Mar 13, 2023 | Trends, Technology

Break Down Data Silos in Your Building to Strengthen Performance

As building owners and operators, you need real-time visibility into how your operations, especially mechanical and electrical systems, are performing.

Whether it’s monitoring peak building usage and controlling systems to ensure maximum comfort and efficiency or its decreasing response time when critical alarms are sounding, you need to have maximum control over your building performance.

Unfortunately, operational visibility is often cloudy. It’s primarily due to independent building management systems and siloed data aggregation, analysis and actioning.

What is a Data Silo?

Imagine a financial services company or a real estate investment trust with 10 commercial buildings across three cities.

Each building has its own independent building management systems as well as technologies and processes for aggregating data from lighting, HVAC, electrical and other systems. At worst, you’re logging into 10 different systems and have an even greater number of touchpoints for collecting operational data.

When data is siloed in this way, it’s time consuming to aggregate and nearly impossible to contextualize into analytics that can actually make buildings run more efficiently. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, building performance data can make between $9.5-$15.4 trillion in additional economic value annually if embedded and leveraged at scale across all sectors. That’s a lot of potential impact for our smart buildings.

While the financial upside is potentially huge, knowing you’re ready and understanding key considerations is a different story. Here’s how to get started.

Diagnosing your Data Silos.

Similar to organizational silos (aka, employees working in different departments with their own agendas), you know you have data silos when:

  • Multiple systems are performing the same tasks – is your building automation system in each of your 10 buildings pulling the same information?

  • You’re unable to get a clear, holistic view of what’s happening in your buildings – are you looking at separate dashboards like your BAS, HVAC, lighting, security, EPMS and PLC?
  • Detecting faults in your building systems and performance is difficult – are small alarms becoming major issues resulting in downtime or lost productivity?
  • It’s a major undertaking to collect, synthesize, analyze or report building performance data for your company’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report – is it taking a lot of time and are you concerned about accuracy?
  • Energy and maintenance costs are increasing despite best efforts to reduce environmental impacts and related costs – are you seeing a monthly uptick in your utility or service bills?

Are You Ready to Break Down Data Silos?

While the idea of breaking down data silos is incredibly appealing, it’s important that we know what’s in store and that we are ready to make the commitment. Here are three sets of questions to ask to gauge your readiness.

  • Do you have major building system deficiencies? If you do have issues with your existing systems like outdated software or broken equipment, make sure you have a specific plan to fix them. The last thing you need when integrating your systems is a bunch of alarms telling you what you already know or alarms that you can’t resolve.
  • Does the organization have the same level of urgency as you do? Organizational silos are real. It’s critical that IT, finance, infrastructure, real estate and other internal stakeholders understand the urgency to address the issues, the financials behind it, and the impact on both people and the business.
  • Can you successfully execute? This is perhaps the most critical consideration because having the staff to project manage, execute, troubleshoot, and manage and action the data is fundamental. Developing a realistic action plan that includes not only the execution but the long-term commissioning and actioning of data is critical. A return on investment is only possible with a solid plan.

Working with the Right Partner.

The good news is that working with an independent building controls and energy services provider like Albireo Energy can help. When selecting a partner, look for a provider who can:

  • Provide an objective perspective on the technology that’s right for your building – in line with your business mission and building’s purpose.
  • Integrate complex building automation systems and action your data for peak building performance and ESG target achievement.  
  • Help you maintain building performance, offering continuous commissioning and alarm management during dynamic hours of operations.

Let’s work together to break down these data silos and unlock the full potential of your buildings.

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