Analytics

Army, Navy using big data to increase energy savings

data abstract

The Army and Navy are using big data analytics to identify energy savings opportunities in more than 650 worldwide facilities, with a target of making half of all Navy buildings net-zero energy by 2020, producing as much energy as they consume.

The services contracted with Washington, D.C.-based Sain Engineering to conduct energy audits at specified buildings through 2014 using analytics technology expected to reduce audit time by 80 percent.

The Automated Energy Audit, developed by Boston-based Retroficiency, allows guided data collection specific to the type of building in the creation of a  model for each facility that depicts how a building uses energy.

The analytics software can then examine combinations of more than 2,000 potential optimization measures – everything from glaring issues like HVAC renovations to subtle operational changes – providing automated outputs. Buildings within a portfolio can be ranked in terms of energy consumption and efficiency, allowing stakeholders to get the best bang for their buck in optimizing them.

“Our tool is trying to automate as much as possible the entire process of an auditor collecting data while on site, using it to make calculations on potential energy savings measures and streamlining reporting measures,” said Retroficiency CEO Bennett Fisher.

For decades, the traditional motif for energy audits has required an auditor to physically inventory an entire building – usually over the course of several days –then compile reports and analysis. Fisher said analytics speeds up the inventory process by telling an auditor what kinds of data to collect, and further improves audits through its ability to compare vast combinations of potential improvements based on the building model itself. In addition, Fisher said, Automated Energy Audit continually assesses a building “for ongoing solutions,” positioning stakeholders to respond rapidly to new requirements or federal mandates.

The federal government occupies some 500,000 buildings worldwide – far more than any other private or public sector entity – spending $7 billion per year essentially just keeping the lights on. Because much of that money – some government data suggests between 30 and 40 percent  – is ultimately wasted through inefficiencies, Fisher said the influx of analytics to energy audits could eventually lead to major savings. The energy audits of the 650 Army and Navy buildings could serve as a use case for other agencies.

“Large-scale portfolio owners like DOD can drive deeper energy savings at a fraction of the cost of a manual approach,” Fisher said.

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.