August 2020

Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.

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Ricardo Moromisato

EMAIL INTERVIEWKen Sinclair and Ricardo Moromisato

Ricardo Moromisato, AScT, CEM
CopperTree Analytics

Implementing a Building Analytics Solution

It’s great to learn – and pass on the lessons – from those organizations that have been successful.

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Sinclair:  What do you think is the biggest hurdle to overcome when implementing a building analytics solution?

Moromisato:  Based on the hundreds of analytic implementations to date, the biggest hurdle is, arguably, “change management”. Yes, there are technology challenges – dealing with system integration issues, handling data quality problems and deciphering Building Automation Systems (BAS) with different naming convention standards (or no standards at all!) to name a few. But in our multi-disciplinary field, and as problem solvers, we delight to bring forth and implement new solutions to these technical problems. Change management, however, involves several levels of organizational leadership coming together to agree on the role of analytics in building energy management. Even when leaders are aligned strategically to become analytic-driven, this may not be the case when it comes to execution. Unfortunately, as we see often, not sorting this out early limits how organizations benefit from building analytics – regardless of the chosen platform. On the other hand, it’s great to learn – and pass on the lessons – from those organizations that have been successful.

Sinclair:  What does “analytic-driven” mean to facility and energy management?

Moromisato:  Analytic-driven may be a paradigm shift for facility teams. It may represent a move from being reactive – acting on what’s urgent today – to being proactive – acting on what’s important for the wellbeing of the building and its occupants – today and into the future. In our article, What Does it Take to Become Analytic-Driven? we identify three key ingredients, technology, resources and culture. As a service provider, we could just emphasize technology, but not bringing up the other two would be a disservice. While resources refer to time, people and finances, culture speaks of organizational attitudes and behaviour. Those involved in facility and energy management need to be empowered to follow proactive methodologies, engaging daily with the building analytics platform, reviewing system performance reports to plan preventative maintenance, and taking action from fault-detection and diagnostics insights to prevent full-blown equipment failures or wasted energy resources.

Sinclair:  How does CopperTree help organizations be successful in their quest to be more “analytic-driven”?

Moromisato:  At CopperTree, our commitment as a trusted source of expertise in building analytics and energy management is foundational. From there, our solid team of experts in our customer success and application engineering groups, are always ready to share their years of experience in the industry by providing valuable technical and business insights. Moreover, given the proliferation of cloud applications and the myriad of solutions available today, the need to educate, clarify concepts and provide evaluation criteria is ever more important. To this end, we developed a fundamental series on building analytics to help bring clarity to our space while answering essential questions such as, What is Fault Detection and Diagnostics? and What is an Energy Information System? A couple of practical articles present a framework on How to evaluate the different Automated Fault Detection and Diagnostics technologies, and How to evaluate the different Energy Information Systems. A new application series currently in development will tackle further building analytics concepts while offering practical how-to advice. Be sure to check out our CopperTree Insights for more resources.

Sinclair:  Besides CopperTree’s commitment to being a trusted source of expertise, are there other ways you seek to empower success?

Moromisato:  Absolutely. We also endeavour to be relevant and innovative. To stay relevant, not only in terms of technological advancement – which is a must for us – but also in terms of being current with the times and circumstances. For instance, the current pandemic and unprecedented measures have undoubtedly affected all of us in one way or another, regardless of where we are in the world. Recognizing that COVID-19 brings a new set of challenges on how we interact with the built environment, CopperTree has created a Health Compliance Analytics package to help our clients ensure their buildings are being brought back online – after extended vacancy periods – safely and effectively.

Innovation is one of our core values. However, unless we are continually improving our products and services, adding value to our clients, we can’t say we are being innovative. Recognizing that the process of innovation requires multi-disciplinary expertise, CopperTree has engaged in multi-year partnerships with leading research institutions. One such collaboration is with Carleton University’s Building Research Centre working on multiple initiatives focused on data-driven methodologies for Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) as well as predictive modelling using an array of Machine Learning (ML) algorithms. And with the Building Technology and Urban Systems Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, our focus has been on Automated System Optimization (ASO). Eventually, these efforts would lead to new functionality that enhances our analytics offering and directly benefits our end users.

contemporary Sinclair:  You speak of predictive modelling, machine learning and automated system optimization – terms that have been trending upwards for quite some time now. What is their relevance in our world of facility and energy management?

Moromisato:  In reality, none of these topics are new. They have all been around for quite some time. What is different today is perhaps the advancement of cloud computing and how this is facilitating access to data and applications like never before. We do recognize there is a level of confusion out there in terms of what all this means to facility and energy management. For this reason, as part of the fundamental series, we have added a couple of articles to help shed some light in this area: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Predictive Analytics, Deep Learning… What’s the Difference?, and How can Predictive Analytics Help Save Energy and Improve Occupant Comfort? As for Automated System Optimization, CopperTree will be presenting this very topic at the 2020 Building Commissioning Association Virtual Annual Conference.

About the Author

Ricardo Moromisato is an engineering technologist with over 25 years of experience in building controls and energy management. After several years immersed in Building Automation Systems with a leading controls integrator, he joined a small team focusing on building data acquisition and energy analytics – a path that led to the formation of CopperTree Analytics.

As a Business Intelligence Analyst, Ricardo has a unique role working alongside business development, product management and application engineering teams engaged in innovative solutions for performance analytics, energy monitoring and fault detection and diagnostics in one comprehensive platform. Presently, he is excited about the strategic partnerships with research institutions applying Predictive Modelling, Machine Learning, and Automated System Optimization.

A member of ASTTBC and the Association of Energy Engineers, Ricardo received his training in Electronics Engineering Technology – specializing in Process Automation and Instrumentation – at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Western Canada.


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