Data provides valuable insight to smart buildings

Data provides valuable insight to smart buildings

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Data is the foundation for transforming a commercial facility into an intelligent building. The connectivity and instrumentation of an intelligent building solution give stakeholders unprecedented insight into equipment, systems, facility and even employee performance.

Updating commercial buildings with connectivity and intelligence can go hand in hand with sustainability, as the analytics from intelligent buildings generate insight for economic, environmental or climate change-related decisions.

"Intelligent Building Technologies for Sustainability" from Navigant Research outlines how four data streams support economic and sustainability improvements:

  • Occupant data is providing insight into the people side of business — an area of increasing priority in corporate decision-making. Building owners, business leaders and employers recognize that the performance and engagement of occupants in their facilities have a direct influence on their bottom lines. Whether the occupants are employees, students, shoppers or clients, technology-enabled enhancements to the occupant experience are increasingly becoming a use case for intelligent building technologies. In terms of sustainability, data about people can be important inputs for determining Scope 3 emissions (those indirectly attributable to a company because of operations such as employee commuting) for carbon accounting. Niche vendors are introducing innovative solutions to optimize the occupant experience through data-driven solutions for comfort, wayfinding and collaboration. These tools often are offered through software as a service (SaaS) solutions.
  • Facility data is valuable to operations teams looking to maximize system performance, reduce costs and improve comfort. The data at the facility level must be complete in terms of covering all major end uses (including HVAC, lighting and plug loads) to support a sustainability strategy. Often, vendors from the building automation and controls industry segment are viable partners for building optimization solutions. As in the enterprise dimension of intelligent buildings data, there may be capital investment for infrastructure, but the analytics are frequently a part of a SaaS agreement. This data is valuable for monitoring energy and operations data for cost and systems management, and it can be inclusive of participation in energy programs such as demand response.
  • Enterprise data is information that addresses core business priorities for the C-suite by tying operational data to financial reporting and metrics. The scope of these solutions must be integrated and holistic, providing insight across disparate building systems and data sources. These solutions are often the most sophisticated, offering analytics capabilities alongside controls to optimize energy use and operations. Consulting business units and professional services firms can be viable partners for the enterprise customer to support the integration of data across facilities and data streams. The business model may require capital expense to cover infrastructure investment or retrofits such as building automation systems, sensors or controls.
  • Distributed energy resources (DER) data, in relation to the intelligent buildings market and sustainability, is important for coordinating facility operations and onsite energy resource generation and storage capacity. Data in this category also could be extended to track and monitor EV fleets and charging infrastructure. The integration of data from DER into the facility is a newer approach for the most sophisticated customers, but there are examples of how this can deliver sustainability and business benefits, particularly among high tech campuses. Specialty software applications offered as SaaS support this data layer.

Topics: Architectural Firms, Automation and Controls, Building Owners and Managers, Construction Firms, Consulting - Green & Sustainable Strategies and Solutions, Data Centers - Mission Critical Information Centers, Energy Saving Products, Engineering Firms, Great Commercial Buildings, Office Buildings, Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Trends and Statistics, Technology, Urban Planning and Design


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