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Intelligent Buildings: A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Date: 01/16/2014

Company: FirstFuel Software

Source: WIRED

Posted by Swapnil Shah

A classic advertising campaign once told us that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. This is true for buildings as well — more and more buildings these days have “brains.” Smart meters that measure energy consumption, sensors that detect when people are in a room and heating, air conditioning and lighting management systems are making the walls around us much more intelligent.

This means that buildings have the potential to play a vital role in that web of interconnected systems that make up the Internet of Things. However, the intelligence quotient of buildings is being squandered: most of the built environment fails to leverage, or even access, the lowest common denominator of energy performance — building consumption data.

However, signs point to significant change for more intelligent buildings in the years to come. An increased focus on energy efficiency is driving a growing appetite for more robust building usage data, which in turn reveals massive insights into how a building functions and how its performance can be improved over time. To assess this opportunity, let’s consider what’s going on behind the utility meters.

Not Big Data, Deep Data

Building energy efficiency does not need a Big Data solution as much as it needs a Deep Data solution. Big data is about sophisticated data processing techniques to uncover information from large, multisource data sets that contain both structured and unstructured data. On the other hand, the complexity of commercial structures places a premium on solutions that provide deep, building-specific analysis and customized, actionable answers. These commercial structures all have between 8,760 and 35,040 annual meter data points available, even before large multi-source data sets are found. This rich, time-sensitive and constantly changing information doesn’t necessarily pose the same challenges that massive amounts of data do.

This is crucial: without the need for expensive devices and integration, deep data analytics can reveal highly relevant insights into how each building uses energy. Opportunities are instantly unlocked for not just cost savings but also for changing the behavior of the people who occupy and operate a particular building every day.

Read full story at WIRED

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