Making sense of monitoring data: hands on demo on the Sensible Building Data Handler


The research team of 4RinEU within Eurac Research and partner Integrated Environmental Solutions Ltd (IES) delivered a workshop on the topic of building data management at the Sustainable Places Conference, last June in Cagliari (Italy).

In the 4RinEU project, technologies constitute one of the three pillars of the project. In particular, the Sensible Building Data Handler constitutes a technology aimed at gathering, organising and preparing for analysis the large amount of data that is needed in the various phases of a deep renovation project. A major part of the Sensible Building Data Handler is the collection of monitored data, both for the pre-renovation state of the building and the post-renovation performance. This data can be then used for the deep renovation project to ensure that the virtual behaviour of the building represents correctly its real status, but also to evaluate the efficacy of the renovation after it is completed. In addition, the Sensible Building Data Handler allows to communicate to the building users the actual performance of the building. Accordingly, building users can identify which systems are installed in various rooms (e.g. dimming controls for lighting, heating controls, etc.) and to help building surveyors to specify sensor and meter locations in the buildings.

Once data is collected, managing monitoring data requires secure cloud solutions, and 4RinEU partners ADERMA and Eurac Research have deployed a monitoring infrastructure in the 4RinEU pilot Demo-Cases which collects all data (pre- and post-retrofit) into a single database. This database is then connected to a tool for intelligent control and data analysis (called iSCAN) developed by project partner IES. Through interactive data visualisations, flexible idashboards and configurable structure, this cloud-based platform allows to cut through the clutter and make sense of building data. Specifically, in 4RinEU project a series of dashboards are being developed according to the specific requirements of each Demo-Case. This allows to gather specific information needed for the project, such as, visualization of energy and comfort performance of the building in a clear and graphically appealing way.

After introducing these core principles of the project and of the data acquisition from the Demo-Cases, the workshop concentrated in the core innovation of iSCAN, which consists of a tool offering intelligent data interrogation, allowing to cross analyse data from different sources in one platform. Thanks to it, any data source, format and time series can be organised and tagged, and can be displayed through custom dashboards to the users.

The workshop was organised to target reaching local municipalities and managers dealing with deep retrofit and energy efficiency in general. Attendees received a first introduction to the Sensible Building Data Handler tool, including an overview of iSCAN and the custom idashboard that visualises key information (such as key performance indicators, observed trends, etc.) for obtaining quick insights about the building’s data. This first part, more suited to an audience of decision makers, focused on the capabilities; then, a second part of the workshop, addressed to a technical audience, went into detail on the practical use of the tool, to demonstrate the use of the Sensible Building Data Handler into a real case (Helix Building).

The workshop was very successful with high engagement from the attendees, and open discussion. As feedback gained, the audience expressed a wish to receive more background on building monitored data. This does not come as a surprise considering the innovative aspect of monitoring buildings, in consideration of the science behind it as well as the technology to collect it and the IT innovation to process it. The 4RinEU consortium is planning to develop specific training on this area.