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The world of energy efficient building design is littered with acronyms and jargon – CAD, BIM, SBEM, DSM, energy modelling and BREEAM to name but a few. Now as we strive to bridge the ‘performance gap’ operational BIM, BIM 4 FM and calibrated simulation are being joined by BMS, AMR and BEMS. But just what are the benefits of combining the technology and processes behind these jargon laden phrases to the average building owner?
We’re currently at a technology cusp. CAD (computer Aided Design) techniques being used at the design phase are the default choice, and being joined by both BIM (Building Information Modelling) and building analyses technologies.
The issue is that these buildings do not always operate in real-life the same way as their design intended. This is sometimes called the performance gap. Misunderstandings around the difference between the energy model done to prove compliance with building regulations and an energy model of the actual building don’t help, as don’t last minute specification changes, lack of detailed commissioning, and disjointed handover to the building owner.
Its fast being recognised that ensuring design intent is handed over correctly as the building is completed and starts operating is a necessity to bridge this difference between predicted operation and actual operation – the process of well managed building handover is known as ‘soft landings’.
3D models of buildings created purely for geometry, or for performance modelling, or as part of a BIM process are being recognised as a way to gather, store and pass-on important data related to a buildings’ operation. Using an Operational BIM or BIM for FM approach offers many benefits by aligning construction and design to the operational use of the asset.
However, taking this one step further, an innovation known as ‘calibrated modelling’ links together all operational data streams from a building (including Smart/AMR Meters, Sub Meters, BMS Equipment, Environment Sensors, other building systems such as lighting), with other available external data sources (such as weather), with 3D analysis models. This means that real data rather than design data can be used directly in calibrated energy models (or simulation models) enabling more accurate predictions.
One of the key strengths of this approach is its value of being used after initial operational 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. It can also be used as part of a retrofit process (light or deep) in order to assess different options and make sounds business case-led decisions.
Key points of calibrated modelling are:
So where could the future take us? It is not hard to envision how a 3D simulated environment could be exploited to intelligently control buildings. Model Based Control, Fault Detection Identification Analysis, Optimisation of the Building operation while in use and Predictive Control based on future weather and operational data, are all areas currently being researched across Europe.
As part of World Green Building Week IES is running an education session, followed by drinks on this subject. Taking place on Thursday 24th September 4-7pm in central London the session is aimed at both building owners and those responsible for their operation as well as consultants working in this area. Using case study examples it will look at how new technology in this area can enable operational data and performance simulation technology to be used together to drive efficiencies and close the performance gap at all stages of the building lifecycle from design, through commissioning and handover on into the first year of operation and beyond.