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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Moving Beyond Data Paralysis to Effective use of Building Analytics

  • Author(s): Kramer, Hannah;
  • Lin, Guanjing;
  • Granderson, Jessica;
  • Curtin, Claire;
  • Crowe, Eliot
  • et al.

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As digital controls and smart meters become commonplace in commercial buildings, facilities teams have access to overwhelming amounts of data. This data does not typically lead to insights and corrective actions unless it is analyzed and prioritized in automated ways. Analytic software has been commercially available for over 20 years, but only recently have these tools seen increased adoption. This monitoring infrastructure helps uncover hidden operational opportunities, which is enticing for decision makers looking for short paybacks. Rather than single project savings, monitoring-based commissioning (MBCx) provides tools and processes to implement persistent, continuous improvement. What was formerly a data onslaught is now becoming a controlled resource for improved energy management. In 2016, a Research and Industry Partnership program was launched to support the use of analytics and diagnostics technologies and MBCx practices. This program couples technical assistance to owners to help increase adoption with a data collection effort to inform industry. It includes the most comprehensive data available nationally on analytics installation and use. The first-year results are in, with data from 46 organizations representing over 185 million square feet and 2,300 buildings. These organizations have achieved a median year-over-year energy savings of $0.20/sq ft with a median first year technology implementation cost of $0.12/sq ft. The paper summarizes attributes of successful analytics and MBCx installations, and cost-effectiveness results. The research provides insight for utilities considering adopting analytics technologies into incentive programs, for analytics developers to improve the performance of their solutions, and for commercial building facility staff considering these technologies.

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