Blueprint for Success: Data Collection

Recently, we released a white paper entitled Blueprint for Success: the 5 Steps to Digitizing Building Operations and Improving Returns at Scale.

The goal is to help owners and operators of commercial real estate better differentiate solutions in the market and gain clarity around what to expect and what to look for when investing in technology.

To make this content more accessible, we’re doing a five-part video series on each of those steps. In the first edition, Derek Stack, Lead Project Engineer at Enertiv, breaks down the step upon which everything else is built, data collection.

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Video Transcript

Hi, my name’s Derek Stack, I’m the Lead Project Engineer here at Enertiv. Recently, we released a white paper entitled Blueprint for Success: The 5 Steps to Digitizing Building Operations and Improving Returns at Scale. This video is the first in a five-part series covering that white paper.

Today, I’m going to specifically talk to you about data collection and digitizing your asset. Our goal in this video series is to explain how you can use a data-driven approach to building operations for the purpose of reducing OpEx and CapEx to improve your bottom line, so if you’re an owner or an operator of a commercial real estate asset, stay tuned because this applies directly to you.

In commercial real estate, data is already used pretty much everywhere, it’s omnipresent. It’s used in financing, operations, management and research. However, this is not necessarily the case in building operations. Either it’s not there, or the data is insufficient. So, in building operations, you can’t take a data-driven approach.

I’m going to talk to you about how you can get started doing that. Where do you look for that data? Sometimes, you might have a BMS platform installed in your asset, other times you might not.

If you do have a BMS, that’s a good place to look first. But the problem is that BMS’ are ad hoc, there are many manufacturers, you may have a portfolio with 10 different buildings, and you may have 10 difference BMS platforms. They don’t talk to each other, they don’t tell you the same thing, they often leave out critical components in your building. In one building, you might have BMS that records your boiler, in another, you might have one that doesn’t record your boiler, but it records your cooling tower.

So, it’s an incomplete data set, it’s ad hoc, there’s different manufacturers, different labels, different tags, they don’t really talk to each other, so you can’t really rely on your BMS to give you a big picture scope of your building operations.

Another problem with BMS is that they’re typically only installed in premier, Class A office buildings, they’re not really found Class B and C buildings. They’re also not commonly found in a multifamily residential building (although sometimes they are).

Anyways, a BMS is not really the best way to gather all your data. So, where do you get it?

Well, the first step is to look at a qualitative approach into painting the picture, or laying the foundation, of what your asset is and where you can get some very important information. You want to look at spec sheets, your panel schedules, your warranties, etc. All that stuff exists, but where is it? It might be in a drawer somewhere in the basement in the engineer’s office, it might be stuffed in an electrical room up on the roof.

What you want to do is gather all that information, as well as location, age, and condition of all your critical equipment, and you want to digitize that. You want to organize it, bring it up to the front, so you have quick access to your warranties in case your pump breaks and you need to call the manufacturer right away, rather than waste time looking for that warranty.

That’s your first step, you want to take all of your qualitative data and organize it, and have it up front to paint the framework, or the foundation, of what your asset actually is.

Your second step is to install sensors in your building. And what kind of sensors are we talking about? We’re talking about temperature sensors, current and potential transformers to measure real power from anything from a motor to a fan to a boiler, submeters and utility meters for either automatic tenant billing or just to know how a certain component in your building is operating.

Once you have all that data that you’re gathering and you have a complete set of data, you want to integrate that data set with your existing system. So, if you have a BMS platform, you want that the new sensor data set to talk to the BMS data that you already have. You need to integrate the system and have them talk to each other.

Once you do that, you’ve painted a big picture, you know exactly what your building is doing, and you know exactly what your critical load is on your building.

Thanks for listening and stay tuned for the rest of the video series. Later in the series, we’re going to talk about some pretty interesting stuff such as benchmarking your assets and your entire portfolio, so you can evaluate it and potentially sell it. Thank again!