Energy Efficiency Analytics

 

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BuildingFit grew out of ETC Group, an energy engineering firm with 30 years of experience. After supporting ETC Group’s retrocommissioning, commissioning and monitoring-based commissioning projects, BuildingFit now offers its services to other engineering firms, controls contractors, service providers, and directly to clients.

We are engineers, programmers, mathematicians and data scientists. We are passionate about reducing energy use through the creative application of modern data analysis.

Energy Efficiency Analytics

In a recent article published by Berkeley Lab, they stated that our buildings account for nearly 40% of the energy used in the United States.  The energy bill for that 40% is more than $400 billion -that’s right, $400 billion with a “B”.  Is all that money being spent appropriately or is there some energy efficiency that can be achieved?  Are there any energy management systems or have some energy analytics been created or applied, to see where energy efficiencies can be obtained through better energy management?  As such an advanced country with some many tools to aggregate and understand data, what energy efficiency analytics are there that can help us identity opportunities to save?  BuildingFit offer some tools and would like to share some suggestions, to help explain how energy efficiencies can be identified through energy efficiency analytics.  What’s done with this information is up to you.

In October 2020, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) published the results of a Smart Energy Analytics Campaign, in which one hundred and four companies, governments and schools took part.  During this program, smart energy analytics helped dive approximately 4 trillion BTU’s of annual energy savings.  Total energy savings from combined energy bills was $95 million.  That is enough energy to power more than 44,000 households for a year.  This project enabled Berkeley Lab to aggregate a massive amount of data, to which they applied an Energy Management Information System (EMIS), which included building energy analytics.  Energy analytics provided the insightful data that was used to optimize the participants facilities’ energy performance and maximize building performance through energy efficiency.

Example of Energy Being Measured to Show Saving Opportunities

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Building owners and facility manager are constantly challenged to achieve energy efficiency by reducing costs, while ensuring tenant comfort and compliance through the use of energy management solutions.  Energy management analytics companies have been working continuously to support these initiatives by capturing, aggregating and normalizing data from all areas affecting building performance, including building automation systems, IoT devices, sensors and weather.  Gathering all of this data is no easy task but by doing this, an incredible opportunity is created for identifying energy efficiency.  This compilation of information is often referred to as a data lake, because so much information is assembled and by digging deep, you never what you can find.  Joking aside, creating a data lake, aka data warehouse where all of this information can be stored, is the first step to applying energy analytics to drive energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency analytics consist of complex algorithms applied to big data, along with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, to create equipment, process-specific analytics and key performance indicators (KPI).  Applying these engineering-specific rules and cost calculations developed over the years that this data has become accessible has enabled energy management software companies to not just identify issues but determine the root cause of the problem.  As more devices and sensors make more data available, the opportunity for energy analytics continually increases. 

Maximizing energy efficient production and distribution is not all that building energy management systems can help with.  They can also aid in predicting failures and extending equipment life.  Sensors causing simultaneous heating and cooling or hunting are easy identified by energy analytics systems, that are often missed by occupants in a building.  Consistent air temperatures are being released and mask the problem in these situations, but deep analysis into equipment performance with identify opportunities for maintenance resulting in energy efficiency.

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April Guymon

April Guymon

PE, ETC Group

BuildingFit helps our team identify equipment issues and implement corrective action 2-3 times faster — and also helps our engineers manage up to 10 times more HVAC equipment systems than was possible previously.

Example of Sensor Data Showing Environmental Conditions Within a Building

A take-away from this page is that energy efficiency analytics can’t solve problems within buildings and produce energy efficiency.   Big data aggregated and normalized establish the parameters for what can be measured.  Deploying complex energy analytics to this data can be extremely valuable in finding equipment issues, identifying opportunities to achieve energy efficiency and extending the life of equipment.  Energy analytics can also uncover current and potential problems that will lead to immediate cost savings, ensure tenant comfort and provide a safe and reliable atmosphere.  With of this information and analytics, facility managers, engineers and technicians will have what they need to plan activities and set goals that will drive energy efficiencies and help buildings reduce their annual energy consumption.  The steps they take will have a significant impact, like those mentioned by Berkeley Labs in their Smart Energy Analytics Campaign.

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Implementing Data Analytics Into Building Automation Systems

Implementing Data Analytics Into Building Automation Systems

https://facilityexecutive.com/2020/04/implementing-data-analytics-into-building-automation-systems/ Integrating data analytics into building automation systems has been difficult, but it's getting...