Can the Big Data revolution help close the Performance Gap?

By Naghman Khan on Friday 15 April 2016

Do you know what BIG DATA is? You must have heard of it? The exponential growth in the volume, velocity and variety of data generated each second and the corresponding increase in processing power, algorithms and databases which have developed side by side. These databases are used to collate, store, analyse and leverage insights from the multitude of data lakes, warehouses and ecosystems which we are discovering every day. Many industries such as financial services, aerospace, health, biotech and manufacturing have benefitted from applying big data tools and techniques but it has been slow to permeate building services, design and operation.

Buildings generate more data than you might think? We started with simple monthly energy and gas bills. Now we can get sub-metered data on a half hourly basis for electricity, gas, heat and water. Not to mention the thousands of BMS points you find in a typical building, each generating and storing data every minute. Layer on top of this, occupancy and climate data, indoor air quality data, data from connected devices and you get a rich, granular, high velocity, voluminous and varied data set being dumped in your Amazon database each night. The question is what do we do with it?

Using operational data to inform the design and optimisation of our buildings hasn’t been the traditional approach used by designers and engineers. We now have the tools to be able to link accurate building performance models to real data. Leveraging these enhanced operational models is a superior way of not just designing with the end performance in mind, but also to better manage existing assets. By integrating this capability into our Virtual Environment (VE) software, IES are enabling and empowering users to put to good use the new wave of big data being generated by our buildings and cities and combine this with our core building physics and building services applications.

IES are running a free faculty event. ‘Intelligent Big Data in Building Services’ will be held in London on the morning of 27th April. You can register for the event here.

My colleague Dan Tuohy and I will be sharing our thoughts on using big data in the built environment and how, at different stages of the building lifecycle, that data can be put to best use.

I’m also excited to announce a special guest speaker. Thomas Bouriot, from TFT Concultants will be sharing his insight from the client’s perspective and how buiding owners/users’ needs can be met by leveraging and combining real data with building performance modelling tools.