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Posts Tagged Building Operation

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

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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.

The Power of Outstanding Collaboration

Posted: April 6, 2016 by , Category:Big Data

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When it comes to getting the most out of your data, collaboration is the key.

Nowadays there is masses of data available at every stage of the building lifecycle. And nowhere more so than at operation. The increasing volume, variety & velocity of data available presents its own organisational and analysis challenges. As does getting hold of and storing that data in the first place. However, what’s clear is that in order to derive value from operational data building owners, controls companies, BMS operators and specialist consultants need to come together and work in collaboration.

New trends in technology are making it increasingly cost effective to instrument and collect data about the operations and energy usage of buildings. So much so that we are now awash in data and the new problem is how to make sense of it. Today most operational data has poor semantic modelling and requires a manual, labour intensive process to “map” the data before value creation can begin. Pragmatic use of naming conventions and taxonomies can make it more cost effective to analyse, visualize, and derive value from our operational data. Data collected from operational sites can also be used to feedback into new design and ‘seed’ the design process from a grass roots level, leading to better designs, and better buildings!

Now I’ve spoken about our work for John Lewis in York on 2degrees before. However, last month, along with Lateral Technologies and Next Controls, we scooped the CIBSE Building Performance Award for Collaborative Working Partnership, for this very project.

Using IES SCAN technology, Lateral Technologies worked with IES Consultants to collect data directly from BMS systems and calibrate it with the design model to show any gaps in terms of predicted and actual performance and help deliver a soft landing. The controls company, Next Control Systems, were responsible for extracting the data from the BMS system to share with IES and Lateral Technologies.

Together this team helped John Lewis to create its most sustainable store to date and achieve a reduction of 43.8% in absolute carbon emissions compared to the benchmark, equating to 13.8% further savings than the original expectations of 30%.

CIBSE have published an article with more information on the project which you can read here and you can also read more in our John Lewis, York case study.

For me this is an excellent example of how collaboration can help facilitate Data Driven Design. Data Driven Design is a term we’re using to describe this cost effective approach to analyse, visualise, and derive value from operational data. By incorporating this approach into an integrated (BIM) design process it is possible to understand better the difference between performance models created solely for Part L compliance and how a building actually operates in real life.

updated-performance-gap-diagram

A report by the Green Construction Board from 2013 explains the cause of the gap between predicted and actual energy use as down to the following headline issues:

  • Predicted energy use that is based solely on energy use regulated by Part L of the Building Regulations;
  • Energy modelling that does not simulate the occupied building with all its vagaries of operation, control and patterns of use;
  • Construction that does not carry-through design intent
  • Commissioning that is not carried out adequately and which may often require a seasonal approach;
  • Operation, management and occupant use that has a significant impact on actual energy consumption.

 

performance_gap

The Performance Gap: Causes & Solutions (Green Construction Board Buildings Working Group)

So in conclusion, the power of outstanding collaboration comes from not only collaboration between design/operation team partners to effectively use data, but also integration across the different stages of a buildings lifecycle.

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.

John-Lewis

Is integrating energy management with 3D modelling and BIM (Building Information Modelling) the route to better communication between a building’s design team and its operation team?

Technological advances which enable operational data to be combined with 3D modelling have been around for years. However, uptake of this calibrated simulation route has been hindered by access to data, lack of detailed HVAC modelling and lack of synergy and communication between the different teams involved in the process.

Implementing a calibrated simulation process at all stages of the building lifecycle from design, through commissioning and handover can deliver intelligent energy efficiencies, alongside healthy and comfortable buildings. On a recent project IES achieved the UK’s first LEED Gold Pharmaceutical Warehouse and delivered a customised operational energy dashboard using this principle.

While with Lateral Technologies, IES helped design the most sustainable John Lewis store to date, John Lewis York.

Designing, handing over and operating the first BREEAM Outstanding department store

Lateral Technologies worked with IES Consulting as a technology partner to design a store which could achieve a 30% reduction in the benchmark carbon figure. In July 2014 their creation became the first department store in the world to be awarded BREEAM Outstanding. Currently the project is achieving a 43% reduction on the benchmark figure based on other similar John Lewis stores.

