Real-time data monitoring is the streaming collection, presentation, and analysis of data as it is being made. It differs from interval data monitoring, which collects data in regular intervals and generally presents it after a short delay – about 24 hours.
Data monitoring is an important part of regular building maintenance. It’s also crucial for proper measurement and verification. Real-time data monitoring has a number of crucial advantages over interval data monitoring in this respect.
The failure of a major piece of building equipment is an expensive and trying problem in the best of circumstances. When the failure is identified immediately and remedied quickly, the costs can be minimized.
Without real-time data monitoring, however, it is easy to miss a problem until a member of the building team notices it by chance, or worse, a tenant does. By this point, damage may already be done to the building’s reputation or structure.
Failure of an electrical piece of equipment is a fire hazard, but most will generally fail in a safe way. The result, more often than not, is damage to the building’s reputation and not its structure. Failure of a piece of equipment that involves water, however, can very quickly result in extensive building damage in addition to reputation damage.
For example, a cooling tower with a leak could easily go unnoticed, especially on the weekend. Cooling towers produce gallons of water every second, and an unnoticed leak can easily cause tens of thousands of dollars worth of property damage over the course of a day. Real-time data monitoring ensures that accidents like this are quickly detected so that your team can respond appropriately.
Interval data gives insights into the workings of your building yesterday. There is value in knowing what happened in your building recently, but often there is even more value in knowing what is happening right now.
Real-time monitoring lets building engineers make adjustments to operations on the fly. It also helps them to identify the causes of unusual consumption. This can be extremely helpful for buildings that are undergoing energy efficiency efforts, testing the effectiveness of retrofits, or applying for an efficiency certification like LEED or ENERGY STAR.
While interval data is also useful for these purposes, the insights gained from building data monitoring are frequently more useful in real-time than they are at a delay. A spike in electricity consumption yesterday might give a building engineer a better idea as to when he should reduce consumption in the future, but data about a spike in consumption as it happens may allow the engineer to make adjustments and reduce the building’s peak load for the month.