Metrics, Data Goals Should Guide Selection of Facility Management Software-based Tools

  August 24, 2012

Today's tip from Building Operating Management comes from Angela Lewis of Facility Engineering Associates: Knowing what data to collect and what metrics to use is key to selecting the right software-based tool to help take advantage of facility data from the building management system and other sources.

The past few years have seen the introduction of powerful software based tools for benchmarking, energy dashboards and energy analytics. Although the tool selected is important, the processes that drive the use of the tool are perhaps even more important. A large part of this process is determining what data to collect and what metrics will most effectively support decision-making. Start by determining about five metrics and collecting the data needed to quantify those metrics. If the facility team seeks to collect too much data or identify too many metrics too early, there is a risk of being overwhelmed with the amount of data.

The goal is to transition to using the metrics as part of day-to-day decision making. For example, a college campus laboratory building was used as a pilot to test an energy dashboard with five metrics: whole building energy consumption (BTU/SF/year); energy consumption per source, electricity (kWh/SF) and natural gas (BTU/SF); overall building cooling (kW/ton), limited to chillers only; overall ventilation (CFM); and peak electrical demand (kW). After the dashboard was successfully implemented in one building, it was deployed to several other buildings on the campus.

To determine what metrics to select, identify the most frequent or largest decisions that are made. When considering energy consumption, metrics that compare total building energy consumption at the whole building level can be very helpful for a campus with multiple buildings to determine which buildings are the most energy intensive. However, to determine how to reduce the energy consumption, more detailed information is needed, such as energy consumption of lighting and cooling per square foot. Metrics that quantify energy costs are also important. Regardless of the metrics selected, it is important that meters with the appropriate level of accuracy are installed and that meters are properly calibrated.

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


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