How to Leverage Data Throughout Your Building’s Entire Life-Cycle

Did you know that in the US, buildings are consuming 70% of all electricity and up to 50% of it is wasted? By making modest investments in the way in which you manage your building, your agency can witness cost savings and identify new efficiencies. This all starts with understanding your buildings’ data, and learning how to manage and identify the story your building is telling you.

In the past few months, we’ve talked quite a bit about the Smarter Buildings approach and how it can impact your agency. During a GovLoop and IBM training on December 17, we will show the value of integrating your building data to increase operational efficiencies, improve security and reduce building costs. We will also be speaking with Ken Schwartz, Favrot Professor and Dean, Tulane University School of Architecture, Frank Santella, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, GSA, and Joseph Phillips, Director, IBM Global Business Services to learn real world case studies about the Smarter Buildings approach.

Although we’ve talked quite a bit about Smarter Buildings, one area we would like to bring a renewed focus to is how the Smarter Buildings approach helps an agency throughout the entire life-cycle of a building, from design to decommission. Each phase is essential to understand, and it contributes to an enhanced understanding of your building data. Whether you are managing a large portfolio of buildings, or just one, the stage of your building indicates the various ways you can save money, and plan for the future. In a recent IBM report, IBM defines four common phases of a building. I’ve provided a brief synopsis below:

  • Design: This is the stage when your organization makes important decisions on the layout and design of the building, understanding any unique requirements needed. The IBM report said, “Regulatory guideline verifications must be performed starting with the design and include all aspects of the building life cycle. Construction management, operability design, and the use of tools for analysis and performance simulation should be used to ensure that the design meets the requirements.” Understanding the design will help you assess where to place sensors, what kind you will need, and how to measure and the kinds of data that will become available to you.
  • Build: This is the stage when construction begins, and is an important step for a Smarter Buildings approach. “The build stage is the translation of the building design and energy performance requirements into reality. By including tracking capabilities (such as RFID) building materials, products and assets can be traced and verified. On-site planning, scheduling and comprehensive build management processes are essential during this stage. Materials, components and interfaces (for communication with various systems) must be identified and documented electronically for future use,” said IBM. Your organization is designing the way your building will be managed, and it is essential to think about what you need to measure to maximize the efficiency of your building. Also, this stage allows you to prepare your building for the future, and by tracking processes from the beginning, you can speed up maintenance time and identify problems early, saving you countless hours and reducing costs.
  • Operate: During this stage, facility managers play an essential role, as they are managing the data coming into their systems. This information is essential, and at the core of the Smarter Building approach, providing you with new insights and opportunities to transform how you manage your facilities. “The addition of decision support tools enables monitoring, simulation and analysis to help with decision making. Predictive maintenance and energy management are key ways to improve energy efficiency,” said IBM.
  • Maintain: This is the stage of keeping your building up to code, regulations and ensuring longevity. By listening to your building and knowing what it is telling you, you’re keeping buildings up to speed.
  • Decommission and demolition: The final stage of your building is when you are considering demolishing or selling off any viable assets of the building. Your data plays an essential role in knowing what systems are there to keep and what systems can be demolished.

Knowing what your building is telling you during each of these phases can help you to properly assess and manage your buildings’ needs. These five stages are important to consider when you are crafting a Smarter Buildings plan.

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.

Do you know what your building is telling you? Be sure to join our free training next week.

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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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