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Do you know what BIG DATA is? You must have heard of it? The exponential growth in the volume, velocity and variety of data generated each second and the corresponding increase in processing power, algorithms and databases which have developed side by side. These databases are used to collate, store, analyse and leverage insights from the multitude of data lakes, warehouses and ecosystems which we are discovering every day. Many industries such as financial services, aerospace, health, biotech and manufacturing have benefitted from applying big data tools and techniques but it has been slow to permeate building services, design and operation.
Buildings generate more data than you might think? We started with simple monthly energy and gas bills. Now we can get sub-metered data on a half hourly basis for electricity, gas, heat and water. Not to mention the thousands of BMS points you find in a typical building, each generating and storing data every minute. Layer on top of this, occupancy and climate data, indoor air quality data, data from connected devices and you get a rich, granular, high velocity, voluminous and varied data set being dumped in your Amazon database each night. The question is what do we do with it?
Using operational data to inform the design and optimisation of our buildings hasn’t been the traditional approach used by designers and engineers. We now have the tools to be able to link accurate building performance models to real data. Leveraging these enhanced operational models is a superior way of not just designing with the end performance in mind, but also to better manage existing assets. By integrating this capability into our Virtual Environment (VE) software, IES are enabling and empowering users to put to good use the new wave of big data being generated by our buildings and cities and combine this with our core building physics and building services applications.
IES are running a free faculty event. ‘Intelligent Big Data in Building Services’ will be held in London on the morning of 27th April. You can register for the event here.
My colleague Dan Tuohy and I will be sharing our thoughts on using big data in the built environment and how, at different stages of the building lifecycle, that data can be put to best use.
I’m also excited to announce a special guest speaker. Thomas Bouriot, from TFT Concultants will be sharing his insight from the client’s perspective and how buiding owners/users’ needs can be met by leveraging and combining real data with building performance modelling tools.
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.
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.
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.
The UK’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) requires approximately 10,000 qualifying organisations to undertake energy audits that include 12 months of verifiable data. But what is the best way to manage such a substantial amount of data?
Everyone is talking about ESOS, but what do its requirements really mean to your organisation when it comes to collecting, checking, evidencing and storing all the data needed to calculate your total energy consumption and undertake energy audits?
Feedback from Lead Assessors using our ESOS Auditor software is that carrying out data collection and verification for ESOS takes far longer than most companies are anticipating. This is due to the amount of data which needs gathered across each organisation. And with the new 2015/16 financial year just started, there is no excuse for delay; most of the data required should now be available.
Hints & Tips
To help you understand and plan for these data requirements, we’ve put together an ESOS Guidance Document containing hints, tips, little known facts and ESOS evidence pack requirements.
For example, did you know that ESOS data needs to be stored for 12 years? – A requirement of ESOS is that you must keep your evidence pack for the compliance period to which it relates and the two subsequent compliance periods. As each compliance period is 4 years, this can be as long as 12 years.
This is just one of the useful nuggets of ESOS information contained in this handy document, so be sure to have a read if ESOS compliance is on your agenda.
You can also sign up for our free ‘ESOS Data Requirements in a Nutshell’ webinar that will take place on Thursday, 14th May. Click here to register.
We’ve recently had the pleasure of being involved with the creation of the latest IET (Institute of Engineering Technology) technical briefing. Covering the “Challenges and Opportunities of Data-Driven Systems for Building, Community and City-Scale Applications”, it was right up our street.
Our R&D department invests a third of our turnover in looking to the future: on how digital technology can be used within a Smart Built Environment. Our belief is that Buildings, the main connectors between citizens, transport, energy, health, water and waste in a community, need to be at the core of a Smart City approach.
The Urban Lifecycle is critical to reducing energy costs and tackling climate change.
Today, outcomes from our R&D department are already starting to make a difference. We’re using operational data and our unique SCAN technology to bridge the performance gap between design and operation; helping facilities managers reduce energy consumption. You can read the case study we produced for IET on the Proof of Concept study we did with Glasgow City Council here: http://www.theiet.org/sectors/built-environment/files/glasgow-cc-casestudy.cfm.
Data has always played a profound role in the decision-making and engineering management processes within the built environment, whether at building, community or city-scale. The IET Briefing which this case study is part of reviews the key challenges and opportunities for the application of digital technologies in the smart built environment – view it here: http://www.theiet.org/sectors/built-environment/resources/digital-technology.cfm.
We look forward to continuing to engage and raise awareness in this important field.
For the second year in a row we’re pretty chuffed to have another one of our solutions shortlisted for the 2degrees Champions Awards. Last year we had IES TaP nominated in the ‘Solution of the Year’ category and this year our Smart-Building Energy Management tool, IES-SCAN, has been shortlisted for ‘Innovation of the Year’.
So what is IES-SCAN and why should you vote for it? Well we’ve put together a short movie to tell you about our new Smart Control ANalysis solution…
As part of the 2degrees Champions Awards, nominees were given a t-shirt selfie challenge. Basically we were sent a blank t-shirt that we had to design and take a ‘selfie’ while wearing it. So the marketing team got arty to design the tee and then got IES founder and ‘Star of Building Science’ Don McLean to take the selfie (with us lot grinning in the background). It’s no Ellen DeGeneres at the Oscars, but you can see our effort here…
Head over to the 2degrees website to find out more about IES-SCAN and how it enables next generation building analysis. Oh, and don’t forget to cast your vote there too.