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Managing A Building's "Big Data"

by Ken Sinclair

From this article: Managing a Building’s “Big Data."

The best industry example of creating name conventions and models is Project Haystack for data points of building automation systems. - Jim Sinopoli PE, RCDD, LEED AP, Managing Principal, Smart Buildings LLC

Naming Conventions

There are roughly 6,500 to 7,000 languages spoken in the world today; for data management, you only want one "language" of standard naming conventions, formats, indexing and data descriptors. It makes it easier to access and understand the data. Creating a naming convention for equipment should have different fields and a common number of characters. The key to naming is that once a naming convention is in place, that it be enforced for building employees and third party contractors.

The best industry example of creating name conventions and models is Project Haystack for data points of building automation systems. With the leadership of the Sky Foundry principals and the development of an industry community, they have created a valuable piece of a building’s “Big Data”, which eventually will become a standard. The open source Project Haystack effort has streamlined the interchange of data and the techniques for managing, presenting and analyzing the vast amount of data generated by today’s buildings.

We don't organize data just for the sake of organizing but are doing so in order to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of operating buildings. A structured approach can provide additional opportunities for greater correlation between data, improved data analytics and the possibility of developing or identifying new building data metrics.

Data is an asset. During design and construction of a building, data will be generated; it is in the operations of the building that data not only will be generated but also consumed. Given that building operations and maintenance is the most expensive part of total life cycle costs and the longest time duration within the building's life cycle, we need data management during every building phase: design, construction and operations.

A key element is to elevate the importance of data management and provide a person or group of people with the responsibility and authority to manage all the facility data. It’s likely such a group would have IT, facility management and business representatives.  During design and construction, we typically have two to three people tasked with managing various building data. One is the LEED consultant tasked with gathering energy and sustainability information for the building certification; another is the BIM consultant organizing BIM models and data; the third is the architect who uses project management software to communicate and share data with the project team. But after commissioning or occupancy of the new building, the roles of the BIM and LEED consultants, and the architect, expire; thus the need for an ongoing internal group with the responsibility for data management.

The facility data group would have a much larger responsibility in implementing the data management system for the building and the acquisition and management of the data from the initial building design through construction and facility management. The group would design, deploy, maintain, monitor and even enforce a comprehensive program for data management.

Ken Sinclair is the founder, owner, and publisher of an online resource called AutomatedBuildings.com. He writes a monthly column for FacilitiesNet.com about what is new in the Internet of Things (IOT) for building automation.

Part 1: Becoming An Autodidactic Asset

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posted on 6/8/2015