp – it has a simple job to do, which is providing better conditions for work or reading. They tend to be less bright than traditional sources of light, so it’s really about making specific and important elements more visible or accessible.


Accent lighting is primarily used to highlight or draw attention to specific objects, architectural features, or areas within a space. It is often employed to create visual interest and enhance the aesthetics of a room. Accent lighting can add depth and dimension to a space by creating highlights and shadows, making certain elements stand out. Mostly, it’s more of a stylistic addition with extra features. They’re much less bright and intense than task lights because they serve a completely different purpose.


Let’s not forget about the yin to the yang of hardware – a fitting software solution. In this case, we’re also mostly dealing with three components:

Operating system

It’s the heart and soul of the BMS panel – it makes communication with other devices possible.

BMS Software

This application software runs on top of the operating system enabling the installation to collect, analyse and control data. There are quite a few types with proprietary and open-source solutions being the most popular ones. This is a point of consideration for many – we go into more detail on which one to choose in our Crestron vs Control4 blog post.

User interface

This is your means to interact with the entire system. An app, a web-based portal or physical panels used for monitoring and control are all examples of a user interface solution.

BEMS system

Communication infrastructure

There’s also a question of communication methods that different devices around your entire system use to make things work in complete unity. Although a lot of individual parts make up an entire communication infrastructure, they can still be broken down into two most basic groups based on the communication technology they employ.


In order to effectively communicate control panels with other components of the BMS, we need infrastructure – like a special network. It can be both wired or wireless with a wide variety of different protocols including Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Modbus, BACnet, MQTT and more.


This is different – we still want to connect our BMS to other networks or elements and we use a device which acts as a translator. It makes the communication between the BMS and other systems possible through various protocols. We’re talking about connecting to the Internet, SCADA system, user dashboards, etc.

What’s the Cost of BMS Maintenance?

That’s a fair question but let’s first take a step back and consider the costs associated with deployment of BMS installations. Of course, there’s no easy answer with so many variables and moving parts. What’s the size of your building? How complex and comprehensive does the installation have to be? Is it a new building or an old one? What type of building is it?

We can still venture a rough estimate – even with so many unanswered questions. Per m2, BMS starts at about £2 and can go up to £6. Yes, it’s quite a jump.  As you can clearly see, it’s hard to be accurate even with the initial stage – the installation. And with maintenance, we go even further into this realm of endless factors and various scenarios.

If you want to avoid spending extra money – and you do, it’s crucial to set a specific scheduling system for maintenance. These shouldn’t put too much stress on your budget, especially if done as a preventive measure not when anything’s starting to fail or malfunction. And let’s be honest here, skimming on regular maintenance visits makes no sense at all.

With that being said, most BMS systems last up to about 10 years, but with regular maintenance and proper use, we can easily double that amount. How? When they’re not in an optimal condition, they simply have to work harder. using more energy, costing you more money and going through more wear and tear. Changing air filters in the air conditioning system, checking compressors and condensers – all of these seemingly insignificant things can make a huge difference. Depending on your needs and building type, it might be a good idea to get on a specific maintenance plan that a lot of companies offer.

What Are the Benefits of BMS or BEMS system?

Finally, let’s get to the good stuff – everyone’s favourite, the benefits. Because let’s face it, it’s all about your convenience and any added value. That dictates pretty much any purchasing decisions or investments in our lives.

Cost Saving: This is a big one. We all know that any home automation solution is not exactly cheap, let alone an entire building management system for various applications. It doesn’t have to be a house. It can be a hotel. Or an office building.  So, what’s the upside? Big proponents of these solutions claim that savings in the long run easily outgrow that initial investment. Are they right or is it just another marketing scheme? Let’s crank up some numbers.

Again, we have to bear in mind there’s a wide range of different factors so the final result will not be the same for everyone. But according to MPCE, BMS installations decrease utility costs by 0.10$ and increase the building’s resale value by 0.80$ per square foot – at least for commercial buildings. Based on those numbers, you get the same amount of money you’ve put in within 2 years with most typical BMS systems.

It’s mostly about finding the right setting for the most efficient energy usage and the best part is – the system does it for you once in place. It tracks usage patterns, identifying any waste and implementing more efficient solutions and schedules based on the gathered data.

Convenience: This obviously goes without saying, but the ability to truly have full control over your living environment is more convenient than most of us could probably imagine. You’re sceptical in the beginning, but once you’ve tried, it’s really hard to go back. We tend to get accustomed to comfort very quickly. And it’s hard to let go.

But the good news is – we don’t have to. With home automation solutions, we can control heating, cooling, lighting, even blinds and shades. It truly is that easy to create whatever vibe we want. To mould our environment to our liking. It’s better for entertainment, work, relaxing and sleep as well.

Let’s not forget about the day-to-day task assistants, like high-end fridges that help us with shopping lists, use the auto-tagging feature or even check what’s inside of it when we’re still at work. That brings us to the next point.

Flexibility: That’s sort of a given; flexibility often goes hand in hand with convenience. But that doesn’t make it any less true. By now we know it’s possible to schedule various functions and features around the house in whichever way we see fit. Switching to energy-saving modes, turning the lights off, bringing down the heat, or shutting off blinds when it’s very hot outside. But what happens if something doesn’t go according to plan?

With full control, you can still easily reprogram everything and introduce any changes according to your situation. As much routine as we have in our daily lives, sometimes the unpredictable happens and then both ourselves and our homes could use a little flexibility.

Transforming Your Life

We use these solutions to transform our homes – that’s true. But we’re actually transforming our lives. With so many different features it can be as basic or as complex as we want – the sky (and the budget) is the limit. That one BMS control panel gives us the ability to control our environment in a way we never thought would be possible. Experience it for yourself and transform your life! Full-on installations are a complex and confusing process that often requires expert knowledge. We’d be happy to help you dispel any doubts you might have or set up your first home automation solution!

At Micarta, we’re experts at home cinema installation. Contact us and we’ll do our absolute best to help you find and implement the perfect solution for you and your home.

We partner up with various manufacturers and leading technologies, including Lutro, Rako, and many, many more, to give you the service and experience you deserve.

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The Micarta Team are based in Kent, England. We are specialists in professional integrated technologies and provide the highest quality design, installation and service to our customers.