- Intelligent buildings translate data from information technology into actions that improve performance.
- Benefits include improved occupant satisfaction and meeting green labeling requirements.
- The right type of accurate data plays a critical role in optimizing building performance.
Would you like to know how your building investments are performing on a daily basis? An intelligent building, which is networked to a variety of systems and adaptable to changes in occupancy and function, can do just that. Navigant Research defines an intelligent building as one based on IT technologies, which translate system data into actions that improve performance.
The benefits of these brainy buildings go beyond lower utility bills and more efficient operations. They include:
- Improved occupant comfort and satisfaction
- Better information for making capital decisions during planning cycles
- Measurement and verification (M&V) of efficiency enhancements
- Visible and consistent data for measuring and achieving sustainability goals
- Reduced maintenance problems and costs with fault detection and diagnostics
- A more holistic view of building operations; identify patterns
IT technologies will enable access to all data with the appropriate application. An open platform is key to this access and therefore Project Haystack was established, which is developing naming conventions and taxonomies for building equipment and operational data. All work developed by this initiative is available for use as open source software.
Intelligent buildings will thus be software centric. Building energy management systems (BEMS) will provide analytics, using data from building management systems (BMS) for coordinating operation of multiple building automation systems (BAS), resulting in front-end decision support for operators. The Internet of Things will play a major role by providing the infrastructure for connectivity and data acquisition (including external) for actionable insights and system improvements. This will enable buildings to anticipate and respond to the presence of occupants and their preferences.
So how do you make your buildings intelligent? First, determine your objectives and business impacts. Once you've established these objectives (such as energy savings, operational efficiency, occupant engagement, sustainability), get buy-in from all stakeholders (from operators to executives) so you can establish a budget. You need at least one champion, such as an energy manager or engineer, who understands the value chain of poor operation.
Next, determine the scope of the data and what functions to integrate. Bring in as much data as you can; tagging and naming conventions are critical to usable information. Once data is properly categorized so it can be aggregated for alerts, you'll have useful information—as long as the data is accurate. However, several challenges remain:
- Synthesizing data across all building systems and portfolios for a fully integrated building
- Having the right combination of people and tools to take action for optimization
- Bringing operations and IT departments together to help develop a long-term maintenance strategy
- Providing cyber security to keep data, operations and occupants safe
According to Navigant, intelligent building technologies will also eventually optimize other resources, such as water and waste. And with full integration and automation, they'll be able to leverage facilities for complete dynamic grid integration and siting distributed energy resources.
Image source: Questline