Operational data from similar benchmark buildings was used to strengthen the new build design and inform the innovative low carbon M&E design. IES as the technology partner helped Lateral achieve incredibly detailed HVAC modelling. Then IES technology was used to import the actual building data back into the model, so the occupied building could be continuously analysed to quickly identify any performance gaps and deliver a soft landing.

Throughout the project, Lateral Technologies kept the energy initiative at the centre of design and construction decisions. The design included advanced modelling, use of LED lighting, photovoltaic solar panels, free cooling, efficient thermal design of the roof and walls to reduce heat loss and gain and the building being 70% more air tight than required.

At the same time, both John Lewis and Lateral Technologies were keen to monitor the performance of the shop after it opened. “All too often a good design fails to deliver the energy savings anticipated because of changes made during the construction phase or because occupiers don’t know how to best control the building,” explains Paul Paterson, sustainability design manager at Lateral Technologies. “Instead of waiting months for a higher than expected energy bill to flag up a problem, as is all too common practice, we wanted to find a way of continually analysing the building to identify any problem areas from day one.”

The project benefitted John Lewis by reducing carbon emissions including operational energy use and allowed the measuring and monitoring of real time energy use. This monitoring will provide future benefit to the store through understanding how energy use can be reduced and will also allow the opportunity for use in future design and construction projects, to provide the most sustainable stores.

Paul Paterson, explains why they turned to IES, the world leaders in energy modelling. “The way IES is pushing the boundaries of modelling, from using higher levels of detail to optimise design at all levels, to automatically sending operational data back into the model, to deliver impressive levels of post occupancy evaluation, made them the perfect fit for us.”

He adds, “Far from considering our job done, we’re now using IES-SCAN, a new powerful IES tool, to import the actual building data back into the model, so we can continuously analyse the occupied building to quickly identify any performance gaps to deliver a soft landing. The level of detail provided by the model is incredible, enabling us to analyse how everything from the HVAC to the escalators to the catering equipment is performing.”

He concludes, “The best thing about IES-SCAN is that instead of having to wait for a utility bill or spend days manually extracting data from the BMS, it lets us easily see which sustainability features are proving the most effective, helping us to decide which future improvements will have the biggest impact on other stores.”

Lateral Technologies were awarded the 2014 John Lewis Carbon Reduction award. The full case study can be read here.

Using performance simulation technology in this manner can drive efficiencies and close the performance gap between design intention and how a building actually operates in the real world. The performance gap, is a well-documented disconnect between the design and compliance models of buildings and the reality of how they perform.

IES has been working to enable the power of its leading building performance analysis software, the VE, to be used on buildings from design, through commissioning on into operation, in order to address this issue.

Our recent innovations enable us to link together operational building data (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.

Post Occupancy Evaluation: Integrating renewables

Working for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, IES undertook an independent audit of the building performance of the new Girvan Community Hospital, which opened in 2011. The building set a new standard for hospital design for the NHS in Scotland and was the product of a three-year intensive consultation and design process which involved hospital staff and community members. Sustainability and energy considerations informed the design process from the start leading to the provision of a biomass boiler and wind turbine.

IES has integrated its technology with the BMS, wind turbine, AMR and sub-meter infrastructure to look at the buildings energy demand in conjunction with energy generation and is now investigating opportunities to decrease energy demand and deliver an on-going feed of data to a cloud based portal.

Using operational data to deliver continuous system tuning and commissioning

A proof of concept study for Glasgow City Council explored how advanced analytics can be used to refine building management, energy investment strategy and define ROI targets. IES Consulting worked with the council across six sites: Riverside Primary School, Riverside Museum, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, City Chambers, Exchange House and Collegelands. A robust framework for data collection was created, reduction potential assessed and assuming a 3-5 year ROI it was proven that reductions in the region of £255k-£425k were possible and would deliver a reasonable capital budget if re-invested into improvement options. Read the full case study here.

The full potential of these technological advances has yet to be fully realised. However, with projects focused on the easy energy and carbon saving opportunities of energy efficient lighting and voltage power optimisation finalising, companies with more mature energy management programs are looking for the next wave of energy savings.

