Gaining visibility through building analytics – EcoXpert Podcast

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The EcoXpert™ Partner Program has joined the podcast trend. As the Building Management Systems EcoXpert badge owner, I’m thrilled to host the new EcoXpert podcast channel focused on energy in buildings. The intention behind this channel is to give the latest information about how technology is shaping the way we are using, designing, and controlling energy usage in buildings to create more efficient and comfortable environments. With help from my co-hosts who are both experts in their fields, along with many interview guests, we’ll bring the latest news and ideas on how to improve energy efficiency in buildings to our listeners in each of the EcoXpert podcast episodes.

Episode one: Interview with building analytics expert, Paul Whittingham

A challenge for many in the building space is how to provide the user with real time information as to how their building is performing. This is something that can be provided through building analytics.

In the first podcast episode, recorded in Sweden, I had the opportunity to interview Paul Whittingham, Building Advisor Business Development Director at Schneider Electric. Paul is an expert in the field of building management systems and in particular the development of analytical software. Through Paul’s insight we understand how this technology has been developed and the future that it holds.

Data collected from intelligent management systems is being used very differently today than in the past. In the past 5 to 6 years there has been a huge shift in the way we utilize, analyze, and respond to data, primarily due to IoT. This change is specifically centered around the customers understanding of the value of information and how to apply it within their business which is now expected in the market. This is where building analytics come into play.

Paul, who has been involved in analytics for 7 years gives a great example on how building analytics work very similarly to the car industry. He says that our cars inform us when an oil change and other maintenance is needed but imagine knowing the impact of not changing the oil. That is the power of the analytics and what we apply in the building environment. Building management systems are there for control and monitoring but adding the analytics portion can be described as if the customer has an expert monitoring 24/7 and highlighting what needs to be addressed and the possible impacts of ignoring those issues. Building analytics is opening new doors into how the total building functions by bringing in these new dimensions.

Changes in control systems

Dusan Janjic, one of my co-hosts and the Light & Room Control EcoXpert program badge manager also joins me during this episode to discuss the changes he’s seen in the way data is being used, processed and above all understood. Dusan explains that control system design also has a lot to do with this change. Previously, control systems were very centralized, being predominantly focused on controlling and ensuring that the machines and equipment were operating properly but did not incorporate factors like space management or employee productivity which was taken care of by other decision-making systems.

“We’re seeing a much higher level of intelligence distributed at the field level of control,” Dusan says.

Controllers now understand the applications that they are controlling, and unlike before, the systems can utilize the data from the analytics to make intelligent decisions.

Building analytic benefits for EcoXperts

The benefits building analytics bring to end users is very clear. Benefits include returns on investment such as reducing unscheduled maintenance by almost 30%, up to 20% in energy savings, attracting and retaining people as assets, and much more. But what are the benefits for our partners? EcoXperts have material, training, and guidance on building analytics offers available to them through Schneider Electric. These analytical tools allow partners to transform their own business in addition to transforming that of their customers. Including analytics as part of the service offer or part of the building management system is now seen as the norm in the industry and can greatly improve the competitive place of the business partner. Ultimately, the highlighted value for EcoXperts is that they are viewed by the customers as consultants rather than maintainers.

Listen to the full Episode 1 of the EcoXpert podcast to hear more. Search “EcoXpert” on any listening app to listen or download for free and subscribe to the channel.

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