BOULDER, Colo., Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Energy saving systems that reduce buildings' overhead are poised to become a major revenue generating business expected to gross at least $5.6 billion a year worldwide through 2020, research indicates.
Owners of buildings and real estate portfolios have been spending millions each year on what is now seen to be increasingly inefficient energy use in large premises.
The market for building energy management systems continues to grow, driven by technology advances as well as a greater familiarity among customers with benefits BEM systems provide, Navigant Research said in a report, "Building Energy Management Systems," that follows on from other cost-saving developments in the energy sector.
A number of new and existing companies are developing software-based platforms to help customers squeeze cost-reducing energy efficiency and operational benefits out of their building portfolios.
Worldwide revenue for BEM systems will reach $5.6 billion annually by 2020, more than doubling from the 2013 level.
"Building energy management systems represent one of the fastest-growing and most promising waves of innovation ever to occur in the building industry," said Eric Bloom, senior research analyst with Navigant Research, a part of international consulting firm Navigant. The company has headquarters in Chicago and about 40 offices worldwide.
Bloom said end user companies were increasingly aware BEM systems can help reduce energy consumption and improve the operational performance of facilities as well as "gain insight into occupancy trends in their buildings worldwide."
While different vendors of BEM systems have developed platforms with commercial and government customers in mind, the utility sector is playing an increasingly important role in the market, the report says.
Utilities face a growing number of regulations, such as energy efficiency resource standards in the United States, that require them to play a proactive role in reducing the energy consumption of their customer base. A BEM system deployed by a utility to its customers provides energy efficiency gains that utilities can claim in compliance with such regulations.
The global market for BEM systems encompasses hardware, software and service components. The growth forecast in the report was based on a detailed study of emerging technologies and consumer demand.
This is the second recent Navigant report on the changing scene in global energy management. A July report by the firm looked at prospects of revenue growth worldwide with the increasing use of smart power distribution and smart metering.
Smart systems are built to ensure connectivity between the user and the provider, monitoring usage both for achieving efficiency and for billing more accurately.
Automation of smart grid distribution is expected to generate revenues of $11 billion by 2020, current research indicates.
"The global market for distribution automation is diverse, dynamic and growing," Navigant Research senior analyst Kristoffer Torvik said.
Automation of energy distribution is already catching on in Latin America but progress there has been slow when compared with headway made in North America.