The Case for Intelligent O&M for a Sustainable Property Sector
“Across cities, communities, industries and properties, a lot of installed equipment is already integrated, and owners are unknowingly sitting on top of thousands of useful data points. By adding IoT sensors, owners can bridge the gap by collecting additional information from existing assets.”
Robert White, Head of Technology and Innovation of ENGIE Solutions Middle East
Innovation and sustainability form a crucial link in the pursuit of sustainable economic and social development. In a recent survey of 400 executives from various industries and regions conducted by Bain & Company and the World Economic Forum, 40% of respondents said they believe digital technologies are already positively impacting their sustainability goals.
Middle East countries have set ambitious goals to reduce energy and water consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The building and construction sector, a linchpin of the regional economy, is a crucial part of decarbonization goals as it accounts for 36% of final energy use and 39% of energy and process-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Leveraging advanced data management technologies can deliver significant operations and maintenance (O&M) savings for both new and existing assets, substantially reducing the sector’s contribution to carbon emissions. This is the idea behind the ENGIE Smart O&M solution, designed to optimize asset performance and energy efficiency. Our technology and data-fueled business models assist clients to shift from a traditional cost management approach towards tangible optimized business productivity.
The first step in leveraging data is to ensure all data is centralized. Across cities, communities, industries and properties, a lot of installed equipment is already integrated, and owners are unknowingly sitting on top of thousands of useful data points. By adding IoT sensors, owners can bridge the gap by collecting additional information from existing assets. Linking data from the assets to the spaces that they serve is essential to understanding the relationship between asset operation and space utilization. As nearly 30% of building-related carbon emissions come from air conditioning alone, smart platforms can be used to drive sustainability goals. Smart O&M delivers output-driven and usage-based operations and maintenance by monitoring conditions of both assets and spaces in real-time, taking into account actual occupancy. Smart solutions can then autonomously make the required changes to improve efficiency without any human intervention at all; this is known as cognitive intelligence.
Breakdowns cause disruption to a business and are a drain on human and capital resources. Smart O&M monitors technical equipment behaviors with both smart algorithms and machine learning to identify early underperformance signals from thousands of datapoints proactively and implement condition-based maintenance to optimize asset lifecycle whilst preventing breakdowns.
Reporting is an integral pillar of any sustainability strategy. Tracking allows customers to identify where they are in the sustainability journey and pinpoints areas of improvement. Smart O&M steers and records every operation at the asset level to ensure traceability of actions, including audits for compliance.
Digital twins can drive sustainability at speed and scale. A virtual twin of a building, for example, monitors, aggregates and analyzes data to plan and execute inspection, maintenance and repair activities. Energy consumption under different operating conditions is predicted and optimized, helping owners reduce costs, resource usage, and, ultimately, their carbon footprint.
Accenture estimates that virtual twins have a potential of unlocking additional benefits of $1.3 trillion in economic value, as well as 7.5 Gt CO2e emissions reductions by 2030. The Smart O&M solution accordingly allows us to create a digital twin of installations in the platform to manage, monitor, and optimize space conditions, equipment performance, and energy efficiency.
Making buildings more energy efficient is key to sustainably reducing consumption. Smart O&M breaks down consumption and production per usage of electricity, chilled water or water, providing both operators and building owners with a granular analysis of their energy usage, allowing them to optimize consumption.
Spaces and equipment are monitored via BMS or IoT sensors, delivering operational and environmental efficiency, service quality and cost savings. Here, condition-based alerts provide the right action at the right time. Further, continuous monitoring of the state of equipment and space health prevents unexpected failures, unplanned activities, and better response and/or rectification time.
Sustainability is a team effort and the market continues to grow with advanced technology, however, it is important to remember that technology alone does not improve sustainability. It has to combined with the right people and processes to see results and this is where many organisations have failed in the past. For clients, it is recommended to set up a long term partnership between the asset owner and the service provider, allowing technology investments by the service provider and output-driven commitments. Furthermore, cost and performance optimisation can be realised by choosing integrated solutions providers. Combining operations, sector-based processes, smart technology, energy management, and alternative energy solutions provide much more value to clients.
We are approaching a future where all building assets will be connected, making traditional facilities management processes obsolete. Therefore, clients should put together a proper transition plan to ensure a smooth switch with minimal effect on service delivery.
Smart O&M helps build a collaborative relationship between assets’ maintenance stakeholders by providing transparency, showing compliance and enabling advisory on operational usage. External systems can connect to the Smart O&M data catalogue and utilize all its generated data. The solution allows facility managers to capitalize on a common data model to create dashboards and reports. Customers can also directly request the data needed for their own usage.
Advanced algorithms can today deliver operational excellence at an unprecedented scale. It reduces downtime with more proactive and smarter monitoring of the assets and operations. AI tools also allow for better management of the assets’ lifecycle with condition-based maintenance and efficient lifecycle replacement strategies.
These tools also deliver improved efficiency on energy consumption in relation to the actual asset usage. Further, they enable proactive communication on key events affecting the availability and performance of the assets.
Customers benefit from real-time transparency with asset and service performance accessible to the customer through 2D or 3D models, standard dashboards and automatic reports, and the ability to easily demonstrate compliance to contractual and regulatory standards. Such benefits incentivize customers to manage all assets in a unique solution to get a consolidated view of their operations.
Unlike others in the market, ENGIE had dedicated an in-house software development team with 117 developers, 45 data experts and 20 UX and UI designers. They operate 10 proprietary platforms deployed in 30 countries worldwide.
Smart O&M has a global asset library, hosting building, equipment and business rule information. Allowing users to leverage on best in class intelligence from across the world.
This is combined with features such as comfort and occupancy monitoring, as well as visualization and management of spaces
From an operational point of view, Smart O&M has delivered improved workforce efficiency through proactive maintenance and travel time reduction. It also has optimized activities thanks to condition-based maintenance and has also reduced downtime and breakdowns thanks to better preparation of maintenance rounds and more proactive monitoring of assets and activities.
The platform also enables significant energy optimization. Operational decisions are based on live data from assets resulting in both O&M and energy savings. Secondly, the customer has benefitted from reduced electricity and chilled water consumption thanks to asset-level data analytics and automated detection of drift. The customer also benefits from reduced utility bills and increased compliance with performance reporting requirements. Additionally, Smart O&M has delivered automated reports on performance per space and tenant, as tenants are now benefiting from an optimized working environment in private and common areas.
Ultimately, Smart O&M enables users to reduce their carbon footprint by optimizing technical assets’ operation to provide building users with the expected experience at the best environmental and financial cost.