Have you ever wondered what you could do if you really sat down and analyzed energy data? Well, it turns out that’s what we do for a living here at BuildingIQ. Please, look at the image below. This is a, very interesting, historical look at the range of issues we have discovered in our customers’ buildings:
Keep in mind that we are using an existing BMS/HVAC system as, basically, an IoT (Internet of Things) sensor network and in some cases a cloud-controlled building network. If you break down the data, you’ll see that chiller operation and sensor failure lead the pack.
I think we can all get behind sensor failure as pretty much always being an issue. You may be thinking… “Isn’t that what Fault Detection service providers find for me?” Well yes, but also no. We do things a bit differently. First, the sensor data is important, no question about that! But it’s most important from a systemic view. Yes, we’re monitoring and trending sensors as points in our cloud, but we’re also diagnosing the impact of the sensor on the overall system. It’s rather unimportant if a sensor is feeding a part of the system that costs very little money —in terms of unnecessary energy use— or if it doesn’t impact tenant comfort. On the other hand, it’s very important if that sensor leads to excessive energy use and/or occupant discomfort. So our system, coupled with our network operations center providing 24/7 human oversight, separates the important from the unimportant. Fixing an un-impactful sensor failure out of schedule is actually more costly than not doing anything at all. In our view, it is better to only address the right issues.
Let’s now take a look at the number 2 issue —chiller operation. Well, it turns out that we don’t get to control chillers. That’s where chiller optimization companies, like Smardt, come into play. What we do instead is incorporate the knowledge of how chilled water impacts the air-side energy efficiency into our algorithms and schemas. So we recognize a disproportional impact on energy use when chiller operations go slight wrong. In our view, that’s something worth investigating.
Overall, as you look at the data, you’ll see that we’re monitoring, analyzing, and ultimately diagnosing energy data, many factors in the complex chain of equipment, and many other dependencies that constitute the BMS/HVAC system. Focusing on the whole picture, rather than a set of discrete sensors, allows us to separate the important from unimportant, and truly augment the abilities of the facilities staff. All without adding a single sensor.
Dave McCroskey is the VP of Global Operations for BuildingIQ. Dave is a seasoned Silicon Valley-based executive with extensive international customer success and operations experience.