December 2020
Interview

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WATTICS+ARC
 
New tech partnership accelerates adoption of green buildings globally

 Antonio Ruzzelli is the CEO and founder of Wattics

EMAIL INTERVIEWAntonio Ruzzelli & Ken Sinclair



                 


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In the following interview with Antonio Ruzzelli, CEO and Co-founder of Wattics, I explore the potential impact of how the COVID-19 pandemic and changing work patterns, has caused a shift in the way that energy efficiency in commercial buildings is viewed. We also take a look at the role of data and analytics in advancing resource efficiency and sustainability in buildings and finally, the new partnership between Wattics and Arc Skoru, and how through the integration of their technologies, energy managers, energy service providers and green building professionals have the ability to scale building performance analysis and certification for multi-site businesses and large real-estate portfolios in the commercial & industrial sectors.

Sinclair - Has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way building owners and managers view energy efficiency, considering the shift in the way that people work nowadays?

Ruzzelli - The importance of energy efficiency hasn’t been disputed in light of the pandemic. On the contrary, it has necessitated building owners, managers and operators, especially in the commercial real estate market, take stock of their current operations and antiquated facilities that have the potential to drive utility bills and maintenance costs significantly. The benefits of higher efficiency— and the resulting lower operating costs—have become paramount to the longevity of spaces that are struggling in a reduced economy.


In response to the pandemic, countries around the world have reinforced their support for the progress and acceleration of the energy transition, with a large focus on how the buildings and spaces in which we live, work and are at leisure, perform, not only in terms of energy efficiency but paying careful attention to the health and well-being of its occupants.


As the demand for green, high performing buildings continues to grow and the number of IoT devices deployed increases, the greater the need for building intelligence technologies that enable building owners and managers to effectively manage and analyse the data gathered, and decide which actions should be taken to increase resource efficiency and optimisation in their buildings.


Sinclair - I’ve got multiple buildings - the data from which I would like to monitor and analyse for energy-saving opportunities. Where do I start?


Ruzzelli - Assuming that you have your savings targets set, the first step toward achieving your goals is to conduct a site survey to specify the scope of work for the project proposal. It is typical of electrical installations in commercial and industrial sites to have a long history of expansions linked to changing needs and requirements, the majority of which in many cases is not documented. Through the site survey, you are going to gather as much information as possible, for example, establishing whether there is an existing metering system in place; if there are any archived data sets that need to be considered in the analyses; if you would like to monitor specific equipment; how energy is used throughout the building/sites; If there is any pre-existing knowledge or documentation of the main energy offending machines or areas, and so forth.


Once the site survey is complete, you should be in a position to begin gathering the necessary data from your buildings’ and facilities’ meters, sensors, your utility provider or data service provider, 3rd party systems etc and begin analysing your data. Traditionally, data analyses performed by energy managers involve complex energy modelling techniques and the application of mathematical formulas, often done in spreadsheets, to calculate energy baselines, identify trends as well as determine the impact of external variable data such as degree days and how these influence energy consumption, demand and ultimately, savings.


Cloud-based software platforms offer energy analysts much more in regard to automation, user experience, security, intelligence and accessibility, bringing their energy analysis into the 21st century. One of the primary benefits of cloud-based energy analytics software, apart from the built-in intelligence and myriad of analysis capabilities, is efficient, scalable data management. When managing energy projects for multiple buildings/sites, it is critical to be able to access and visualise your building data in a user-friendly format and scale your buildings’ performance analysis across tens, hundreds, even thousands of sites - a nearly impossible task when working in multiple spreadsheets. 


Sinclair - You’ve recently partnered with US company, Arc Skoru, whose technology generates a score based on how buildings perform across 5 areas of sustainability incl. Energy, Water, Waste, Transportation, and Human Experience. What was the motivation behind the partnership?


Ruzzelli - Green building certification programmes have long provided a benchmark and framework for building owners and managers, as well as, sustainability consultants, green building professionals, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifiers that work with C&I businesses and real estate owners to guide their efficiency projects, ensuring they meet recognised standards. Arc, building performance scoring platform, and an affiliate of the U.S. Green Building Council helps green building professionals determine whether the buildings they manage are in fact ready for certification. Building data related to energy, water, transportation, waste and Human Experience used by Arc for certification, most popularly, LEED. Wattics and Arc identified the opportunity to integrate its respective data-driven platforms to help building energy managers, green building professionals, sustainability consultants and energy service providers dig deeper into their projects’ performance, and while also streamlining the management of data for certification - to quickly achieve scale in analysis and green building certification for large building portfolios. 


Sinclair - Why do you think that such technology platforms are important for owners and managers of buildings, and large real-estate portfolios, now?


Ruzzelli - The amount of data from devices monitoring not only energy, but gas, water, environmental data, air quality, occupancy and other resources and other pertinent building information, will only continue to multiply, and at a rapid rate. Whether engaging in energy-saving projects for your company, or on behalf your clients as an energy services provider, consultancy or accredited green building professional providing certification, it is key to have the tools at your disposal, to be able to bring together information from disparate sources into a unified view, in an efficient manner, in order to begin analysing that data to identify areas of waste and resource inefficiency, abnormalities, and opportunities for savings. This data and deep analysis are critical to inform retrofit/upgrade & retro-commissioning projects and compare current building performance against a set of criteria/requirements for certification. Again, the advances in cloud-based analytics technology have given building energy professionals the ability to dig deeper in understanding the true saving potential of their facilities. Furthermore, tracking the performance of buildings through a platform like Arc, not only provides a path to certification, it is an effective means to monitor and benchmark sustainability across spaces of all shapes and sizes, and larger portfolios of buildings, as building owners and facilities managers are seeking to prove their commitment to occupant health and safety, while also seeking to lower their operating costs - especially in a time when indoor spaces have become one of the highest risk places to be during the COVID-19 pandemic.



Sinclair - Do you have an example of where the two technology platforms have come together for a real project implementation?


Ruzzelli - Yes, Wattics partner and a multi-national sustainability-focused engineering consultancy, BEE Incorporations, engaged in a project in which it helped its client, a global luxury fashion retailer, become the very first to achieve Gold under LEEDv4.1 O+M green building certification for its stores with Wattics & Arc. Through the scope of the project, BEE Incorporations was able to implement ongoing energy monitoring and performance management for their clients’ fashion retail stores in APAC and commercial offices in Asia and North America, as well as meet LEEDv4.1 O+M prerequisites and credit requirements for Gold certification. The full story can be accessed here: https://bit.ly/2Hu1YbO




anto


Antonio Ruzzelli is the CEO and founder of Wattics cloud-based Energy Management and Analytics platform used by thousands of energy professionals around the world to increase energy efficiency, sustainability and reduce carbon emissions in the commercial and industrial sectors. Antonio is passionate about climate change mitigation and how energy and business analytics can improve how businesses can reduce their environmental footprint and become more resource-efficient.Throughout his career, at University College Dublin and Phillips engineering, Antonio has focused on innovative solutions and software as a service technologies to empower people making better decisions for the built environment. In 2020, he guided Wattics to receive the Frost & Sullivan “Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award for the Energy Management sector”, previously he received the “Ireland Innovator” award for major advances on energy intelligence and led Wattics to become the “Overall Best Emerging Company in Ireland” to then successfully negotiated a private investment into the business. Antonio received a 5-year laurea degree in Electronic Engineering at the University of Ferrara (Italy) and Ph. D. in Computer Science at the University College Dublin (Ireland).





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