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Experts: Understanding big data key to building management

by Nikhil Pereira on Nov 1, 2017


Kevin Sullivan.
Kevin Sullivan.

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KEO International Consultants' sustainability head of commissioning, Kevin Sullivan, said that Dubai needs to look at innovative ways to recycle and better manage buildings nearing the end of their life cycles. 

He said: “My concern isn't new buildings, which have consultants such as us working on them, it's more the aging ones. We need to ask ourselves how ready are they for higher energy costs, changing weather conditions and changing patterns of use.”

Citing an example from a project he was involved with in New York, Sullivan said buildings around the 100-year to 150-year mark were recycled for alternate use. “Most of what we did was gut rehab, we took old buildings, gutted them out and changed their purpose of use, converting residential towers into loft spaces or adoptable work spaces,” he said indicating that building maintenance is crucial and well-maintained buildings can be recycled and reused.

The emergence of smart systems and big data will also go a long way in helping buildings survive, he said. “Buildings today generate vast amounts of big data, which makes it important to judge how we read our buildings and what's happening with them. It's important to collect, analyse the data and then act on it by creating policies.

“It is important to form patterns in building operational big data, especially around complexities - this will drive processes. Hence it is important to get the right people involved to be the data engineers of the future. Buildings will never be smart by themselves, it is only through human intervention and understanding the information we collect from them [we can understand how to better manage them],” Sullivan added.

It is also important to know the usability of the data that gets generated, he explained: “Several state of the art buildings generate junk data - they might have the best building management systems in place and other infrastructure, but junk data is a big cause for concern in the UAE. You have to first understand what's happening in the building before you can diagnose the correct solution."



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