5 Ways Technology Is Making Building Analytics Actionable

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Shannon McAuliffe, Director of Sales, utiliVisor Southwest
Feb 11, 2021 (6 min read)
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The Five Must-Haves When It Comes to Your Energy Insight Solution

The evolution and proliferation of data coming from utility systems can be overwhelming to an organization.  

It must be: captured correctly, formatted to show efficiency gains and financial rewards, and typically it must be done dynamically as the condition and variables are always changing.

Though granular data is obtainable in every component within a utility system and data storage cost is inexpensive, this onset of information has created another subset of issues: 

  • How do we make it actionable and timely?

  • What action should we take?

  • What is the benefit of taking that action (holistically)?

  • How do we validate the action was effective?

  • How do we ensure the action we took today is the right step for tomorrow's conditions?

There are absolute necessities in managing your utility systems' information for long-term optimization.

But there is one big problem with data (and unlimited energy insights)

Problem: Data does not make decisions.

Even with today's advanced measuring and monitoring technology, data is still... data.  

Operators have access to more information and BAS (Building Automation System) screens with analytical measurements flashing on the screens, but do they have the systems and support to make them more effective?

Unless you have technical support and energy engineering resources to make it actionable, data is a bunch of information that is rarely reviewed. 

The combination of technology, data, and people provides:

  1. Better decision-making in the dispatch of equipment and service

  2. Validation that corrective action was effective

  3. Financial representation on the benefit of taking action

There are five must-haves when it comes to building analytics that drive decision-making:

1. A Continuous Flow of Real-Time Utility Data and Information

On-going, 24/7 data collection from building systems is critical in creating long-term energy solutions. 

Want real solutions? You need 24/7 accurate data. Period.

Long-term energy solutions require:

  1. Granular data on the major equipment and holistic operations over time.

  2. The data must be compared to aggregate data from other similar systems and operations. 

  3. Provide in-house expert resources tasked with reviewing the data and identifying the trends that need to be addressed.

  4. A solution that can scale throughout the facility and into other assets the portfolio holds.

  5. Communication from a centralized location provides instant access to insights, issues, observations, and responses through the form of push notifications.

diagram of sustainable efficiency

2. Data Accessibility and Consumption

An effective energy insight platform must be dynamic

Building energy must make your data and issues accessible through desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile devices.  

The representation of that data must be dynamic so that shareholders with different levels of expertise can receive a benefit - even team members without a background in engineering or energy.

The tools utilized to represent the information should provide accurate, high-level, key performance measurements instantly. 

Tools should also have the capability to instantaneously drill down to the smallest of details within the facility. 

The platform should provide the user a way to access the data through an app on their phones.  As these devices are becoming as critical as our car keys, we have little aptitude or patience to get the required information by logging into a website and drilling into a complex website to get the information we need.   

Energy insight platforms must also ensure a secure data cloud that keeps the information protected and secured.

The right information, on the right device, to the right people, at the right time, enables immediate action as it relates to their discipline or responsibility.

3. Flexible Deployment that Meets the Specific Needs of Your Building

No two buildings or facilities are alike. Utility plants, building automation systems, and how the facility consumes the utility are like your children.  Each one unique to themselves.  

An effective energy insight platform must be flexible in how it is deployed and implemented into the facility. 

When engineering a solution to the issue that is trying to be solved, one size solutions are destined to fall short of the goal.  

A successful deployment occurs when a customer's goals are prioritized within the limitations of the building's infrastructure, resources, and capital constraints.  

When you look for a company to provide energy insight platforms with real-time services, you want a company that recognizes your unique situation and has the depth of knowledge in your industry with the insight and analysis your niche requires. 

That’s how innovation and advancement is realized. 

You want a company laser-focused on working with you to provide you with actionable results and not distracted by selling you equipment.

4. An Operations Center with Energy Experts That Monitor and Advise You on Actions to Optimize

Even with fully functional submeters, building automation systems, and visually appealing platforms, there is still one major component that few energy insight platforms have: accessible, in-house people with expertise in building utility operations. 

A firm that provides energy insight platforms with access to the data must have the same expertise behind the screens as they do in developing fancy visual graphics. 

A company’s solution is only as good as the person in front of and behind the screens.  

A solution without the people who know our industry demands and limitations cannot empathize with the daily challenges our field faces as you try to achieve efficiency - while balancing the checkbook.  

The applications that fail to provide this essential element will fall short in delivering a long-term solution that pays dividends year after year.  

Without those returns, the valuable investment you make in resources and money in deploying a solution may appear to have been wasted and those dollars redirected within a few years. You’ve just lost all of your efforts and gains - leaving many in our industry suspect of these types of implementations.

5. Experience and knowledge makes building analytics actionable

Effective energy management (that leads to long-term savings) requires a practical and holistic understanding of your building and organization before making recommendations. 

It’s also imperative that these systems provide the validation to team members - through efficiency and financial projections - that their efforts are effecting change. 

This breadth and depth of energy operations expertise are difficult to find. 

“utiliVisor, first and foremost, is a service company that provides excellent software and applications to effect change and provide sustainable outcomes.” - Tim Angerame

If you're looking for help from a team that has been helping clients and buildings optimize their energy usage for over forty years, contact utiliVisor

Our combined experience in building operations, central/chilled water/boiler, cogeneration plants, metering, and tenant submetering allows us to provide clients with unparalleled insights into their energy usage, and more importantly, offer them sound strategies for sustained energy savings.

Connect with utiliVisor to discuss how we can help your organization identify energy plant savings and generate revenue for your submetering program.

Let’s talk.

About utiliVisor

Your tenant submetering and energy plant optimization services are an essential part of your operation. You deserve personalized energy insights from a team that knows buildings from the inside out, applies IoT technology and is energized by providing you with accurate data and energy optimization insights. When you need experience, expertise, and service, you need utiliVisor on your side, delivering consistent energy and cost-saving strategies to you. What more can our 40 years of experience and historical data do for you? Call utiliVisor at 212-260-4800 or visit utilivisor.com