The new Pulse tool provides a window into the operations of real office towers and the team will be available online on Friday March 16 (Thursday March 15 for Americas) to answer questions and hear your views. See below for details.
Our discussions here focus on: changes that cost little; providing regular feedback to buildings operators; and trial and error. The premise is 'find out if something works', and if it does - keep doing it! We like to think of it as evolution in fast forward for building operators. Last year, we were joined by guest bloggers from UNSW and Monash University to talk about their experiences in their own facilities.
This new page is a first attempt to share with the outside world information that is being used in large CBD office buildings on a daily basis. It takes health checks and highlights if changes to a building are having positive or negative effects. If you haven’t had a chance to look in detail, there are over a dozen interactive graphs to explore, and all update daily.
This is your chance to ask us questions or get clarification about what you can see in the tool. We’re happy to talk about the graphs displaying right now or the site in general.
We'd like to hear about trials or research you are doing. Can you post a summary of your data sharing project here, for feedback from peers? Have you used Green Buildings Alive information in study or work? If you are considering ways to visualise your data that could be an addition to the Green Buildings Alive ‘tools’ page - sound us out.
To start off, here’s some questions we have for readers: Are there groups who you think would appreciate this tool? Would you be interested in a webinar on Pulse, or on working with large data sets in buildings more generally? If you work with tenants, can you see applications for this approach?
The team will be online to answer questions Friday 16 March 11.00 am - 12.00 am Australian Eastern Summer Time (UTC +11 hours).
Post your comments/ questions any time until then and attend from your desk on the day.
Sorry European readers, we realise this is after midnight for you. Please feel free to post and check back the next day! (or join us nonetheless...)
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Pulse allows both the building engineer/manager and the C-Level to understand how a building or portfolio of buildings uses energy. The building engineer needs to be able to add new data or data sets (at the building level) to further enhance the value of the output. This will drive my next point- engagement. What will drive building management to execute on these recommendations? Adding-in cost analysis or pricing signals will also drive engagement and implementation of ECMs. i.e. if you would have utilized a free-chilling strategy, peak-demand could have been reduced therefore lowering the ratchet used to calculate demand charges. Cities like New York that have disclosure laws and require building owners to benchmark energy consumption, Pulse is the perfect next step. Energy Star Portfolio Manager is a static tool that doesn't provide actionable intelligence. Pulse-like features would add tremendous value. One of the bigger issues we have in the US is that interval-data is not yet widely available. Selling a building owner on sub-metering for the sake of data collection is still difficult. Tools like Pulse need to drive market demand for data and analytics while maximizing engagement. Tenants need to demand this type of disclosure and social responsibility from landlords. Brokers are on the front-line and are key to this shift. Congratulations again for helping to drive transparency and simplicity in a very fragmented and "keep it proprietary" industry.
What you’re seeing on Green Buildings Alive is only a fraction of Pulse’s full functionality, where each building operator receives building specific and neighbourhood customised message. We’re finding that the engagement across our 50 or so building operators is very high, because Pulse helps them efficiently identify opportunities for energy savings and in effect improves their ability to do a good job. It’s a process of ‘trial and error’ for building operators, use Pulse to help identify areas of opportunity, collaborate with other building managers, chiller, Building Management System and mechanical technicians and then use Pulse to identify the very next day whether the measure they implemented was successful; if it was, they do it again. And it’s not just about saving energy; in a period where capital is sparse, building operators are implementing low or zero capital strategies which reduce the building’s outgoings.
Thanks Geoffrey, You’ve raised a range of interesting ideas and comments here. Mandatory disclosure of energy performance for office buildings has also been in place Australia since late 2010 and more buildings are attaining energy performance ratings as a result. It will be interesting to see how legislative market transformation approaches like mandatory disclosure will lead to building owners and managers requiring more from their energy retailers/distributors in relation to having access to timely and actionable data. Let’s hope so!
I think the mandatory disclosure of energy performance and perhaps the carbon tax will encourage building managers to rethink energy efficiency. In the green building world, the occupant is king. Helping to maintain their satisfaction will play a pivotal role in the future performance of green buildings.
How have you introduced this information to occupants? What has been the response?
I'm actually a PhD student Shauna and I don't actually use the Pulse tool but this topic is very relevant to my research exploring how environmental attitudes and expectations influence their satisfaction and thermal comfort perceptions of green buildings. This was done using thermal comfort and post occupancy evaluations and didn't involve using energy management software. In my opinion, I believe this software can help bridge the gap between the occupant and building manager.
Hey Shauna, we need to move into 'occupant satisfaction', and engagement, but small steps first... So far we know from looking at complaint data and anecdotally that ocupants are happy. I'm worried if we create the situation where occupants are evaluating the building each day the manager might be fearful of making mistakes and not ambitiously 'tinker'. What do you think?
In contrast Craig (though it may be because the buildings I have studied used natural and mixed-mode ventilation) but I found that many occupants were unhappy. Many often used the questionnaires as a conduit to complain. This is perhaps related to the relationship between occupant and manager.
I should also add, Pulse has a capacity to produce high-level info for C-level managers higher up the chain, and tenants / occupants. We've not done that though. And I'd be reluctant to. We find most building managers are intrinsically motivated to do a good job. They don't necessarily need pressure from bosses or clients - they need good, useful information.
Is there any research on how Australian disclosure laws have increased efficiency in buildings, awareness, job creation, etc? This would be powerful information. Thanks!
The mandatory disclosure legislation came into effect in November 2010 with the requirement that buildings disclose a NABERS rating at the point of sale or lease if the transaction exceeded 2,000m2. In November 2011 the scheme was extended to include the requirement for an assessment of the lighting technologies contained within the space. Given it's still early days, it's probably too soon to tell what effect it's having. For stats, I'd recommend you contact the NABERS scheme administrator because they should have some visibility of trends, including for individual buildings over multiple periods. www.nabers.com.au.