Extensive use of energy management software to monitor energy usage and gain visibility of use and associated cost, must surely lead on into optimising HVAC systems. Utilising the capabilities calibrated simulation delivers will enable more than just superficial analytics of usage patterns. It will in fact allow this information to be assessed against truly personalised virtual assessments of how the actual building to should be performing. This will ultimately peel back another layer of confusion thereby highlighting the hidden inefficiencies.

Find out more about how IES can help you make the most out of your building data here.

Operational BIM and Calibration

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:

  • Advanced data analytics helps find ‘hidden’ cost and resource savings through smarter system control and smarter ways to gather and analyse data
  • By analysing actual performance against virtual models and utilising climate-change/ weather files, it can catch operational drift, identify energy reduction areas, improve efficiencies, and inform deep retrofit
  • Is applicable across a wide range of scenarios which can be modelled simultaneously : whether you are dealing with enhancing building operation or undertaking large scale retrofitting
  • Is relevant as part of a BIM for FM strategy (due to its use of 3D analysis models)
  • Allows operational data and simulation BIM technology to be used at all stages in the building lifecycle from design, through commissioning and hand over on into its first year of operation and beyond
  • Delivers energy demand reduction through operational efficiencies as well as retrofit (helping to reduce risks and validate the most appropriate strategies) which has the added benefit of ensuring renewable technologies deliver the right proportion of the energy load
  • Enables Future Proofing – ability to take future climate predictions into account ensuring highest possible asset and building values now and in the future

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.

Sign up here: Technology Update: Driving Building Efficiency Using Operational Data & 3D Modelling

cars-blog


The average car makes thousands of decisions a second on our behalf. Buildings, our most expensive assets, need to catch up.

Cars in the 1970s had very little technology. Today, the average car uses lasers, radars, stereo cameras, satellites and even windshield wiper detectors, to constantly figure out the best next course of action, making thousands of decisions per second on our behalf.

Our buildings have yet to move on. If it’s warm and sunny and the rooms starting to overheat, it might take about  20 minutes before you start to feel uncomfortable enough to get up and open a window. If you lived in a hot climate the air conditioning would automatically kick in. Only you don’t need air conditioning yet, just a little ventilation would do. This overuse of air-conditioning is generating £3.6bn of energy waste a year in the Gulf area of the Middle East alone.

There’s no reason – with today’s technological advances – why our building’s couldn’t continually monitor the room and work out the most energy-efficient thing to do to maximise comfort levels.

This isn’t the stuff of Science Fiction
Today, if a room needs ventilated, buildings can automatically open the windows. If the building detected the room was getting cold too quickly, it could automatically reduce the size of the window opening. If the natural ventilation isn’t enough to restore comfort levels, the building can close the window and activate the air conditioning: automatically controlling the airflow in the most energy-efficient way possible.

This isn’t the stuff of science fiction. We’ve developed satellite navigation and cars that can drive themselves.  It’s time our buildings moved on.

A building isn’t a static object
Building’s are complex pieces of equipment. They have to keep us safe and secure, provide us with comfortable shelter from the elements, allow us to work, rest or play, keep ourselves clean and fed, and support our social interactions – all in ways that optimise our health and wellbeing.

One of the biggest misconceptions about buildings is the perception that they’re static objects. They might not move around like cars but they’re dynamic, ever-changing environments. Altering just one element, like the lighting, ventilation or use, can influence everything else. The sooner we recognise just how complex and dynamic our buildings are, the sooner we can justify utilising technology to make the best decisions about how to get the best out of them going forward.

Why we need Integrated Solutions
For too long, we’ve been looking at the different elements of a building: the energy, lighting, comfort and security, in isolation. Although it’s easier to look at things this way, the fact is the building works in a holistic way. To get the best out of it we have to look at it holistically, as well as in the context of its environment, neighbourhood and city. For example, more buildings are now designed with daylight dimming strategies that automatically dim artificial light whenever there’s enough natural light, reducing the energy needed to power the lights by as much as 70%. Although this is a worthwhile exercise, one thing that’s often overlooked is the extent to which the artificial lights might heat the building, prompting an increased need for heating on cooler days. If you’re only looking at the lighting, and not the impact of the lights on other elements, you might miss this other important energy factor.

