Implementation of Smart Building Technology Using Real Time Monitoring

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Purpose of the project

Smart building technology using real time monitoring (RTM) provides usage data instantaneously, and we sought to use it in conjunction with and to enhance our current invoice database system that only provides such data on a monthly basis. Our objective for this project was to implement smart building technology through a pilot program at select medical office buildings that would produce utility usage data in real time, so that usage anomalies could be detected and resolved quickly.

 

Approach

We first researched and selected a RTM vendor that could provide (i) cellular transmission of data; (ii) weather normalization features for accurate historical comparisons; and (iii) a system robust enough to handle up to 400 buildings. Next, we performed a building analysis based upon the kBtuh intensity per square foot to determine those buildings with the highest energy usage.   We further analyzed the data to discover if a valid reason existed for the higher energy intensities, such as buildings with ambulatory service centers or 24-hour operating hours. We then selected five (5) medical office buildings (MOBs) in Arizona (3), Tennessee (1), and Texas (1) with high usage per square foot and began the installation of electric, gas and water meters that would record and report usage data every 15 minutes.

 

Results

The RTM systems enabled us to identify the peak usages during the day, and also provided building equipment start up and shut down timing information, which was helpful in confirming whether an evening and/or weekend set-back schedule was necessary. Using the RTM information produced at the Texas and Arizona MOBs, the following actions resulted in an estimated annualized savings of $60,000: (i) adjustments to building equipment start up and shut down times; and (ii) equipment reprogramming to set schedules and zone control. We used the RTM information produced at the Tennessee MOB to reprogram the chiller with an evening set-back schedule, and such action resulted in an estimated annualized savings of $19,000 for the building. The total project cost for the implementation of RTM systems at all five MOBs was $192,062. We expect the average annualized payback to be 2.4 years with an associated return on investment of 41%. Additional annual savings can be realized when the RTM systems are included in the daily maintenance and monitoring activities of the facility, and continuous adjustment and improvement of the efficient usage of energy resources will decrease the annualized payback time. Project implementation commenced in October of 2014 and was completed in January of 2015.
“Smart building technology not only boosts operational efficiency, but typically provides for a rapid ROI. Our real time monitoring systems have produced notable energy and cost savings.”

-Tom Klaritch, Executive Vice President – Medical Office Properties, and Sustainability Committee Chair, HCP, Inc.