Do You Know What Your Building Data is Telling You?

We spend nearly 80 to 90 percent of our day inside. When you start to think about it, this means that we spend more time living and working in our human made ecosystems – buildings – than in the outdoors. Buildings are complex ecosystems, creating troves of data that deserves careful study and data analysis. A building’s ecosystem plays an essential role in improving decisions and unlocking new insights from data for organizations. So what kinds of building systems are creating data that an agency can monitor for new efficiencies? To name just a few, sensors can be installed or exist within buildings to measure:

  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Lighting
  • Communications
  • Facility infrastructure
  • Leasing and administrative data

So how can the government leverage building data?

IBM defines Smarter Buildings as, “well-managed, integrated physical and digital infrastructures that provide optimal occupancy services in a reliable, cost effective and sustainable manner.” The benefits of a smarter building include:

  • Increased energy efficiency: Smarter Buildings not only promote Green IT, but they also reduce energy consumption and costs to be more energy efficient, reducing your agency’s carbon footprint.
  • Increased operational efficiency: This technology reduces facility maintenance as well as operating and occupancy costs.
  • Witness cost savings: Looking at your data and entire building portfolio can eliminate real estate penalties and over-payments. Organizations can also receive high returns from capital projects by taking a holistic view of the project by leveraging building data.
  • Consolidated data: By consolidating building data, agencies can leverage new and emerging technologies to adapt to changing conditions, and make smarter IT investments.

One great example of an organization leveraging their building data to transform their agency is Tulane University’s School of Architecture in New Orleans (You can read the full Tulane case study here). In a recent IBM report, IBM shares the story of how this building was transformed into a smart building:

At Tulane University’s School of Architecture in New Orleans, IBM helped transform century-old Richardson Memorial Hall into a living laboratory. By collecting, combining and analyzing real-time data from sensored equipment, temperature monitors and its own management system, the building monitors itself. So now it can tell managers how it can be most efficiently operated with regard to heating, cooling, humidity controls, ventilation and more.

Now architecture students—those who will soon shape the world’s buildings—get a firsthand look at how a structure’s systems affect those within the building and the resources it consumes. Students also see how historic buildings can be adapted for efficiency and how systems can work together, even across multiple buildings, for optimal performance.

Clearly, buildings have their own ecosystems, equipped with their own unique environments to meet the needs of their inhabitants. Buildings contain ecosystems that impact our productivity, organizational costs, and mission goals. Modest changes to how buildings are managed can have enormous impacts for organizations. Transforming your building into a smart building cuts costs, reduces carbon footprints, and reallocates funding to serve organizational needs.

How can a smarter building approach benefit your department?

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The IBM Analytics Solution Center (ASC) is part of a network of global analytics centers that provides clients with the analytics expertise to help them solve their toughest business problems. Check out their Analytics to Outcomes group on GovLoop.


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