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EMAIL INTERVIEW – Mike Ashworth and Ken Sinclair
Mike Ashworth, Regional Service Manager, Schneider Electric
As a Regional Service
Manager for Buildings Field Services at Schneider Electric, Mike
manages branch Service operations and business development activities
for Schneider Electric for the West & South regions. Mike is
responsible for developing, implementing, and monitoring all aspects of
Service functions within the Schneider Electric Branch structure as
well as implementing, developing Connected Services offerings to the
Partner’s in these regions. Mike brings twenty-one years of experience
in Service & Service Management. He joined Schneider Electric in
2012 as the Service Manager of the Las Vegas branch. Shortly after Mike
was promoted to the Regional Service Manager of the Western region, he
was responsible for managing sales and operations of $6 million in BAS
and Security. Prior to Schneider Electric, Mike was employed in various
Service Management roles with multiple Las Vegas based companies. These
include Data Processing Air Corp, South West Air, RLT Corporation and
the United States Air Force.
Sinclair: What are the biggest data challenges that today’s facility professionals’ face?
Today’s building management systems (BMS) gather an enormous amount of
building data – too much for a facility manager to comb through on
their own. But that data holds valuable information that can be used to
significantly improve the energy and operational efficiency of a
facility. The key is knowing how to glean insights from building data
to identify facility issues and then develop an actionable plan of
attack to address them. The BMS covers the first part of that strategy,
but a more comprehensive, analytics-based solution is needed to turn
big data into actionable intelligence.
Sinclair: Can you provide an overview of how building analytics solutions work?
analytics systems send information from the BMS directly to cloud-based
data storage, where powerful analytics tools are used to evaluate
building performance, identify any equipment and system faults and
pinpoint specific improvement opportunities and recommended actions to
reduce energy use and save costs. Customized reports and
easy-to-understand graphics present areas of improvement that are
prioritized and ranked based on projected payback and required up-front
costs to achieve the most impactful remedies and energy savings for the
institution. Facility managers can then select which projects they wish
to take on based on existing budgets and priorities so they can use
precious dollars wisely on opportunities that would most benefit the
facility as well as occupant and tenant comfort.
Sinclair: What are some of the benefits that facility managers or building owners will experience by implementing building analytics?
analytics is about building confidence. It allows facility managers to
dramatically elevate how they measure, understand and manage their
facilities. Building analytics provide facility managers with the
ability to optimize operations by making fact-based improvements that
are proven to lower energy costs, extend equipment life and increase
occupant comfort — making a positive and measurable impact on the
bottom line. Automated fault detection and diagnostics for forecasting
energy and cost savings are key elements of a building analytics
approach. Instead of having to rely primarily on monthly checkups to
track performance, comfort levels and energy and maintenance data,
building analytics automatically analyzes the spaces’ data every five
minutes. This information enables proactive building maintenance while
ensuring persistent energy efficiency, which could result in
significant ongoing energy and cost savings. In many instances,
building analytics services pay for themselves in a short period of
Sinclair: What are some of the ways that building analytics can be used to reduce energy costs within facilities?
analytics solutions can be used to reduce energy costs within a
facility in multiple ways. One example is by measuring building
occupancy. Energy is often wasted when temperature set points do not
take building occupancy into consideration when determining heating and
cooling needs. It may seem obvious to give the HVAC a rest in a
business setting after 6 p.m., but this can become challenging in a
larger business facility with multiple buildings or floors. Building
analytics allow facility managers to acknowledge instances of waste so
that temperatures can be adjusted accordingly to ultimately save energy
consumption and costs. Are the larger conference rooms only used for
the bi-annual meeting? Then there is no need to waste money on heating
and cooling the rest of the year.
Sinclair: What kind of facilities would most benefit from implementing a building analytics solution?
facilities would benefit from implementing a building analytics
solution. However, larger facilities would benefit greatly from the
energy and cost savings aspects associated with adding a building
analytics solution to their facilities management strategy. Hospitals,
college campuses, corporation headquarters, shopping malls and more
have under-utilized square feet that they are likely losing money
heating and cooling. Also, the larger and more complex the facility,
the harder it is to stay on top of all maintenance and repair needs. A
building analytics solution would be able to identify and prioritize
maintenance projects, delivering further positive impact.
Sinclair: Can you share an example of an organization that has successfully implemented building analytics?
Ashworth: One of my
favorite examples of building analytics in action is the Shedd Aquarium
in Chicago, Illinois which houses 32,500 creatures in 1.5 million
gallons of water. A facility this size (a whopping 480,817 square feet)
requires a lot of energy. We partnered with Shedd Aquarium to install a
complete building analytics solution as part of an effort to cut down
on the aquarium’s energy consumption.
The project began by installing a monitoring-based commissioning system throughout the aquarium including 4,500 monitoring points. These monitoring points correspond to HVAC zones, air handling equipment and extensive heating/cooling systems, including dozens of pumps, fans, heat exchangers and hot/cold water systems. Information from the data points is collected and pushed to the cloud-hosted building analytics solution every five minutes for systems modeling. From there, building analytics pinpoints the root cause of any problems and identifies opportunities for cost avoidance and energy savings. The solution delivers the right information to the right person at the right time, enabling more informed decision-making. The return on investment was immediate, with building analytics creating $8,363 in energy cost avoidance in just the first two months of implementation. Going forward, Shedd Aquarium will continue to monitor and recommission equipment based on prioritized actions associated with measurable ROI.
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