We’ve compiled 4 reasons why using IoT and data analytics to support your current commercial building energy audits will help you save time, money, and give you a market advantage over your competitors.
The use of data analytics in business performance and process optimization is rapidly growing. Through Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, big data has never been more accessible. However, the prominence of these advancements disproportionately consider the technological aspects of data collection over business model innovation.
In other words, while a lot of time and money is being spent on producing IoT products, the implementation and real world data applications are lagging because most industries are hesitant to shift their core business strategies to incorporate the use of this technology.
Energy auditing and building efficiency are the archetype for this hesitancy, and for a historically good reason. Commercial building energy audits are often performed by industry veterans who have a combination of technical expertise and industry experience - a “tried and true” method of performing audits.
However, there remains a huge, untapped potential for practical applications of big data to be used in the commercial building auditing space. This shift can be accelerated by these industries through collaboration with early-stage developers to flush out prototypes while mutually supporting a shift in their customer value proposition and underlying operating model.
Below, we’ve compiled 4 reasons why you will want to consider getting ahead of the curve and start using IoT and data analytics to support your current energy auditing techniques:
1. Increased demand will make it harder for the industry to keep up
Driven by increased tenant demand for healthier, more efficient buildings, aging infrastructure across cities, and most recently, awareness surrounding the transmission of airborne diseases, such as COVID-19 in poorly ventilated buildings (which we’ll get to later), the growing need for building audits and retrofitting projects is projected to put a strain on the industry.
Cleantech is one of the fastest-growing tech industries today, with an expected market cap of $2.5 trillion USD by 2022. Alongside this, the global energy retrofit systems market size was valued at USD 132.8 billion in 2019 and is anticipated to grow to USD 182.9 billion by 2027.
As the use of big data analysis increases, IoT devices will have the ability to track effectiveness of a building’s HVAC system, envelope, controls systems, efficiency, a building’s overall comfort level, and indoor air quality. This method of data collection is highly automated, which will alleviate the strain of time and labour intensive manual testing.
2. Government mandates and consumer requests for disclosure of building performance
Much like fuel emission standards for the automotive industry were 4 decades ago, government regulation combined with consumer requests for transparency are forcing commercial building owners to publish data on energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and even indoor air quality (IAQ).
Several jurisdictions across North America have already begun implementing disclosure projects, including Winnipeg, Seattle, Edmonton, and New York to name just a few. The issue is that many small and medium-sized building owners don’t have the capacity or knowledge required to measure, disclose, or benchmark building data. This means there will be a growing demand for affordable third-party measurement and verification tools.
3. Increased awareness surrounding airborne disease transmission
COVID-19 has put an unprecedented spotlight on building health. Moreover, scientists anticipate that pandemics will become more frequent as ecosystem resiliency continues to deteriorate.
The 2020 trend of working from home has also had a devastating impact on global commercial real estate. The industry must find novel solutions to re-attract tenants. This means proving that their buildings are safe and healthy.
One of the big applications for IoT and data analytics is in environmental monitoring. While the primary focus has been on water quality, atmospheric and soil conditions, it can be equally applied to the built environment. New sensors are able to measure various compounds found in ambient air, like total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), specific volatile organic compounds (VOC) such as CO2, and particulates of varying size. The advancements in wireless sensor capabilities also allow for multiple variables to be tracked simultaneously across a space, providing accurate and comprehensive information for concerns such as ventilation.
4. There is a huge untapped market in desperate need of more audits
The most common indoor environmental quality monitoring architecture in today’s market is building management or automation software (BMS or BAS). Those include smart thermostats, automated zone monitoring and control, and some other fascinating technologies. The problem with this architecture is its installation cost and capacity. Even if building owners have the financial means to implement these systems, building operators often don’t have the resources to use the data effectively (if at all). For this reason, they are most often implemented by large property management companies that have access to capital, and expertise on hand to monitor and interpret the data.
In addition, there are a tremendous number of buildings, particularly small- and medium-sized, in which a building audit is still not practical because the potential energy savings will not recover the cost of the audit. While there have been improvements in low and no-cost data gathering services, like ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, it is widely accepted that there continues to be a need for auditors on-site to gather technology-specific data in order to produce high quality reports with specific recommendations.
There are a number of IoT technology applications that allow high quality data collection on par with building automation systems without the need for invasive and expensive permanent installation. Automatic data collection and analysis streamline the auditing process, which enables energy auditors to lower costs, and respond to an entirely underserved market.
Still unconvinced that jumping on the big-data train isn’t the right move for the energy auditing industry? Contact ioAirFlow, and try out some of the latest IoT technology available.