Building Energy Efficiency New Technologies

Building Energy Management Methods Advancing with Technology

Some time ago JLL popularized the 3:30:300 rule of thumb for the typical order of magnitude between a company’s utilities, rent, and payroll. That $3 for utilities may look small as an overall component of the cost ratio, however energy managers with a large facility or portfolio of buildings manage multimillion-dollar budgets and will tell you that unexpected volatility and utility spend overrun keeps them up at night. The good news, however, is that with even small investments in technology, building operators are gaining a lot of insight into how their buildings perform day to day and are controlling costs with much more certainty.

For a lot of energy managers, the task of energy management is still very much a reactive process and viewed as a liability for cost overrun. In the old way of doing things, energy managers pay utility bills for each facility, compare last month’s usage to historical to see if it is in line with budget, perhaps run a comparison of monthly usage across the portfolio to identify outliers and locations for improvement, and respond to alarms in the BAS or the seemingly never-ending stream of hot/cold calls.

Luckily, technology is enabling a new way to manage energy in buildings. Energy managers need no longer just wait for the utility bill to take reactive action. From enhanced utility bill and real-time interval data analysis, through to the use of on-site generation and demand management strategies to reduce energy spend while enabling new revenue streams, energy managers can mitigate risks that historically were much harder to address.

Unpacking the benefits of the new methods of energy management.

Fundamentally, enhanced energy management strategies enable energy managers to reduce energy spend volatility while uncovering high ROI opportunities to reduce overall opex—with the secondary benefits of driving environmental benefits and employee satisfaction.

Since there is a lot to review here, we’ll cover the extent of the new way of managing energy over the course of two posts.

Conduct a continuous Ashrae Level 1 audit with utility bills and interval meter data. 

If we talk about energy management as a journey let’s start with the base case—automated collection of utility billing information and access to real-time interval meter data.

Ashrae level 1 audits can be used as a means to level set about a building’s performance and to identify basic energy efficiency opportunities to bring a building up to a “good” performance level. With automated collection and analysis of utility bill information, BuildingFit provides dashboards that can:

  • Review individual building performance—in a single month or compared to past usage
  • Benchmark performance across a portfolio or publicly available information for an entire industry
  • Normalize any of the above for building area, weather, or a custom metric most important to a business (from commonly used factors like weather or revenue, or industry specific metrics like number of hospital beds for healthcare or widgets produced in manufacturing).

Going a step further towards displaying actionable information, interval meter data provides a real-time view of building (or sub-meter if available) level consumption and historical trends over time.

Energy managers can display interval data in a number of ways for different purposes – from monitoring hourly consumption trends with daily overlay curves to better managing peak demand with load duration curves.

With daily overaly charts specifically, we overlay each day’s interval demand on a 24 hour x-axis. These charts can reveal high return on investment changes (ie scheduling and sequence rewriting) that can lead to reduced demand and consumption charges as well as extend equipment life. The below chart shows an example of all three:

Even a quick glance demonstrates a faulty startup sequence likely stressing equipment and causing 30% excess demand charges, which in many markets could mean 10% savings on electric bills if mitigated.

Utility bill and interval meter data analysis represent the lowest hanging fruit and a valuable first step for energy managers to level set the performance of their buildings. In our next post we’ll go further down the line of optimization to evaluate emerging opportunities from the intersection of on-site generation and demand-side management.

Salt Lake City, Utah

BuildingFit Wins 2020 Utah Business Green Business Award

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BuildingFit helps reduce the environmental footprint of our clients and community by minimizing the amount of non-renewable energy they use.

BuildingFit has been selected a winner for the 2020 Utah Business Green Business Award Innovation category. Every year, Utah Business honors companies, communities, and individuals who are taking a stand in sustainability and making a difference for our state’s environmental future.

Because building systems are complex, it is common for buildings to waste tens of thousands—to hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on energy waste,  when building systems like HVAC don’t operate as intended. BuildingFit helps reduce the environmental footprint of our clients and society by reducing the amount of non-renewable energy they use.

