Energy Manager

COLUMN – The Dawn of Database

March 5, 2013 - The subjects of this column; Platforms, Frameworks, and Databases focus on the fact that our industries’ connection communities have all converged at a similar place and point in the cloud. We all work with real time data or very fluid data and need to stabilize this slippery substance. The conclusion is we must store this data somewhere with a time freeze so we can analyze and visualize from anywhere by any device. The data model is similar for all real-time data industries and is what convergence is all about. We need to raise our gazes from our navels and look up and around at all the evolving data models and their interactions with everything. We need to learn to interact and decide how we can best bring value to our data. Data as a Service (DAAS) is a new concept for most of us and we need to better understand these new tools. is committed to learning and teaching by connection to those leading us on this journey.

March 5, 2013  By  Ken Sinclair

This article speaks well to the new dawn of databases and how we can best leverage DAAS:
New Management Platform – Dan Probst, Jones Lang LaSalle

The first facility management solution to offer 24/7, cloud-based remote monitoring and control of facilities, this solution optimizes energy efficiency by continual commissioning. Millions of data points from individual pieces of equipment across the portfolio are analyzed in real-time using complex algorithms and, when the system identifies an anomaly, it can often diagnose the cause and make adjustments to correct the problem.

When the automated system can’t make repairs on its own, it alerts professionals at a central command center in Somerset, New Jersey, which is staffed around the clock. Command center personnel dispatch an engineer or facility manager associated with the property for immediate action or a more convenient time, depending on the urgency of the issue. Through integration with the work order management system, the day-to-day interaction between onsite engineers and centralized portfolio managers is streamlined by enabling communication through a familiar, easy-to-use platform.

The synthesis of technology and human expertise ensures that all systems operate at peak efficiency individually and in combination with one another, fully leveraging the integration of information from all inputs.


This article echoes the value of storing our building information in databases in the cloud:
The Technology Challenge for Intelligent Buildings – Bill Hoey, Quality Attributes Software

Business Intelligence, Platforms, Frameworks, Big Data, and let us not forget about the Cloud. What does all of this mean for building intelligence and to those responsible for the results? We have all heard of the convergence of buildings and technology which basically means that technology has caught up with the buildings. But has it?

The diversity of the technologies deployed in buildings worldwide varies significantly. For example, the average age of a commercial building in the U.S. as of mid-2011 was approximately 50 years old, while those in Asia are typically under 15 years old. For the purposes of this article let us assume that the newer buildings will employ more advanced systems and meters and the older buildings may not. The challenge to a decision maker when selecting the right technology is how to leverage the current investments in systems and meters, while being able to adapt to changing business needs and corporate goals and objectives.

With energy efficiency retrofits set to double by 2020 in commercial buildings, all of us realize the challenge that is before us.  We also realize that in order to maintain the momentum it will be imperative to engage all of the stakeholders in the building. If you have not seen it, one of the best explanations of this is in a video issued by the GSA on smart buildings:

The information exchange required will need tools that are built from the ground up and designed from the very beginning to work with the user and with each other. They will employ cloud-based storage strategies, and ‘Smart Data Analysis’, using both automated analytics and manual web-hosted visualization methods. The setup and maintenance for these systems must be simple to understand and fit easily into the energy and sustainability goals of the organization.

This article shows how a cloud database can allow us to reduce our global footprint with interaction with community and smart grid:
Reducing Energy and Environmental Footprint – Philip Playfair, CEO, and Andrew Roehr, CTO, Lowfoot, Inc.

With the economy recovering, building of commercial space, in terms of mid- and large-scale office towers to malls and multi-unit housing developments, is expected to accelerate significantly. Going along with development is higher energy consumption. Growth in building sector energy consumption is expected to increase as much as 31% by 2035. In many instances, buildings will meter space differently, and move away from tower consumption billing toward individual unit billing.

As a result, the drive today is to create smart buildings as part of a strategy to reduce energy usage from the outset and going forward. This is perhaps best seen in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED program, a voluntary set of guidelines to be used in building energy efficient structures. A more activist approach is shown in the California “Net Zero Energy” objectives for commercial and residential buildings that “no net purchases from the electricity or gas grid” with a path to 100% new construction compliance by 2030. However, for the existing commercial inventory, it is often focused on adding new technology (e.g., system controls), building modifications, new materials or improved systems management, in order to achieve premise energy reduction. While these efforts are making a significant impact on reducing per-capita (or per sq ft) consumption, it still does not solve the problem of the “Peak”.

Electric system “peaks” occur when demand is high, and are a normal, everyday occurrence, often in response to weather.  Utilities plan for the peak and many regulators require electric generation and infrastructure to be built with spare capacity to accommodate consumption events beyond the design peak, in some cases keeping 10% – 15% of their capital deployed idle, waiting for the peak moment. When those peaks arrive, utilities and grid operators declare a “scarcity event”, and “demand response” programs kick in where commercial building owners may find themselves asked to shut down half their elevators or turn off banks of lights or otherwise curtail consumption. In some cases, power is interrupted, or localized rolling “brownouts” can occur, often damaging expensive equipment and decreasing worker productivity. For large commercial and industrial complexes, which often have sophisticated premise Energy Management Systems, these events can be not only survivable, but also profitable by selling their measured demand reduction back to the grid.

With the broad installation of smart meters, small/mid-sized commercial and industrial customers as well as residential customers can begin to participate in the energy eco-system not merely as a ratepayer, but as a conscious consumer with choice.  These customers represent a significant and controllable load for utilities, and the introduction of Smart Meter technology enables them to participate in the same kind of load shifting or load reduction efforts as industry.   

Lowfoot’s technology platform gives the owners and managers of small business centers, shopping malls and corporate office towers that have smart metering in each leased unit, the ability to reward reductions in energy consumption both at the unit level and facility-wide. Tenants can choose to reduce consumption as they see what their activities cost.

Hope this copulation of thought on cloud based Platforms, Frameworks, and Databases helps you better understand how you will use DAAS in your future plans.

Ken Sinclair is the publisher of and can be reached at

Print this page


Stories continue below