For the last five years, facilities staff at Purdue University have been using data management software that aggregates and then trends information from the two BAS on campus.
“It’s really a combination of stuff we’re doing,” says Glen Shockey, facilities system controls engineer at Purdue.
First, Shockey says, the university collects data from about 200 buildings on campus that are connected to one of the two BAS; the trending from that data is less than 24 hours old, if not quite real time. Secondly, the school generates its own steam, chilled water, and electricity, which is metered and monitored in real-time. “About 90 percent of buildings on campus have primary meters for what we generate, plus domestic water use,” he says.
According to Shockey, SCADA panels are monitored through the data management software. When facilities staff see something that’s out of place, they turn over data to console operators to check out the buildings.
The things that trigger these checks are fairly routine, says Shockey. “It’s that a pump has failed, or parameters were changed and then not set back to normal.”
Shockey notes that there were two significant challenges when initially setting up the system. He says that at Purdue it was challenging to push data from the two BAS in a useful way, caused in part by a hiccup between SQL clients and non-SQL drivers.
“To borrow a baseball metaphor, all of them were catchers and none of them were pitchers,” he says. As a result, even though the BAS contain real-time data, getting that data to third-party analytics proved difficult. So the systems are set up to “push” data four times every 24 hours, allowing facilities staff to see very recent data.
Shockey also says that learning how to format nomenclature for each of the BAS in a form that the data management software would accept was tedious. “We needed multiple data containers, plus the need to look up by short ID and long ID, so there were all new naming conventions,” he says. “That took some time.”
Even so, Shockey says, the university’s system allows them to accomplish quite a bit. “We found one building that was scheduled for air handlers in the middle of the night [which Purdue generally doesn’t do], and that it was using chilled water in quite a bit of volume.” Once in the system, he says, facilities staff discovered that someone had changed the night time setbacks nearly ten degrees, causing the excess energy use.
Smart Buildings Success Includes Dashboards, Data Analytics, Monitoring
Data Management Software Aggregates, Trends BAS Information
Low-Tech Solutions Still Offer Data Analytics Successes
Big Data Success Still Requires Human Expertise