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Today we received the great news that IES R&D has been nominated in the “Best Early Stage innovation” category of the European Commission’s Innovation Radar Award 2017. The competition identifies Europe’s top future innovators and their innovations, and is voted for by the public online. Our NewTREND web tool for energy efficient retrofitting has been nominated alongside 9 others in the category. Voting is open until 15 October 2017 so please vote now.

VOTE ONLINE NOW

Developed as part of the NewTREND EU H2020 funded project, the Data Manager supports teams in finding the best energy retrofitting strategy for their particular building by guiding them in the data collection phase. In particular, the Data Manager enables on site data collection and information exchange with the rest of the NewTREND platform, which allows evaluation of different design options at both the building and district level, including district schemes and shared renewables, and will present information on available financing schemes and applicable business models.

The development of the NewTREND platform is still ongoing, but it will soon be tested in three real renovation projects in Hungary, Finland and Spain. On the three demo sites, the involvement of the stakeholders in the design process will be evaluated, with specific activities dedicated to inhabitants and users. This validation will ensure the NewTREND platform addresses the needs of the energy retrofit market, after which the team aims to bring it to market as a cloud service for renovation projects.

SBCImage1IES has been chosen as one of the 5 finalists for this years’ Ecobuild and M&S Big Innovation Pitch. At 5pm on Tuesday 7 March IES Founder and Managing Director, Dr Don McLean, will take to the stage in Ecobuilds’ main conference theatre to pitch the IES Simulation Based Control tool to the judging panel.

The winner, which will be announced on the night, will have the opportunity to become an M&S supplier. IES will be up against Arup and Airedale, Organic Response, Protomax Plastics and CBES with their respective innovations.

What is the IES Simulation Based Control tool?
Currently a prototype in several buildings, the IES Simulation Based Control tool helps provide optimal operational performance though a calibrated building simulation model. Uniquely operating every few minutes the model can assure optimal performance to suit the building owners’ objectives e.g. low-energy, low-carbon, reduced running costs. It achieves this by combining simulation modelling with real-time building and weather data to provide advanced, cloud-based performance prediction and optimisation. The calibrated operational model can also be used to deliver:

– Full Real and Virtualised Building Performance Data-sets
– More accurate Energy Conversation Measures scenario analyses (what ifs)
– Fault Detection
– Continuous retro-fit Analysis
– Monitoring and Verification
– Meaningful KPIs & Optimisation

5519-Ecobuild-2017-BIP-Finalist-logo1

For more information on the competition read Ecobuild and M&S Announce Big Innovation Pitch Finalists 2017

Going-Green (2)Last month I had the pleasure of being involved in the 4th Going Green Conference, which took place in Gauteng from 18-20 October. Hosted by the Green Building Design Group in partnership with the Gauteng province, the organisers aimed to “create a more connected platform for all the various actors in government to engage and to recognise that public assets can be used as a test case and lead by example to the wider country objectives on these policy directives.”

What set this event apart from some of the others I’ve attended was the focus on knowledge sharing and creating a platform for the private sector to share their knowledge with the public sector and with final year university design students from both Architectural and Engineering fields. Click here for an insightful synopsis of the event from Songo Didiza, Executive Director at the Green Building Design Group.

IES have a wealth of practical experience and measurable results from analysis of various buildings across the world. There is a global awareness of the power of data, but we need to further exploit this data to improve our buildings in South Africa. With this in mind, the topic I chose from my presentation was: OMG! Operational data + Modelling = Great Savings.

The presentation focussed on the need to evaluate building performance against design intent, and quantify operational gaps in the same level of detail with which we analyse design in simulation software. To do this, we need to consider the feedback loops that can exist within building lifecycle data, and how this should be managed by BIM processes. Designers can benefit from lessons learnt on previous projects, and the O & M team can benefit by an audit trail of the design intent and records of commissioning procedures and tests for the building they are managing.

At present, buildings are often an untapped data asset. By taking the operational data from buildings and using it to calibrate the operational model, we can generate highly accurate calibrated models, which enable owners and FM’s to analyse planned interventions and evaluate their impact with a high degree of accuracy, to assess viability before commencing work.

Let us consider a single data stream from a building. If we view monthly metred data, we have 12 data points, but if we have data measured every 30 minutes by a smart meter, we have 17520 data points! If we then collect data from several streams, the potential for a clear image for comparative analysis increases, especially where this data is logged effectively, clearly named and well managed.

