Data analytics is a globally used phenomenon, which implies the science of collecting and analyzing raw data to yield meaningful and useful conclusions with facts. The term encompasses a broad range of purposes and is currently applicable in all fields of life.
Data analytics relies on different software tools for enhanced productivity and organization of data. These tools include; spreadsheets, reporting tools, data mining programs, data visualization, and lots more.
While Data analytics helps optimize business and technical performances, it is also extensively used in monitoring-based commissioning and retro-commissioning (RCx) to provide data-driven energy efficiency solutions and energy savings as Building analytics.
You might be wondering what data analytics has to do with buildings. Well, since you know that data analytics has to do with converting raw data into applicable information, let’s delve into the role it has to play in buildings.
But before then, let us understand the term Retro-commissioning.
What Is Retro-Commissioning?
Retro-commissioning (RCx) is the process of calibrating building systems to improve the building’s performance and systems function.
Here’s How: When you carry out retro-commissioning on a building, it accesses the building, collects the building’s data, and identifies problems that may have occurred during construction or a couple of years after construction. These problems are further put into consideration with corrective measures to fix them.
In simpler terms, Retro-commissioning improves, enhances, and ensures that buildings operate at an optimal level and further maintains it.
The retro-commissioning process encompasses four different phases before procuring solutions to building issues. These processes are followed judiciously during any retro-commissioning project, and they include:
- The planning phase
- The investigation phase
- The implementation phase
- The hand-off
As each building is unique, not all retro-commissioning projects apply to them. However, the most unique energy-saving opportunities are found in lighting and HVAC systems.
Retro-commissioning is undoubtedly the most fitting commissioning work for already existing buildings as it is a cost-effective way to improve your building’s energy efficiency, and this includes but is not secluded to commercial and retail buildings.
Every building, at some point, requires commissioning work to facilitate its functionality and avoid possible accidents and hazards.
From the above description, you should be able to understand that data analysis is applied in the commissioning process, from the point of identifying the building’s problem up to applying corrective measures.
Data analytics plays a major role in building maintenance and has so far been used as building maintenance management software.
Before delving into the importance of using Data analytics to solve problems as regards a building, you should get a grasp on the necessary steps in data analysis, which you must apply. They are as follows:
This is the first step of data insight. It is the most commonly used and the simplest as well, in solving a problem with your building.
For instance, there was a sudden light out in one of the rooms in your building. The first question you ask would be: What happened?
This second step delves further into asking after the descriptive analysis has identified the problem.
While you check the bulb in that particular room, the next question from a diagnostic analysis would be: Why did it happen? This leads you to the next analysis.
Now that you have collected data from what happened and why, the predictive analysis juggles your mind through a possible recurrence of the same event, in the same or a different room, by asking What could happen next?
This is the last and most active step in data analytics. Prescriptive data analytics enables you to look through what happened, why it happened, and what could happen next before you establish what will happen next.
It is the most complex step in data analysis which involves algorithms, computational modeling techniques, statistics, and machines. In this step, every decision pattern is considered along with their possible outcome.
Now, let’s discuss the importance of data analytics in retro-commissioning.
6 Importance of Data Analytics In Retro-Commissioning
1. Enhances Operational Excellence
Data Analytics provides essential insights into assets utilized by building. This insight in retro-commissioning identifies what resources are being used or wasted.
It uncovers how processes are running and how they are supposed to run, which are important data to consider during retro-commissioning.
2. Reduce Costs
Implementing data analysis in retro-commissioning helps in the early identification of building faults, thereby saving you the cost of a complete down due to late discovery.
Data analytics tools that are applied in retro-commissioning predict repair and enable adequate maintenance across the building systems.
With data analytics, owners, managers, and occupants of commercial and retail buildings can determine faulty heaters, elevators, and ventilators before a complete failure in performance.
3. Improves Buildings Visibility
While the managers of these establishments calculate occupancy per head and the cost of accommodating employees within a building, without proper measurements and tools, most of their calculations are incorrect, and whether the building is underutilized or performs at an optimal level remains unknown.
However, with data analytics in retro-commissioning, visibility of occupancy, building utilization, and other data concerning the building are provided.
4. Building Automation
Combining Data analytics with building maintenance management software ensures that the building system shows an optimal level of energy efficiency and adaptive operations. It enhances the use of assets within the building and maximizes the satisfaction of its occupants.
5. Formulates Sustainable Buildings
Every company or house owner is responsible for ensuring that all building operations are sustainable, operate at a commendable rate, and are environmentally friendly.
While this is not always obtainable at an individual level, retro-commissioning projects have made it obtainable with data analytics. This improves building utilization and energy efficiency.
With data analytics, retro-commissioning can easily identify a high-energy consumption appliance or gadget and decrease the cost of an energy audit. Companies often use this to reduce their carbon footprint. It is of high reward in countries like the United Kingdom.
6. Enhances Asset Management
Every building contains numerous appliances, gadgets, and equipment. Managing these assets is a principal task that requires precision in terms of inefficiency which could result in disadvantageous expenditures.
With data analysis, these assets’ condition, portfolio, effectiveness, and use are tracked adequately during retro-commissioning.
Some of the Benefits of Retro-Commissioning Include
1. Improved Safety
This is majorly about possible issues with lighting. Retro-commissioning improves visibility which reduces the possibility of accidents.
2. Provides Visual And Thermal Comfort
After a retro-commissioning project, home and office occupants’ complaints about their equipment are reduced.
3. Maintenance Savings
With early identification of building problems, equipment issues are identified and solved.
4. Improved Productivity
Retro-commissioning can help eliminate lamp flickers, which can be a source of distraction to occupants and reduce office productivity.
In general, the use of data analytics in retro-commissioning projects yields a higher return on investment, especially when carried out on old buildings and buildings that have never been commissioned.
Now, it is known that data analytics is not only a tool for data collection. It plays a significant role in problem-solving and decision-making as well, while it aids in optimizing performances. This makes it one of the basic tools for every commissioning project.