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Intelligent Live Recommissioning: Big Data Analytics with "No Hands Required"
Author: Andrea Curry, Vice President of Product Management, SHIFT Energy Inc.

By now you've probably heard about what big data analytics can bring to your building. You've heard about the focus it can bring your energy management team and the foresight it can bring to your capital planning process. It all sounds good, but also very tedious to implement. To be successful, it needs to be a full-fledged program, right? Priorities need to shift? Jobs need to change?

Wrong. There is a way to take advantage of the tremendous insight and accuracy that big data analytics adds without re-purposing your operations team to become an energy management task force. It's called Intelligent Live Recommissioning (ILR) – the automation of the Continuous Commissioning process through the application of big data analytics, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Canucks Sports and Entertainment recently implemented an ILR solution at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

"As a live events facility, Rogers Arena has a dynamic, complex footprint of energy usage," Al Hutchings, Director of Facility Operations and Engineering at Rogers Arena. "EOS™ is able to fine-tune the entire facility from HVAC to chillers to lighting - optimizing the facility in real-time, while respecting our event management needs. We feed the EOS™ solution with our event needs and the system takes care of the energy and space planning, continuously adjusting the equipment setpoints for optimal efficiency and performance. The result is big savings without significant changes to our daily operations."

Let me explain. I'm sure you're all familiar with recommissioning and retro-commissioning as concepts. To me, these activities are primarily about eliminating waste - ceasing to heat what was hot enough, cool what was cool enough, light what was light enough… and so on. Often recommissioning offers the best payback of any energy efficiency alternative on the market.

The problem is that in a living building eco-system, operators cannot recommission enough to truly align with building needs. They end up with a system that has very limited waste under 1 or 2 static operating scenarios (like, for example, fully occupied and unoccupied); however, many buildings are rarely in these static conditions. As a result, there is still plenty of waste hanging around. And, even if removed for a short time, waste typically does creeps back in over time as conditions evolve.

In smaller facilities, many operators have manually started leveraging analytics to 'continuously commission' their buildings. I've seen this constant adjustment of controls in order to optimize according to space requirements in action. It is effective. This is a really good step forward in terms of closing the energy waste gap. The trouble is that people have day jobs. And continuous commissioning is very difficult to scale to large or complex environments. Dealing with a minute by minute analysis of over 5,000 data points gets onerous!

But what if you could automate this implementation? What if this automation could even raise the bar in terms of the achievable savings? What would you need to do this?

You basically need 3 things to implement ILR and they all exist today.
  1. Precision: You need some really smart math - a precise and reliable set of algorithms that can change with the building's changing requirements. Big data analytics provides this.
  2. Power: You need some serious processing power to run these algorithms. Cloud computing provides this.
  3. Actuation: You need a way to seamlessly synchronize the optimized plan created by the really smart math with what's already controlling the building. IoT provides this.
With the advent of these three technologies, there is no longer a need to staff energy control centers or change the focus of operations. You can achieve even greater savings by relying on technology. Furthermore, the "live" environment not only trims waste, but also puts you in the driver's seat in terms of understanding your facility and preventing any future waste that may accumulate over time. You'll know within hours, if not minutes, if there's a problem with your equipment or controls.

So, when it comes to taking advantage of what big data analytics has to offer in terms of energy savings, why make it harder than it has to be? Consider letting technology be your friend and you could be trimming waste in no time. No hands required.

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About Our Sponsor: SHIFT Energy Inc. is a member of the Mariner Group of Companies. Our patent pending Energy Optimization System (EOS™) solution automates energy operations in a building intelligently adjusting the equipment, space usage and energy demand for the best performance every minute. The nonintrusive system operates on top of your existing building control system thus eliminating the need for major capital investment. By using this unique Intelligent Live Recommissioning (ILR) approach we are able to save you 15%-35% on your utility bill.

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