Are you hoarding data? The cost of inaction

Are you hoarding data? The cost of inaction

Big data has flooded the commercial real estate industry. From market analytics to the growing list of energy platforms, we are overloaded with data. Capturing and visualizing the data is only the first step. With few exceptions, data requires action to leverage its value.

As you read this, millions of pulse meters are churning new data, thousands of control systems are trending data, and Portfolio Manager is syncing with hundreds of energy platforms across the country. However, the majority of this data will remain in the cloud unseen by those who could or should take action.

What are you data expectations?

Are you reviewing building performance data to confirm utility cost projections? Investigate a spike in utility costs or report to investors? While there is great value in reporting and meeting projections, consider rethinking your relationship with data. This will involve a commitment, one that takes valuable time but is well worth the effort. As utilities are often the most variable cost on your balance sheet, consistently reviewing building performance data and taking action can unlock NOI buried in your operations.

Pay to play?

Building performance data comes in all shapes and sizes, from basic property information to trending building control points through the BAS in real-time. Some data sets are free, while others require software, hardware, and/or monthly subscription fees. While costs typically increase with data complexity, significant value can be mined from the data you may already have. 

Many utilities offer near real-time kW demand data through their online portals at no additional cost. Monthly utility bills, while often reviewed only for accounting purposes, contain a wealth of information that can be leveraged to improve building performance and increase NOI.

Action requires commitment

When developing your strategy, the best results will be achieved by incorporating data analysis into your daily routine. Log into your utility portal to review your building’s kW demand data every Monday morning, or more frequently, to analyze building performance from the previous work week and weekend. Set a monthly reminder to review your utility bills and compare with historical performance. Develop a strategy that is realistic and works with your busy schedule.

Turning action into NOI- Examples

  • Utility Bills: Flat-lined energy consumption for a meter serving outdoor lighting may indicate failed lighting controls, as increased lighting operations are expected during the long winter nights.
  • kW Demand: Following the demand curve, you can identify opportunities to better align equipment schedules with standard lease or off-peak hours. Reducing HVAC equipment operations by 1 hour per day can reduce total building energy consumption by 3-5%.
  • BAS Trending Data: Focus on mechanical equipment that consumes the most energy. Analyze your chiller operating schedules, chilled water temperatures, and indoor/outdoor temperatures to see if you can reduce weekly operating hours or reset/adjust water temperatures.
  • Hot & Cold Calls: Trend daily hot and cold calls in your CMMS or work order system. Review the results weekly or more frequently and identify patterns, solutions, and take corrective action to improve tenant comfort and satisfaction.

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