As more buildings become smart, there is a growing need for standardized semantic data models that allows for better data use. The goal of using common data models is to enable a better understanding of a smart building’s data in a continuously changing environment. A robust data ontology framework makes this possible and allows your building management system to become truly intelligent.
Jon Schoenfeld, PE is Buildings IOT's Director of Energy & Analytics. He's been developing advanced algorithms for building automation applications for more than a decade and he applies his tremendous building expertise as he oversees the team of building scientists creating the onPoint platform.
Commercial buildings account for nearly half of total energy consumption in the U.S. at a cost of more than $300 billion per year. Much of that energy is wasted through inefficiencies, resulting in significant and unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. The energy waste also translates to higher electricity bills that can be avoided by adopting a strategic Building Energy Management approach.
Smart buildings require data to operate at their most efficient. The more data gathered, the more efficient buildings will become. Greater efficiency within built environments leads to higher rents (from 3-7% greater) and higher sales prices (16% more on average) when these assets are sold. In smart buildings, Internet of Things (IoT) technology like smart sensors and controllers help gather, integrate, and evaluate data with the help of advanced analytics software. However, this collected data, which falls under the “big data” umbrella, requires standardization to turn it into productive data.
A 2015 Rutgers University study looked at whether green building tax credits and compliance with certification programs contributed positively to improving indoor air quality in green buildings and its relation to occupant health. Over the course of five years, researchers measured indoor air quality at a residential high-rise complex, using an industrial hygiene contractor to conduct annual air quality assessments. It compared these measurements to conventionally-built residential buildings, following New York’s Green Building Tax Credit (GBTC) and Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) requirements.
In Australia, aerosol scientist Lidia Morawska works with a device the size of a shoe that measures carbon dioxide in the environment, visiting restaurants, offices, schools, and other buildings to determine how well-ventilated they are. Outside, the monitor typically reads just over 400 parts per million (ppm), though areas with more traffic or industrial activity tend to have somewhat higher levels. When indoors, her readings sometimes shoot up to as high as 2000 ppm, even in buildings that seem well-ventilated.
The origins of building management systems go back to 1883 and the invention of thermostats, simple devices that activated lights in buildings’ boiler rooms that indicated when a furnace required more coal. These devices evolved to automatically control steam radiators, hot water and, eventually, HVAC systems, with centralized systems slowly taking over operations as computer technology advanced. The late 1980s saw these systems converted to distributed digital computers (DDC) that communicated with the central system and, by the mid-1990s, the central computer could even communicate with the Internet.
Every hotel has to adjust to the changing demands of travelers or risk being left behind. This can be as simple as putting desks in a room and calling it an office suite or as complex as revamping your energy system to become more eco-conscious. But increasingly, the latter is becoming an important way to appeal to guests, reduce energy costs, and create more sustainable infrastructure.
Building management systems (BMS) usage is rising between 15% and 34% annually. As the American Society for Industrial Security notes, this extraordinary growth is driven by “the demand for energy and operational efficiency and sustainability, increasing government regulation, and greater monitoring, control and operability.”
One of the greenest buildings in the world is The Edge. Located in Amsterdam, it uses natural and LED lighting, resulting in 70% less electricity usage than comparable office buildings. Oriented along the sun’s path and using solar panels covering much of its roof and south-facing walls, the building produces more energy than it consumes, providing power for the entire property. Deep wells pump warm water into an aquifer that stores thermal energy, pumping it back up in winter to provide radiant heating, while air ventilated through the roof keeps it cool in summer. Additionally, the building collects rainwater in big barrels for toilets and drip irrigation in a garden that includes beehives and a habitat for bats.
The late 1980s saw a transformation in architecture, as a humble Kansas City architect named Bob Berkebile sought to convince the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to become more environmentally conscious. Wanting to move architects toward designing structures that reduced their impact on the environment, Berkebile approached the AIA’s board of directors about forming a committee to study how the industry could better address these issues.