Commercial buildings account for more than one third of global carbon dioxide emissions. These emissions are mostly caused by large scale heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems used to maintain building comfort.
Commercial real estate services company CBRE manages the operations and maintenance of 6&7 Eden Park Drive on behalf of Altis Property Partners, an independent Australian real estate investment manager. CBRE and Altis recognised that balancing building comfort and sustainability requires a holistic approach to building management, backed by data.
“The environment is changing, tenant’s desires are changing, investor requirements are changing and so our management of assets must change as well.” - Ethan Lock, Asset Manager, Altis Property Partners
6&7 Eden Park Drive was successfully collecting and storing data on energy use, but this data was not being used to optimise energy consumption or machinery operations.
“Initially we had trouble with this building,” said Ken Forsstrom, Building Operations Manager for CBRE. “A lack of collaboration between onsite teams and contractors was leading to machinery issues, which in turn resulted in inefficient building operations and tenant complaints.”
- Siloed contractor operation
- Inefficient and malfunctioning HVAC equipment
- Lack of data analysis to initiate operational change
- Improve machinery reliability
- Optimise energy consumption
- Decrease operational expenditure
In March 2017, CBRE engaged building analytics technology firm CIM to provide building tuning, optimisation and engineering expertise through the PEAK platform. CIM’s PEAK platform automatically collects and analyses property data to identify opportunities to improve building performance. The data provides visibility into equipment operations and energy consumption, enabling faster and more informed decision making.
“At 6&7 Eden Park Drive, PEAK captures and analyses 3,274 data points every 15 mins”, said Scott Beauman, Senior Engineering Manager at CIM. “317 individual pieces of equipment are monitored including chillers, pumps, AHU, VAV and fans.
“Ultimately, we have a large, real time data set that our proprietary algorithms analyse to detect faults, issues and opportunities,” Beauman added. CIM’s engineers prepare recommendations for tuning and servicing existing equipment, then assist CBRE to implement those recommendations by helping to manage contractors or re-program equipment.
“The data has enabled us to tweak everything related to system performance and measure the efficiency impact and tenant comfort,” said Forsstrom. “We've modified the control strategies for the condenser water pumps, chilled water system and boilers, and made inexpensive upgrades to LED lighting to improve the efficiency performance of the property. “Previously, it was tricky linking any fluctuations in building energy use to work we had carried out on the building. Now we can use PEAK to drill down into the data and clearly associate energy and cost savings to specific modifications,” Forsstrom explained.
By applying a data-driven approach to building management, CBRE and Altis achieved a major NABERS Energy milestone at 6&7 Eden Park Drive through low or no cost solutions. This is in stark contrast to the typical major capital investments made by real estate investment trusts in an effort to make buildings more sustainable.
“Within the first year, the PEAK platform helped us to reduce our annual energy consumption by 13%. We’ve maintained those savings four years later even though we’ve since leased out more building space and occupancy rates have increased by 8%.” - Ken Forsstrom, Building Operations Manager, CBRE
‘‘Collaboration on sustainability initiatives will maximise their impact,” added Lock. “At 6&7 Eden Park Drive, we were part of a collaborative effort, with Altis setting the vision, CBRE understanding the key problems, CIM providing solutions and the base building contractors undertaking the work.”
Gaining an additional half a NABERS Energy star on a modern building is no easy feat, demonstrating CBRE and Altis’ commitment to continuously pushing for the highest levels of sustainable performance across their assets.