PERFORMER – summary of project results
PERFORMER aims to reduce the gap between expected and actual energy performance through the development of innovative, scalable and replicable solutions to assess, monitor and ensure the continuous (and optimal) management and guarantee of building energy performance.
PERFORMER took place over a period of 4 years and included the following main project steps: elicitation of requirements from the pilot demonstrators, development of core concepts and methodologies, specification and development of various ICT tools to support the PERFORMER concepts, cost-efficient installation of required sensors and meters at pilot sites, deployment and assessment of the PERFORMER solution.
In the last part of the project, the demonstration and assessment phases have highlighted the technical challenges of replicating a common solution across a range of different building types.
Several methods for the in-situ assessment of building envelope performance (the so-called intrinsic energy performance) have been tested, with and without occupancy. The real challenge has been to find an acceptable compromise between accuracy, simplicity and costs. Results have been fed into on-going standardisation work (CEN TC 89).
The figure below outlines the overall architecture of the PERFORMER solution that has been deployed to support the continuous monitoring of actual energy performance.
Part of the specification of the PERFORMER Data Warehouse (PDW) involved developing a method for assimilating data from a range of devices (BMS, sensors, meters, etc). Scripts were developed for each demonstrator to extract data from respective BMS and 3rd party data collection systems, and upload it on the PDW through RESTful Web services. It is noteworthy that this approach was also required for BMS at two of the demonstrators that utilise the BACnet communications protocol for Building Automation and Control (which although being a global standard under ISO 16484-5 is applied differently by BMS manufacturers). The scripts enabled data in a range of formats to be successfully transferred to the PERFORMER Data Warehouse (PDW) in a consistent format. This approach of hosting all monitoring data in one place in the “cloud” is a PERFORMER innovation that has the potential to find support from industry as it would provide greater opportunities for standardisation and enable third party applications to be developed to further exploit data for building energy management purposes. Furthermore, it is envisioned that a fully commercialised version of PERFORMER would incorporate a library of scripts (built up over time) to cater for the extraction of data regardless of BMS / third party data collection type.
Once available within the PDW, data relating to specific variables can be analysed using the various expert rules (anomaly, fault and gap detection modules) and viewed using the PERFORMER visualisation tool. Initially, a large proportion of variables within the PDW were found to contain anomalies which led to poor training of the prediction models. As a result, a new anomaly detection module was developed to allow early detection of data problems and decide whether or not a prediction model can be learnt, thereby freeing up computation time for the generation of reliable prediction models. Expert rules relating to fault detection (data that falls outside of an acceptable range) and gap detection (measured data that is significantly different to a predicted value) have been developed to identify variables that are candidates for further interrogation via the PERFORMER visualisation tool. This innovative approach of using expert rules analysis prior to visualisation allows identification of issues more easily than certain other non-smart platforms that are only capable of displaying unprocessed data from a range of sources. In particular the “Heat Maps” tool allows a first and quick visualisation of the probability of faults (for example, lighting being on when not needed, or sensor failure). A bright red colour indicates when a fault is detected for a particular variable, whereas normal operating conditions are represented by a green colour.
The PERFORMER analytical tools mean that it can be used to identify problems that may not otherwise be apparent or be used as a diagnostic tool to establish a cause for known energy or environmental issues (e.g. high energy costs or comfort issues). Smart analytics modules can be used to identify trends, forecast future consumption and calculate KPIs for different building types. The tools are particularly tailored for use by building or facilities managers, but could also be exploited by energy consultants or ESCOs supporting clients with improvement aspirations, thanks to remote web access and the common visualisation format that negates the need for users to have to understand multiple BMS/ monitoring interfaces. This also makes it particularly suited to local authorities or other managers of multiple assets, allowing easy comparative analysis in a unified format.
Competitor analysis indicates that the PERFORMER solution would be entering into a highly competitive market place. Specific innovations will need to be clearly highlighted to ensure PERFORMER can be differentiated from other similar sounding products. Workshops involving external representatives from industry have been held to discuss the market potential for the PERFORMER solution. These have identified positive impacts in the PERFORMER solution’s differentiating features and confirmed areas of innovation. Outputs from workshops have been used to steer the development of the final business model and a replication strategy to roll out the solution across the EU.
It has been determined that PERFORMER should be applicable to nearly any building that is sufficiently large to warrant a degree of sub metering to understand detailed energy use. It will also be compatible with any BMS capable of being setup to ‘push’ data to the PDW utilising scripts discussed above. In order to be as widely applicable as possible in the market, the proposed business model includes various levels of service offerings for the tools, from simple data visualisation only (similar to many other tools commercially available) through to customisable options where new rules and KPIs could be incorporated to meet clients’ specific needs. Optional tailored consultancy support will also be offered by PERFORMER Partners to help clients – particularly those new to the tools – streamline deployment and get the most from its functionality. Assuming buildings were already well equipped with sensing and metering equipment, the platform could be rapidly deployed and used for short term commissioning and troubleshooting purposes. However, the greatest gains are anticipated from long term deployment and some customisation of sensing/ metering equipment to help owners and managers understand and better-guarantee enduring energy optimisation.