Data-points-view

It is estimated that 80% of cost lies beyond the construction team involvement. For any client with a portfolio of real estate, there are real benefits available from data analysis:

  • Creation of benchmarks, to identify low or high performers and outliers, indicating a need for further investigation of the building fabric and systems, and its operational strategies.
  • Support both better informed design of new buildings, and future strategy for O & M

In my presentation I presented various healthcare examples of where our IES consulting team have assisted with BMS Data Logging and collation on a cloud-based platform, enabling data reviews for:

  • BMS analytics, including tracking and monitoring building performance
  • Independent performance review through auditing the building against its Key Performance Indicators
  • Energy consumption benchmarking Building Simulation was then used to propose suggestions and evaluate their impacts and compliance.

The unique skillset of our consulting team enables our analysis to compare different results and postulate reasons for the differences. For example, we utilised BMS data logging and analytics to evaluate a portfolio of 6 similar healthcare facilities. In reviewing the supply air pressure data for the operating theatres, we identified many opportunities for immediate savings from operational decisions, as shown below.

Supply-Air-Pressure

The technology is available now to deliver projects that incorporate BIM and energy modelling in an integrated design process that extends to building hand-over, commissioning and facilities management. As owners start to demand buildings which operate closer to design predictions, we can start to use operational data to inform dynamic building simulations of improved design and retrofit, and provide enhanced operational models that enable ongoing monitoring of performance and great savings.

If you want to find out how more about how operational data + modelling = great savings, drop me an email and I can provide you with more information about my presentation. I have no doubt that the 5th Going Green Conference will be even better and I look forward to being involved in more knowledge sharing again next year.

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Photo Credit: Onix Building, Lille – Architect: Dominique Perrault

Over the past two years IES has collaborated with Somfy and Philips Lighting to analyse their shade & light combined solution “Light Balancing System” and its potential impact on energy savings. Most recently IES analysed the potential energy savings of a pilot project, the Onix office building in Lille. In this blog post, we invited Christelle Granier from Somfy to tell us a bit more about the collaboration, why they chose to work with IES and the importance of manufacturing companies integrating with the world of Building Physics and Building Performance Analytics…

We (Somfy and Philips) wanted to find a way to provide building design professionals with an effective and worthwhile product that would fit in with a holistic design process and help them to design both comfortable and energy efficient buildings. To do this we needed to validate the impact that the Light balancing system had on energy consumption.

To us, IES was the best choice because it is well known for its advanced dynamic simulation tools with the capabilities to conduct the most accurate analysis. After working closely with its Business Development Consultant, Luc Delestrade for over a year, he taught us a great deal which changed the way in which we demonstrated our solution.

More and more building regulations are being implemented worldwide and current ones are becoming much more stringent. We knew that in order to help industry professionals comply with these regulations we had to validate the Light Balancing System and prove its effect on a buildings energy consumption. In our pilot study, the Onix Building in Lille we proved that the System could reduce energy consumption by 29% in one year.

We understand that Building Physics and performance analytics is key to validating manufacturers building products.  Collaborations such as this one are extremely important for the future of sustainable building design. IES was vital in helping us prove our work. Automated shading should be part of the lifecycle management of the building. Working with IES helped us to democratise this product and make it more accessible to more building professionals.

The collaboration was a deep learning experience on both sides. We now have a much better understanding of where the Light Balancing system fits in the building lifecycle analysis process and how it effects occupant comfort and energy efficiency. The product should be analysed as part of a holistic model looking at HVAC, lighting and façade which includes automated blinds.

I’d like to extend a big thanks toIES, our collaboration helped to leverage our knowledge and understanding of building physics and performance analytics. I look forward to a future that holds further industry collaborations that help validate manufacturer products and their potential energy savings through building performance analysis.

Daniel Coakley presented at the recent CIBSE Symposium on “Integration for whole life building performance.” His session looked at the “Development of calibrated operational models of existing buildings for real-time decision support and performance optimisation.” Building simulation tools are commonly used in design for performance appraisal and optimisation. However, numerous studies have found that actual building performance often deviates significantly from simulation predictions.

You can view the presentation here:

Paper
There is also an accompanying paper, which proposes a detailed framework to produce calibrated operational models, which can support operational decision-making, and real-time control optimisation.

The approach centres around a three-tier calibration process:
• Tier 1 focuses on Building level (Demand-side) variables (e.g. occupancy, equipment, infiltration).
• Tier 2 focuses on system-level (HVAC) model components (e.g. heating / cooling coil capacities). In this phase, we use detailed building data combined with genetic optimisation techniques to calibrate relevant input parameters. In the case where system performance modelling is not necessary, we use free-form profiles (i.e. measured building data) to supplement these model components. Once system-level noise has been eliminated.
• Tier 3 calibrates the remaining plant-level parameters (e.g. central plant, electricity consumption, etc.).

