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Building Management System Analytics and Diagnostics Can Aid Facility Staff, If Properly Programmed




April 17, 2012 - Building Automation

Today's tip from Building Operating Management comes from Rita Tatum, contributing editor for the magazine: New building management and energy management system have analytics and diagnostics capabilities can save time for facility staff, but they need to be properly programmed.

In the past, facility managers often had operating staff who could tell or sense when a building system was faltering and knew instinctively what needed to be done to fix it. However, these seasoned facility engineers are now retiring.

"People entering facilities management don’t have that real-world experience," says Jim Sinopoli, managing principal, Smart Buildings. "And there's more technology in today's buildings. BAS/EMS today needs more analytics software tools to support the new generation of facility engineers."

Those tools are often designed to make it easy to learn to use them. "The prevalence of easy-to-use Web-based interfaces, email alarm notifications, pre-made report forms and basic fault diagnostics can enable the typical overworked building manager to do more with less," says Robert G. Knight, senior associate with Environmental Systems Design. "That building manager no longer needs weeks of specialized off-site software training, or a degree in mechanical engineering, to keep a building running comfortably and efficiently."

Nevertheless, new building management and energy management systems are built on advanced software. To use that software optimally can be a challenge for traditional building operators. In response, Knight is encountering more customers who are adding in-house systems integration capabilities. That capability may come from the corporate IT department, from a systems integrator on the facility management team, or from the energy manager.

"The honest truth about all this powerful software," says Knight, "is that it still can’t do the thinking for us. Somebody needs to write and tweak the fault diagnostic algorithms, model new energy management scenarios in the analytics software, refresh the content on the LEED kiosk, modify the management dashboard when the CIO wants a new metric."

This has been a Building Operating Management Tip of the Day. Thanks for listening.

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