BuildingFit analytics have been widely used in more than 50 million ft2 in customer facilities worldwide. Projects are most commonly healthcare, higher education, government, casinos, commercial spaces, luxury condominiums, and medical manufacturing plants. Many of our energy saving projects are here in Utah. BuildingFit provides energy management services to numerous enterprise organizations, with a retention rate better than 90%.

Read more here what BuildingFit and other Green Business honorees have to say for sustainability and greener Utah.

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About BuildingFit

BuildingFit™ is a Fault Detection & Diagnostics (FDD), analytics and visualization platform that identifies opportunities, to make buildings more energy efficient, reliable, comfortable, and safe. Engineered for large quantities of data from disparate sources such as building automation systems (BAS) and smart IoT devices, BuildingFit™ insights are delivered through analytics, Key Performance Indicators (KPI), automated reports, and interactive dashboards that help users prioritize daily operations, minimize energy waste and reduce costs. Learn more at www.buildingfit.com.

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BuildingFit Banner Health Smart Building Innovation Awards

Banner Health Named Finalist for 2020 Verdantix International Smart Building Innovation Awards

We are excited to announce that Banner Health is a finalist for the Verdantix 2020 International Smart Building Innovation Awards.

Banner Health implemented an enterprise wide Monitoring Based Commissioning (MBCx) program utilizing the BuildingFit (www.buildingfit.com) Fault Detection and Diagnostics platform. To date, the program has saved:

– $11.3 million/year

– 80 million kWh/year of electricity

– 530,000 Dth/year of natural gas

– 6,000 tons of CO2 emissions – equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions from 7,600 homes or 14,000 cars

For more information about this award and finalists, please go to https://www.verdantix.com/newsroom/press-releases/verdantix-announces-the-finalists-for-the-2020-international-smartbuilding-innovation-awards

 

fault-detection-and-diagnostics

BuildingFit Featured in CABA Journal. Finding Our Way: Take the Established Success Path for Implementing Building Analytics

By Rob Glance, BuildingFit

While most industries have adopted and are aligned with industry standards relating to IP networking and enterprise data management, building automation is stuck in catch-up mode. Owners understandably want to manage their sites with the latest technologies and information management systems. While many building automation systems (BAS) products are becoming IP-compliant, many existing buildings have older legacy and proprietary BAS systems. This creates big problems for those charged with managing buildings.

The result of this is that applying analytics on building performance, building owners are locked into a cycle of needing to upgrade outdated BAS while knowing that outright replacement and attaining the capital needed to justify ROI are often insurmountable. Many of these BAS are incapable of offering much more than simple trend data and weren’t designed to provide any real operational diagnostics beyond basic alarms.

Read the full article in CABA Journal here.

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smart-building-analytics

Implementing Data Analytics Into Building Automation Systems

I can’t help feeling that it’s 1999 all over again. As a software development professional with experience across multiple industries, I hear a consistent lament from building owners who share the same set of problems. While most industries have already adopted and are aligned with industry standards relating to IP networking and enterprise data management, building automation has yet to catch up. Owners want to manage their sites with the latest technologies and information management systems. While many building automation systems (BAS) products are becoming IP-compliant, many existing buildings have older legacy and proprietary BAS systems, creating big problems for building managers.

To apply analytics on building performance, building owners are locked into a cycle of needing to upgrade outdated BAS. But outright replacement and the means to justify ROI are difficult challenges to overcome. Many of these BAS don’t have the ability to offer much more than simple trending, and weren’t designed to provide any real operational diagnostics beyond basic alarms. What more: getting any kind of meaningful information out of a BAS can be complicated and usually has limitations on the data’s availability.

 

…Continue Reading on FacilityExecutive.com

 
Integrating data analytics into building automation systems has been difficult, but it’s getting easier.
By Rob Glance

BuildingFit

Building Fit
+1-385-246-3759
contact@BuildingFit.com

1997 South 1100 East
Salt lake City, Utah, 84106

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