The approach is supported by two novel developments:
(1) Free-form profiles: These are actual historic trends from existing building controllers, which are used to supplement model components where appropriate;
(2) Genetic Optimisation algorithms are utilised to efficiently navigate the solution space to reduce discrepancies between the model and actual system performance. The proposed calibration approach builds upon prior research efforts to standardise the calibration process using evidence-based model development, combined with sensitivity and uncertainty analysis.

Click here to read the full paper.

Last Week Daniel Coakley of IES spoke on the topic of “Modelling Natural ventilation in the IESVE: Case studies & Research Outlook” at a half day seminar, organised by Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), for researchers, designers, engineers & architects.

This CIT Technical Seminar: Ventilative Cooling & Overheating Risk was organised in collaboration with IEA-EBC Annex 62 and presented state of the art utilisation of ventilation for reducing cooling energy demand and addressing the risk of overheating in low energy buildings.

In his presentation, Daniel covered;

  • an overview of Natural Ventilation simulation in the VE;
  • the use of natural ventilation and adaptive thermal comfort by the winning IES ASHRAE ‘Zero-Net Energy’ (ZNE) Challenge team;
  • and a future view of IES R&D work in the Building Operations space thought the EINSTEIN project.
     

Daniel at ASHRAE Ireland
Firstly, I must congratulate all the new ASHRAE Ireland committee, who worked really hard alongside myself, to make our first event a great success. It took place in the heart of Dublin (Dublin Castle), on 9th February 2016, and was incredibly well attended, with over 80 representatives from a diverse group across the whole building services sector – from both industry and academia. In addition, 10 sponsoring organisations including IES were also present, representing building design, HVAC equipment, refrigeration and controls.

A varied agenda included talks from across the industry:
• ASHRAE Organisation and the Ireland Section: Frank Caul (Sirus), Ken Goodman (ASHRAE Sub-Region B Chair) & Dr. Bruce D. Hunn (ASHRAE)
• Commercial Building Performance: Dr. Bruce D. Hunn (ASHRAE)
• Building energy policy and research: Kevin O’Rourke and Dr. Daniel Coakley
• Industrial Refrigerants: Seamus Kerr (RSL Ireland)

Bruce Hunn, the headline ASHRAE Distinguished Lecturer, spoke about ‘Performance Measurement protocols for Commercial buildings’, giving an in-depth discussion on characteristic measures for energy, water and indoor environmental quality (IEQ), as well as best practice guidelines for the application of each. This talk covered many important aspects of performance measurement, including setting the objective (why is it measured?), the metric (what to measure and how?), and finally the outputs in terms of appropriate benchmarks or performance indicators. The talk covered the three levels of performance objectives – basic, intermediate and advanced, giving detailed examples for each case, utilising the ASHRAE HQ building in Atlanta as a case study. Click here to view the presentation slides.

ASHRAE Ireland
In the afternoon session, which focused on building policy and research, I introduced the concept of smart cities and smart buildings. My presentation illustrated how current IES research in this space is driving improved integration between systems, buildings, communities and cities. In particular, the talk focuses on solutions being developed through collaborative research projects and training networks, such as Horizon 2020 and Marie Curie, and how these are helping create the next generation of urban energy planners and engineering solutions capable of leveraging novel ICT technologies to improve design and operational efficiency. In particular, I highlighted my involvement in one of these projects – EINSTEIN, a Marie Curie IAPP project in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin, which aims to develop the next generation of optimised building controllers, through a combination of data-driven fault detection and prediction-based control optimisation. Click here to view the presentation slides.

Overall, the event was a great success for the launch of ASHRAE in Ireland, with a fantastic turnout, and positive feedback from attendees, sponsors and invited speakers and guests. It was great to see such a high level of interest and commitment from people from across the building services spectrum. We hope that this will lead to the growth of the organisation in Ireland, with further events already in planning, and growing interest in the formation of technical sub-committees among interested individuals and organisations.

 

Buzzwords 2016
January is traditionally the time for forward reflection. So inspired by what’s going on around us we’ve pulled together the top 5 buzzwords that we think our expert building analytics team at IES will be using across 2016.

The Force of COP21
May the Force of COP21 be with us all. While the agreement signed in Paris by all 196 nations of the world to pull together and attempt to reduce carbon emissions, thus limiting the onslaught of global warming and reducing air pollution worldwide, is a major step forward, the real work starts now.

Undoubtedly the biggest difference will be made by big business and governments, see our founder Don’s views on this. However, we also believe that each and every one of us must also do our bit by changing the way we live, work, travel and think; no matter where we are from or how rich we are.

