Unlocking the Power of Data Visibility for NYSERDA’s RTEM Program – BuildingIQ


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Unlocking the Power of Data Visibility for NYSERDA’s RTEM Program

BuildingIQ Unlocking the Power of Data Visibility for NYSERDA’s RTEM Program

What is NYSERDA and their RTEM Program?

NYSERDA stands for New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The organization’s charter is the promotion of energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources in the state of New York. RTEM, or Real Time Energy Management Program, is a NYSERDA program designed to create data visibility of energy usage and allow for analysis and analytics so that strategies can be developed to save energy and reduce operating expenses in commercial buildings.

Is there an incentive to participate?

Yes. To promote the RTEM program NYSERDA is willing to pay 30% of qualified expenses.  This includes rolling any hardware costs into a three-year agreement. Basically, the NYSERDA incentive is taking the up-front costs off the table.

How does BuildingIQ fit into RTEM?

We’re a NYSERDA Qualified Vendor for both providing the “System”—hardware and software platform, as well as the “Service”— data review and analysis by our Optimization Engineering staff at our operations center. This is because our 5i Platform can be used to analyze the consumption behavior of the facility which leads to developing strategies for energy savings. Strategies may range from shutting down unnecessary equipment on the weekends to diagnosing energy fluctuations caused by malfunctioning equipment. In the latter case this provides an opportunity for corrective maintenance that eliminates a more expensive, unexpected failure in the near future.

Can’t the existing BMS systems do exactly the same thing?

The short, and real-world answer is no.

While the BMS pulls in meter and equipment data, the vast majority of clients do not have the extensive resources required to ensure these systems are installed correctly, review all the data on a daily basis and deep dive into issues to identify root causes and solutions.

Even for the simplest whole-building metering approach, looking at the data alone does not provide the context required to instigate action. Our platform employs tools to analyze the incoming data and provide that context. Now the user can quickly know what is the predicted consumption given the weather that day. They can ask if a spike normal at this time on hot days or is this unusually high. Often, most importantly, they can see how their consumption compares to their energy KPI’s.

When client’s layer on equipment data from their BMS, suddenly the complexity and opportunity increase exponentially. In a typical BMS, the data is only held for a few days to a week and the only analytical tool is a painful dive into that limited data. Due to limited resources, the data often has quality issues. When the BMS is installed by the controls contractor, they usually set up a standard, limited, set of alarms, but do not calibrate them for the particular building’s needs. The result is a constant stream of false alarms that are ultimately ignored by staff. One mid-western school we’ve been working with has their senior facility manager spend nearly 80% of his day reading through alarms and dispatching them to his team – time he considers wasted and better performed by smarter software or a service provider.

There is a fundamental difference between alarming and analytics – and they both have their place. BuildingIQ’s combination of deep analytical tools and constant oversite overcomes the inherent (and in practice) issues of alarming and transforms the status quo of ignored alarms into actionable insights. We store data in the cloud for 10 years by default which means that a vast knowledge base can be harnessed for our analytics tools. Instead of just seeing a symptom of a problem, like a room being too hot, our tools can find the root cause of that issue, even if it is in a distantly related system. This is especially useful in identifying a slower decay rate for equipment and/or issues that occur as a result of multiple processes or equipment interacting.

So, you have a way to find and diagnose issues in a building. How does this serve the RTEM commercial client?

One thing is that since we’re cloud-based and operate 24/7, we’re able to store and track issues. In a simple energy monitoring situation (no active oversight), the data —whether whole building or deeply sub-metered— is available anytime and on a schedule to the client. They can look at the trends anytime they want, and even go back in time to see why, for instance, their bill is different this billing period compared to the previous bills. Clients can even use the metering service to set a baseline for their own energy conservation measures.

For an actively monitored RTEM installation, we do all that and work with the customer to ensure visibility of things that we find. Additionally, the program-required monthly and quarterly reports for tracking progress are automatically generated. When it comes time to act, we also help the client’s staff prioritize and implement their chosen measures.

Is the RTEM program an easy way to get to more advanced oversight and optimization of a facility or a one-off?

It’s definitely a good step on a journey to better optimization. In the case of RTEM, it’s mostly about the first step —visualization. But optimizing a facility really does start with visualization. The next steps include using more data from the existing systems, layering in advanced AI on top of the data, and making the site improvements that matter. RTEM is a great start of many of New York’s building owner/operators.


Kevin Debasitis is Director of Sales at BuildingIQ, covering the Northeast.  Kevin has worked in commercial construction, EPC and development of renewable energy, distributed generation, and energy efficiency for over 25 years.