Buildings Alive has built its optimization program around helping building owners and operators answer questions about their buildings’ electricity, gas and water use, and the indoor environment quality provided.

The first question we tackle is always:

How much [electricity, gas, water] did my building use [yesterday, last week, last month, last year]?

Most building owners and operators around the world can now answer this question, thanks to their significant investments of time and money into their building and building data. But now that they have the answer, what does that answer MEAN? Is that number good/bad/in-between? What do they do with this information?

Buildings Alive created the Rapid Efficiency Feedback system, or REF, to help our clients answer this “what to do” question. REF uses the best data science and machine learning to evaluate a building’s past performance, considering all available information, to create a prediction of use for each 15-minute interval in a day. All 96 of them, for the whole building or individual systems, and for electricity, gas or water!

REF helps us optimize building performance, but even the best predictive models that use machine learning only compare a building’s recent electricity, gas, or water performance to what it would have been, absent of the changes implemented on site.

But the question of how much electricity, gas or water should my building use is still tricky, especially for our client buildings that have now save 20, 30, and 40% from where they began.

What is maximum efficiency ? What is a meaningful and realistic target?

We have developed a new tool to help our clients answer this question: we call it the “target profile”. At every 15-minute interval of the day, we can determine a building’s “personal best” under the weather and occupancy conditions, pulled from our history of performance data we have collected for each building. We can aggregate these interval targets to create a target for each hour, day, week, month, and year.

An example of this can be seen below:

Science-based building energy performance targets

We’re using this target profile now in daily REF messages which are sent to building managers. A building manager receives a different analysis and call to action depending on the performance of the building against its target for the day. And we back this up through our services team on site engagement.

Possibly most interesting to our clients is the aggregation of individual building targets across a portfolio. We can now create a target profile for a portfolio’s performance from the bottom up, based on each individual building and their own peak performance. This will be far superior as a management tool compared to top down goals. There is nothing wrong with “20% by 2020”, but now we can set real targets for portfolios and track progress towards those targets every day. We can even work back from top down goals, to identify which buildings and under which conditions the largest gains can be made.

This exciting new feature target profile has already rolled out to selected key clients and buildings in Australia, and will be coming to international clients and buildings shortly.