The Glasgow Effect:
Ok so we might not use this across the whole year but it certainly got us talking in January and as it’s a year-long project there is sure to be more to come. For those of you who’ve not picked up on this yet, the topic of office banter all across Glasgow on Tuesday morning was Ellie Harrison and her Glasgow Effect project being awarded £15k by Creative Scotland. The artist will not leave the greater Glasgow Area for 1 year (except in the event of the ill-heath / death of close relative or friend), and it’s caused a real storm on social media.

The project was initially called Think Global Act Local and is not primarily about poverty or deprivation in the city, as many people have assumed, but about exploring the benefits and practicalities of localism for artists and communities. “By setting this one simple restriction to her current lifestyle, she intends to test the limits of a ‘sustainable practice’ and to challenge the demand-to-travel placed upon the ‘successful’ artist / academic. The experiment will enable her to cut her carbon footprint and increase her sense of belonging, by encouraging her to seek out and create ‘local opportunities’ – testing what becomes possible when she invests all her ideas, time and energy within the city where she lives.”

The artist has a strong interest in climate change, political activism and big data, and while the original project title is in some ways far more accurate, most people wouldn’t have looked twice at a project named ‘Think Global Act Local’. But it got us thinking about the role of local and community in our personal and professional lives. It’s a global problem, but there’s action that can be taken by us all at a local level to combat it. Read more at our Blog.

BIM4Analysis:
With the UK Government mandate for BIM Level 2 deadline fast approaching this year, and as a technology company in the sustainable building analysis arena we felt it was essential to educate and engage the industry on the important role performance analysis has to play in the BIM process. The concept of creating and capturing information during design for use in operation is key to achieving Low Zero Carbon buildings. This time last year we started an educational campaign named ‘BIM4Analysis’ to engage with the industry and bring performance metrics front and centre to the BIM movement which is what the Government strategy is aimed at.

2016 is going to see us develop on this, demonstrating our BIM enabled analysis workflow alongside customers through various events and publications, including Ecobuild and BIM Prospects 2016. We’ve also got the next instalment of our popular IES Faculty BIM webinar series taking place at the end of January (details coming soon). This event will provide an update on our BIM4Analysis strategy plus interoperability development work that will help you on your BIM journey.

Big Data:
Other industries are already capturing and using big data to their advantage – but buildings are lagging behind. Imagine what you could do with real metrics instead of big assumptions. It’s all linked to Smart Buildings, the Internet of Things and other digital developments. Data in buildings can be generated by a wide variety of sources and can be used to understand behaviour, assess performance, improve market competitiveness, allocate resources and so on. However, historically it has been difficult and expensive to collect this data, and its variety in quality, structure and format made it difficult to use, sometimes for example requiring the manual transfer of data from paper records into digital systems.

Mind The Performance Gap:
We’ve been banging on about this for ages now but it’s an issue which requires much more understanding and attention. We’re expecting the issue to gain momentum in 2016, especially as the UKGBC has announced a new research project in the area.

The Performance Gap is a well-documented disconnect between the design and compliance models of buildings and the reality of how they perform. Our work to date has focused on the importance of understanding the difference between design, compliance and actual building performance models, as covered in this video from our faculty event. As well as researching new technological advances in using operational data combined with 3D modelling across building design, handover and operation to deliver intelligent energy efficiencies, alongside healthy and comfortable buildings.

IES-Ci2-Chart-resized (2)
Earlier this year, RBS’ Innovation Gateway launched the Bristol Go Green Challenge. The challenge sought to source innovative solutions to a range of challenges, including creating the first carbon neutral RBS branch. We are delighted that our CI-Squared service was selected as one of 12 successful innovations to be trialled as part of the challenge and today our blog looks at how it will help to uncover hidden energy and carbon savings on the RBS estate in Bristol.

Following our success in the RBS Bristol Go Green Challenge, we will be trialling CI-Squared on RBS properties in Bristol in the coming weeks. CI-Squared, which stands for Collect, Investigate, Compare and Invest, is the process which we use to enable the power of our established Virtual Environment performance analysis technology to be used on buildings during operation.

CI-Squared is innovative as it links together all operational data streams (e.g. Smart/AMR Meters, Sub Meters, BMS Equipment, Environment Sensors, other building systems such as lighting), and other available external data sources, such as weather, with 3D performance models. This means that real data, rather than design data, can be used directly in calibrated simulation models enabling more accurate predictions.

The strength of our Virtual Environment (VE) suite is the integrated and holistic nature of the way it assesses building performance; taking into account the thermal properties of construction materials, external weather conditions, internal occupancy levels and usage patterns, operational details of equipment and HVAC services, and internal comfort.