To get the best out of our buildings, we have to look at them holistically. That’s why IES specialises in getting every element of the building to work together in an integrated way and is closely involved in research which looks at interactions  at the neighbourhood, city and stakeholder level.

Read more in IES – The Future of Energy Reduction

GCC-case-study
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.

  • Smart Cities – clustering energy needs to create smart communities
  • Master Planning – driving a smart urban lifecycle
  • Building Control – making buildings as smart as our cars
  • Building Design – ensuring sustainable designs live up to expectation
  • Building Operation and Retrofit – getting existing buildings to stop wasting energy

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.

Walgreens ProjectIncreasingly, more and more companies are starting to pay attention to the fact that they need to be more sustainable and reduce their energy consumption. Not only is energy a major factor of most businesses operational costs, energy prices are continuing to rise and show no signs of stabilising anytime soon.

The cost of energy is overtaking all other variable costs in most industries. From 1993 to 2006 the cost of natural gas increased over 250 percent. And during this same period the cost of fuels and power increased over 110 percent. Managers are asking, ‘How can we better manage these costs?’ and ‘How can we better utilise our resources?’

Companies are also now recognising that their customers expect them to be part of the national and global energy sustainability solution. With stringent government energy targets on the agenda as well as the need for transparency via the likes of Corporate Social Responsibility reports, businesses must show that they are undertaking strategies to help meet our current and future energy demands in an environmentally responsible way.

It’s for these reasons that our team at IES have been busy using our technology to create a unique process called CI2©, that helps building owners to eliminate hidden waste and find resultant cost savings. In the past identifying hidden waste has typically required looking at each control or analysing utility bills and having a ‘gut-feel’ as to the source of a problem area. This has led to energy waste remaining undetected, draining resources for years. Now, break-through advances in building simulation technology and the creation of Ci2© means that you can collect and investigate your actual energy usage, as recorded by your Building Management System (BMS) or your Automatic Meter Readers (AMR), to pinpoint exactly when and where your buildings are wasting energy.

Companies such as John Lewis in the UK and Walgreens in the US are already seeing the benefits of this. By comparing how their stores are performing against enhanced virtual models of how they could be performing, they’ve been able make informed investment decisions about how best to upgrade core plant equipment, improve the fabric of their buildings or add ‘green’ technology such as voltage optimisation, LED lighting or solar VP.

Let’s look closer at the Walgreens project. Walgreens have set a target to reduce its energy use by 20 percent in every store by 2020, but that mission alone isn’t enough for Walgreens: It has decided to go steps further and build the nation’s first net-zero energy retail store, located outside of Chicago in Evanston, Ill. The project anticipates earning Net-Zero Energy Building Certification by U.S. DOE standards, and LEED Platinum, Living Building and Green Chill Platinum certifications. Walgreens estimates the store will use 200,000 kilowatt hours per year of electricity while generating 220,000 kilowatt hours per year. As the store will serve as a living laboratory, Walgreens has made an investment in energy metering, building automation and measurement and verification. Using IES technology and its Ci2© process Walgreens are tracking and regulating the performance of the building very closely to ensure it performs as predicted and achieves their Net-Zero target. Since opening in November 2013 the store is on target to achieve its goal after the first year of opening.

Commercial buildings utilise more than 42% of all electricity produced, yet waste up to 50%. It is clear that looking at innovative ways to manage energy use across the building portfolio offers very substantial savings. There are a myriad of things companies could be doing to reduce their energy costs. The challenge is working out what actions will generate the biggest return for their organisation, small actions can immediately be put in place to generate savings, therefore, self-funding further building improvement plans. Many companies are just embarking on this journey while others are way ahead and making steady improvement.

So what is your company doing to prevent energy waste? Is it utilising technology and processes like those IES provide to continually monitor and evaluate your building to prove various options that will save you both energy and money? It should be.

For more information you can visit http://www.iesve.com/building-operation

 

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