Making sure your building is future-proof isn’t as hard or expensive as it looks. For many developers, owners or users of office and industry buildings, the concept of ‘smart buildings’ still sounds like a thing from the future. Why? Because they all seem to have more urgent issues to tackle in these economically challenging times.
Understandable, but what many seem to ignore is that the smarter your building is, the more it can help you solve many of these urgent issues. Does this mean every business needs a fully operational Smart Building with all the fancy tech included? Of course not. It’s all about making smart choices, based on your actual needs. However, before your building can start working for you, you need to make sure to be Energy Smart Building Ready.
Energy Smart Building Readiness means achieving a state by which building operational data (temperatures, pressures, power usage, equipment status, damper positions, etc.) is available to users and applications that can use such data to optimize the operation of the building and maintenance of the equipment within it. Such data is typically needed in real time or at a very high interval (e.g., every 15 minutes or faster).
There is a wide degree of variance in the level of instrumentation installed in buildings and thus the detail of data available. Simply put, the more data available, the more operational insights can be derived and thus improvements gained. However, typically some improvements can be obtained even with minimal instrumentation.
Once instrumented or sensed, data must be communicated to the applications and users. This requires networking, from the sensor, typically through controllers, through networks, and using open protocols that applications can understand. Once data is made available, your building is Smart Building Ready and numerous applications can start providing value from the data. Such applications include Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD), Energy Analysis, Business Intelligence through Dynamic Dashboards, and Machine Learning. However, everything depends on the actual needs, predefined by the manager or developer of the building.
We'll outline the five steps you need to take to move towards an energy smart building.
The actual data produced by a sensor (temperature) or actuator (position) must find its way to the applications described above. Those applications execute on servers running on a customer’s premise, in their data centers, or on a public computing cloud. Those servers need to receive the data via a company intranet or the internet. This ultimately means packaging data via an internet/intranet transport protocol, which we will refer to simply as an IP protocol.
Having a decent network connection isn’t enough. The data must be delivered in a format that applications from different vendors can be understood. This is achieved by utilizing open protocols. Energy Smart Building Readiness requires that all building operational data is made available using one or more of these protocols.
System interoperability standards greatly reduce the effort to achieve energy smart building applications as well as system usability and maintainability.
Critical to implementing an Energy Smart Building is gaining and conveying an understanding of the existing installed equipment and systems and the current programming of all systems. Ultimately, such knowledge can be obtained through reverse engineering and discovery.
The key business performance indicators that the system will monitor, calculate and display should be defined. These metrics will be used to drive business decisions and all significant stakeholders should be involved in their selection and definition. The result should be a list of KPI equations and conceptual dashboard/report contents and layouts. Typical KPI's are in the areas of energy, maintenance, and comfort.
Evidently, you will need guidance to implement this vision. At Koning & Hartman, we are helping building developers and managers to be Energy Smart building Ready. We can not only assist your team to make the right choices based on your KPI’s, we can also provide the right hard- and software to make it happen. Let’s get in touch!
Koning & Hartman Belgium advises and supports your smart building projects using the ICONICS intelligent building software. With our years of experience and know-how, we help companies transition to a smarter and sustainable future.