Solving Problems Before the Phone Rings
The Facilities Planning and Management group at Iowa State
University (ISU) hates when the phone rings.
Not so much because of the problem that might be reported or the
need to schedule resources to address itthat goes with the
business of running a facilities organizationbut because they
didn't have the information to know the issue was developing in the
first place. Their goal is to catch things early and fix them before
the phone call ever happens.
It All Starts with Data
Iowa State University has deployed a facilities operations data
warehouse and business information system that currently includes 40
campus buildings. The buildings integrate HVAC operational data with
various combinations of smoke systems, electric meters and
generator, domestic water and sewage, fire/emergency systems,
lighting systems, and space planning data. These systems are
integrated at both an operational level, through Johnson Controls,
and at the information level, using EnergyWitness.
Howe Hall: 192,944 gsf. Occupied since 1999. |
Integrates HVAC, fire/emergency, electric, water & sewer.
Collects data from ≈18,000 points.
data from approximately 80,000 points across campus. The
system collects data every 15 minutes, 24x7, and stores
it in the data warehouse providing a permanent
historical record of operations. Although it is a
technical accomplishment to collect complete operational
data without interfering with control systems operation,
the value to ISU is realized through the many ways the
information is used.
When Dave Miller, the director of FP&M operations, saw his first
demo of EnergyWitness, he knew he had seen the next big advancement
for his facility. He immediately recognized that this was a platform
to consolidate all kinds of data into a facility operations data
warehouse. With that kind of data in hand, they could systematically
tackle every building, every air handler, every type of problem
until they were no longer forced to operate in reactionary mode, but
could proactively make the buildings perform better by utilizing the
information to build a knowledge-oriented culture.
Gerdin Business Building: 113,800 gsf. Occupied since 2003.|
Integrates HVAC, smoke, electric, water & sewer, lighting.
Collects data from ≈8,500 points.
There are over 100 users of the information just within Facilities
Planning and Management. Different types of users have unique
information viewsengineers have a detailed, systems/equipment view,
while area mechanics have a view that allows them to review all
systems they are responsible for in a few minutes. Every user gains
significant insights, and they all see consistent information and
can speak the same language. This gives ISU a more knowledgeable
workforce that results in major productivity and quality gains for
On top of the raw data are calculations that provide ISU with
additional levels of operational and business knowledge about the
buildings. The system calculates operating costs for every piece of
mechanical equipment, which is summarized at the system and building
levels. For each room (or space), the system also measures comfort,
combining environmental readings into a single rating for that
space. This gives ISU a historical record of cost versus comfort
that is used to manage operations, communicate with customers, and
inform university management.
The Unfolding Story
The information available from the EnergyWitness system is a
catalyst in facilitiesí continuing effort to better serve the
business needs of its customers and reach its goal to be the best
land grant institution in the country.
The Iowa State University implementation of EnergyWitness is
rapidly evolving and expanding. In the months to come, the results,
both financial and qualitative, will be measured and documented.
Check back to see the progress.