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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

abstract_skyscraper_with_cloud_reflection (2)
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.

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.

 

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