Energy Usage Monitoring, Energy Reduction and Cost Savings
In recent years, the importance of reducing energy usage has become increasingly apparent. Buildings, in particular, are one of the largest consumers of energy, contributing significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and costing ever-increasing amounts. To address this issue, data analytics has emerged as a powerful tool for optimising energy usage in buildings. A building manager can identify areas where energy consumption can be reduced by comparing temperature sensors with footfall sensors and room booking systems.
Temperature sensors are an essential component of any building energy management system. These sensors can be used to monitor the temperature of different areas of a building, allowing building managers to identify areas where heating or cooling is excessive. By analysing temperature data from these sensors, building managers can optimise the operation of HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems, reducing energy consumption and cost.
Footfall sensors are another useful tool for building managers. These sensors can be used to track the number of people entering and exiting a building, as well as the areas of the building that are most frequently used. By combining this data with temperature data, building managers can identify areas of the building that are over or underused. By adjusting heating and cooling settings in these areas, energy consumption can be further reduced.
Room booking systems can also provide valuable data for building managers. By analysing room booking data, building managers can see into the future and start to predict which areas of the building are likely to be used at different times of the day. This information can be used to optimise the operation of HVAC systems, reducing energy consumption during periods of low occupancy. How many buildings are being heated to a comfortable temperature for humans at the weekend, but in fact, are totally empty?
By combining data from temperature sensors, footfall sensors, and room booking systems, building managers can develop a comprehensive understanding of how a building is being used and highlight how energy is being used in their buildings too. This information can be used to optimise the operation of HVAC systems, lighting, and other energy-consuming systems, reducing energy consumption and cost. However, taken to its logical conclusion, building managers can look at an overall portfolio of buildings, their usage and their energy costs and start to make much larger decisions. Do they need all these buildings operating at 30% occupancy rates or can some form of consolidation be enacted. Do these buildings really need to be heated/ventilated at weekends? Evenings? Over-night?
In addition to reducing energy consumption, data analytics can also improve the comfort and productivity of building occupants. By analysing temperature data, building managers can identify areas of the building that are too hot or too cold, and adjust heating and cooling settings to ensure that occupants are comfortable. By optimising lighting and other environmental factors, it’s also possible to improve the productivity of occupants, further enhancing the value of data analytics in building management.
You have probably seen thermal imaging cameras in use. Dark colours show low temperatures, lighter colours show higher temperatures. Now imagine seeing that for a floor plan of your buildings. Then, at the click of a button, see that for occupancy or footfall, then layer on room bookings and any other data you have about your buildings. That would be neat. So, what is stopping you from doing that now?
The first part of this jigsaw would be asking whether you have any heat sensors or footfall data. Is it your data fit to use, or still sitting in third-party vendor databases? Most such vendors of sensors data supply a handy API so that you can get that data and put it somewhere so you can use it (IBM Cloud for example). It is more likely that the room booking data is already yours to own and use, but again, it’s important to move it somewhere that you can utilise it. Finally, you need energy costs data, which will hopefully be in as much granular detail as possible. At least by building, sometimes by floor, broken down by handy time chunks. Hourly is fine, by day is frustratingly too simplistic, but by minute is far to detailed.
Building a data model over that is a speciality for Simpson Associates, and then presenting this in such a way as to support good decision making is the key. Our Floorplan visualisation accelerator enables any organisation to show their key metrics displayed over their own floorplans of their estate, helping to bring to life the life of their buildings, room, by room, floor by floor, building by building.
My view is that data analytics is a powerful tool for reducing energy consumption in buildings, but you need to go further and make building usage far more visible. Once building usage is visible, then questioning that usage, the energy costs associated with the usage and the benefits of using any particular building can begin. By using temperature sensors and mapping that against footfall sensors and room booking systems, building managers can identify areas where energy consumption can be reduced. By visualising the temperature, usage and running costs of your estate, you can better keep in control of your energy costs and balance your estate usage. With the growing focus on sustainability and energy efficiency, data analytics and visualisations are set to play an increasingly important role in building management.
To learn more about how technology can help universities on their energy reduction journey have a look here!
“IBM technology can help you track your energy usage historically and presently. By capturing everything you’ve done in the past and everything you’re currently doing, you can leverage that data to develop insights for the future. By tracking your energy usage, you can make informed decisions about how to reduce your costs and improve your environmental impact.”
Paul Baron – Business Development Manager at Simpson Associates, an IBM Gold PartnerBack to blog