Building analytics: The future of facility operations

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Building analytics: The future of facility operations

April 02, 2019
From the April 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The platform should constantly query the building performance to virtually ask the following:

• Cost-effectiveness and energy: Has the building’s energy consumption fluctuated recently? Where are the main sources of energy coming from? Has our hospital’s energy bill increased or decreased significantly? All answers to where, how much and why can inform the corrective action process.

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• Compliance: Are all operating and critical procedure rooms within an acceptable range for pressure, airflow, humidity and temperature? Have any fallen out of compliance? What instigated the change? Measuring this in real time will save major headaches during compliance surveys.

• Comfort: Are waiting rooms, patient rooms and other common area spaces controlling temperatures at or near current setpoints? Has a space deviated more than a couple of degrees from the thermostat set point? It’s critical to improve patient satisfaction by proactively, not reactively, addressing these underlying comfort issues.

Like the much-touted “Internet of Things” in technology spaces, building analytics proactively identifies issues that pertain to building health before they become noticeable. Not only does constant measuring allow the facility performance to be tracked and analyzed, it also provides data to track and report the savings impact of capital investments.

Consider having three KPIs to describe the current health of your facility from the standpoint of the three C’s. When the COO asks, “How’s it going today?” or more directly, “How’s my hospital running today?” you’ll have a solid answer:

“We’re currently at 98 percent comfort, which is up 4 percent from our previous period. Additionally, our compliance is at 99 percent this month, maintaining that level from the last quarter. We’re also saving an additional 50 cents per square foot compared to last month’s data.” With this report card, it is easy to see how the facility is doing month to month and the improvements that are being made.

Final thoughts
When asked by a COO of a hospital or anyone working to improve their facility, “How’s it going today?” can be a loaded question. Building analytics help facility managers answer that question, as well as inform the daily activities of hospital operations. When a portion of the three C’s – cost effectiveness, compliance or comfort – is trending in a negative direction, facility staff can then actively work to correct and improve it before the problem becomes noticeable for patients or visitors. The difference is clear: using building analytics to actively and continuously affect overall facility health is a powerful “way of the future” to leverage technology for facility operations.

About the Author: Jim Prince is director of Energy and Facility Performance Excellence at Medxcel. Medxcel’s building analytics platform gathers HVAC operations and energy consumption data, alerting building operations staff when less-than-optimum issues arise. The platform is a cloud-based system “overlay” to existing BAS that harvests, analyzes, and presents critical operations data.
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