June 2006
Interview
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                          EMAIL INTERVIEW - Kirk McElwain & Ken Sinclair 

       Kirk McElwain is representing the BiQ Consortium

The BiQ Consortium is made up of three individuals with diverse backgrounds who are bringing their unique skills together to develop the BiQ for the Continental Automated Buildings Association.  The three include Frank Spitzer of IBI Group, Jiri Skopek of ECD Energy and Environmental Canada Ltd., and David Katz of Sustainable Environmental Solutions.  David, through his activity in the energy and green building network and CABA, marshaled the resources for the team  Jiri’s company had developed BREEAM Canada, an environmental performance assessment method for existing office buildings published by Canadian Standards Association Through this ground breaking work Jiri established the Green Globes Program that is being used as a platform for a number of on-line assessment applications (see www.greenglobes.com).  Frank was the project leader for the development of the Technology Roadmap for Intelligent Buildings. He utilized his extensive educational and building automation industry experience to lead the development of the online content for the BiQ and his firm provided the resources and access to the latest research information on Intelligent Buildings so the BIQ can reflect the most current industry directions.  Kirk recently joined the team for market development.


What is the BiQ?

BiQ stands for Building Intelligence Quotient.

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Sinclair:  Kirk, you had a booth at BuilConn in Palm Springs to introduce the BiQ.  What can you tell me about it?

McElwain:  BiQ stands for Building Intelligence Quotient. It is an interactive Internet web tool to assist building owners/managers, the commercial real estate industry and other industry stakeholders assess the level of integrated systems within a particular building and it provides a gap analysis of what technologies should be implemented and integrated to reach best practices.

Sinclair:  Why is the tool being introduced at this time?

McElwain:  Ken, as you know, the tool has been in development for some time.  It was conceived by CABA’s Intelligent and Integrated Buildings Council (IIBC) over two years ago.  You will recall the one day workshop that you led at BuilConn 2004 when we gathered a number of industry experts in many areas of intelligent building technologies and developed an extensive list of technologies grouped into three main categories; Communications Systems, Automation and Security Systems and Building and Facility Management Applications.  This list has been refined over time with input from many IIBC members and an RFP was distributed in early 2005.  Despite a lack of industry funding, the BiQ Consortium believed strongly enough in this project that they agreed to invest their time and resources to develop the tool.  At this time, the questionnaire for the online tool has been developed along with the feedback responses.  This is being reviewed by the BiQ Steering Committee and the first version of the tool will be available for demonstration at Realcomm in June.   The Consortium are now close enough to having a production version available that they feel confident offering a pre-release discount to interested buyers. 

Sinclair:  Who do you see as the target market?

McElwain:  We expect that many industry stakeholders will be interested in this tool.  Most intelligent building technology professionals have believed for some time that, not only the life-cycle costs of an intelligent building are less but, in many cases, the first costs can be less as well.  The Life Cycle Costs tool, also being developed for CABA, can finally prove this. With the BiQ tool, building owners and developers can ensure all relevant issues are being considered and the correct choice of subsystems and their integration are included in their building/renovation plans.  The fact that building intelligence can result in higher building value, improved comfort, security, flexibility and reliability will also attract facility managers and the real estate market. And, we expect that companies that provide intelligent building systems and services will see the BiQ as a perfect marketing tool to provide to their customers.

Reliable Controls Sinclair:  If I understand it correctly, this is a self-assessment tool.  Is that true and, if so, what mechanism will be in place to ensure that the responses are valid.

McElwain: You are right Ken. It is a self assessment and it has been designed to be very easy to use with clarification available for most of the questions at the “click of a mouse”. This may be all some people want; it will give them the guidance they need to meet best practices for their building. But, like other existing programs such as LEED, the tool will be providing a building rating that is still being refined. The BiQ Consortium, along with the BiQ Steering Committee will be developing a validation process that will be available to interested industry professionals that are interested in validating BiQ results. We will be providing a BiQ “plaque” (still to be finalized) to building owners, with their validated score. This will have to be renewed at some interval to ensure systems are being maintained and new technologies are being assimilated.

Sinclair:  What will all this cost?

McElwain: Individual building assessments will be $500.00 for CABA members and $700.00 for non-members. Package pricing is available for multiple buildings as is a site license. As I mentioned earlier, we are offering pre-availability discounted pricing for any company wishing to purchase individual or multiple building licenses. Anyone interested in more details can call me at (519) 846-1916. The web site (www.building-iq.com) is under development but it will soon have all pertinent information.

Sinclair:  This sounds like a great tool. It will finally provide an industry standard definition of “intelligent building”.  Keep in touch and let us know when the production version is available.

McElwain:  Thank you! I certainly will.

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