One of the key strengths of CI-Squared is its value of being used after initial ‘Quick Win’ energy efficiency improvements have been made, and its capability to find more improvements. It can either be applied to a building for a fixed period or can be used on an ongoing basis to support a programme of continuous improvement, depending on the individual application.

Our Eureka moment
IES was formed in June 1994 by Dr Don McLean, our Managing Director. Its roots go back to 1979; when the 1973 energy crisis, the three-day week, power cuts and predictions that oil would run out by 2000 were all high in the public’s consciousness. Against this backdrop, Don McLean started his PhD work in detailed computer simulation of renewable energy devices. This work, along with subsequent research and commercial activity consolidated three fundamental observations that IES is built on:

  • Buildings are major consumers of energy and they have to be made more efficient to cut CO2 emissions, conserve fossil fuels and preserve the environment for future generations.
  • Buildings are generally designed on experience and simplistic performance calculations even though it has been proven that the use of performance based building simulation can achieve much better performing buildings that consume significantly less energy.
  • Pre-IES building performance tools were too complex to use and remained in the hands of academics making very little impact on mainstream commercial design.

What impact will our innovation have at RBS Bristol?
CI-Squared for the Bristol Go Green Challenge will help RBS look for new ways to refine and implement smarter system control and source zero, or low cost, energy demand reductions as a ‘first step’ on the Bristol estate. Then, through thorough scenario analysis using 3D calibrated modelling and investment appraisal, we can investigate what Retrofit and Deep Retrofit scenarios are possible at Bristol and, in particular, how RBS can achieve it’s ambition of creating the bank’s first Carbon neutral branch.

Whilst the IES CI-Squared service directly addresses energy and efficiency of buildings, due to the holistic nature of the service and its integrated consideration of environmental conditions, it will also directly impact on the provision of health and well-being for employees and customers.

Working with RBS
We’re really excited about the feedback and input we’re set to receive from RBS as we go through the trial process at Bristol. Whilst our service has already been tested on a number of Proof of Concept studies in the retail, healthcare and public sectors, we are looking to identify the most appealing and replicable business model, for which understanding and exploring opportunities in the financial sector is crucial.

What’s next for IES
IES has always looked towards the future, investing 1/3 of our turnover in research and development. We’re always looking for better ways of doing things, with the overall objective of continuing to provide our clients with the most advanced ways of reducing building energy consumption and costs.

The aim is to provide appropriate and accurate metrics in a format that allows Energy Managers to understand where improvements are possible and to mitigate or eradicate inefficiencies completely. The information provided will help to plan energy efficiency actions based on actual energy production and consumption, presented as real savings and improve end-user’s comfort levels.

You can read more about Don’s vision at his recent Blog ‘Why Cars are Smarter than our Buildings.

ESOS-Auditor
So the 5th December deadline is now less than 20 working days away! And our conversations with Lead Assessors seem to indicate a last minute rush to sign up Assessors and get projects started.

This rush, perhaps caused by the Environment Agency’s (EA’s) recent communication to all organisations expected to be compliant, seems to suggest that a significant number are going to be taking advantage of the EA advising that it would not normally expect to take enforcement action for late notification received before 29th January 2016. Which essentially, in all but name, extends the deadline until the 29th January 2016.

However, there are a number of conditions attached to this, which those wanting to take advantage of it should be aware of. If companies know they are not going to hit the 5th December deadline they still need to inform the EA before this date and provide key information including details on the appointed Lead Assessor. This should be done via an online portal set up by the EA.

The EA has been very clear “Qualifying organisations that do not complete and notify a compliance assessment by 5 December 2015 will be in breach of the regulations and at risk of enforcement action and penalties. Enforcement action will not normally be taken provided your notification is received by 29 January 2016. For organisations committing to achieving compliance through ISO 50001 certification, enforcement action will not normally be taken as long as notification is received by 30 June 2016.”

They go on to advise organisations to do as much as possible prior to the 5th December deadline and to record details of this in your Evidence pack. The great news is that our software has been reviewed by the EA who have confirmed that they will accept it as part of your Evidence Pack – all they need is a login which we will supply free of charge.

So with only 20 working days to go we hope that you are just finalising everything and getting ready to submit your notification of compliance. However if not then please join us on Thursday 19th October for our latest webinar on ESOS Auditor to find out more about making your ‘intent to comply’ notification and also how our low-cost online ESOS Auditor tool can be used to prove how much you have done before the deadline and therefore mitigate any risk associated with late compliance.

Sign up here

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