Building Analytics Debunked

Everything you should know about the next evolution of building technology!

By definition building analytics simply means data analysis. So how are companies using this to their advantage and what do you gain from the investment?

By: Zach Denning

Analytics – The next evolution of building technology. Analytics gives your building a voice. Analytics will save you a fortune on maintenance and operating costs. Analytics can find problems you never knew were there!

Most building owners and managers have heard these punchlines and understand that technology is sweeping though through the building management industry. After years of being over-shadowed by HVAC building technology is taking it’s turn in the spotlight. Much like the cell phone industry, building technology has matured with the emergence of open platforms and interchangeable hardware – Mimicking the rise of Google’s Android platform.

Much the same as Android and iOS, software now embodies new advancements in building technology with the likes of web-based applications and dashboards – Information at your fingertips! So what about analytics? What is analytics? By definition analytics just means data analysis, so how can it be advantageous for managing HVAC?

Let’s look at some common issues surrounding building analytics –

  • Building analytics will save me money on maintenance costs….
    • Analytics are designed to analyze building data and find patterns in equipment usage. Once HVAC equipment deviates from that pattern the system assumes that it’s an abnormality which leads to a proactive alarm – An alarm normally overlooked. Yet, it’s still up to the operator to understand the alarm and make an educated financial decision as to whether it should be repaired or ignored. Although predictive technology can help cut maintenance costs, in most cases it requires an astute level of knowledge to not become an overpriced nuisance!
  • There are many companies that provide analytics, how do I choose one?…
    • When pursuing a higher form of technology for your building think about the gaps in your current HVAC management strategy. Perhaps a software that can accomplish a new proactive maintenance strategy, help track equipment operating costs, or forecast maintenance and upgrades. Evaluate the holes in your business and ensure that the technology you invest in will help to reduce costs, decrease overhead, and help you focus on what matters in managing your building!
  • I want analytics in my building, but it has a long return on investment…
    • Most companies that provide analytics struggle with two things – How to price it and providing estimated returns. Historically, analytic platforms have been a high-priced addition to building technology due to heavy computing requirements and complicated setup. Newer companies are emerging with unique sales models that drive down the initial investment and are based more on subscription type services; Allowing for a quicker return on investment with the ability to opt out if users don’t perceive value. Investing in analytics should be a calculated, financial-based decision not one born from a hunch.
  • Analytics are advanced and use “machine learning” to alert me when equipment isn’t working efficiently..

    • Be careful of your assumptions when it comes to analytic platforms. Most companies tout the advanced capabilities of their platforms, but deliver a much more primitive solution. Deploying advanced statistical analysis or “machine learning” in a building can be extremely challenging for a company who’s core business is building automation or HVAC design – They’re drastically different! Improperly vetting analytic solutions typically leaves managers with a simplistic product that mirrors the capabilities of your existing building technology.
  • Finding and solving HVAC problems will be much easier with analytics…
    • 90% of all analytics deployments are designed to be interpreted by a technical resource. Evaluate how you were using existing building alarms to your advantage when considering an analytics upgrade. Did you dig deeper into the alarm to try and solve the issue, or did you simply ignore it? How many alarms do you currently have backlogged in your current building technology? How much deferred maintenance is in your next budget? If your looking to derive financial explanations for HVAC issues and life-cycle costs you may be more interested in investing in an Operating Cost Management Platform (OCMS). One that utilizes analytics to drive life-cycle cost awareness and delivers actionable, financial intelligence around HVAC issues.

Analytics can be a wonderful tool for the well-versed manager looking to make a technological leap in their HVAC management style. Yet, in most instances, the information these systems derive is highly technical in nature unless utilized in a broader, more financial-based platform like OCMS. If you want to make a leap in understanding how your building operates, start with building a list of issues you want to address – Reducing operating costs, tenant satisfaction, reduced overhead, etc. Ensure your next investment fulfills these voids in your current strategies to facilitate a successful venture.

My name is Zach Denning and I’m the CEO and owner of EnerDapt, Inc. We’re an HVAC engineering firm that utilizes cloud-baesd technology to bridge the technical and financial gaps commonly found in HVAC management strategies. Our OCMS EnerVise platform keeps customers knowledgeable about their building from life-cycle costs to forecasted maintenance, upgrades, andequipment replacements.   You can reach me at [email protected] or visit our website at www.enerdapt.com

OCMS; Building Operating Cost Management

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