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MIT Using Cloud-Based Diagnostics Software to Reduce Energy Cost, Improve Comfort of Buildings

The MIT Media Lab | Image credit: Andy Ryan

KGS Buildings, a cloud-based building-performance analytics company, today announced the integration of its software platform into facility operations at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). KGS has deployed its Clockworks performance management platform on over 60 buildings at MIT spanning over 10 million square feet, monitoring and providing analytics on over 7,000 pieces of equipment using over 14,000,000 data points per day.

MIT's Facilities teams use Clockworks' automated diagnostics to prioritize operational problems by cost, comfort impact, and maintenance severity. These priorities are especially important in directing corrective actions, issuing work orders, and justifying resources. In just one 450,000-sq ft lab building, through proactive operations responding to automated diagnostics, MIT has saved over $286,000 per year in avoidable energy costs, allowing the school to capture utility incentives for reducing electric and gas consumption through its utility provider, NSTAR.

"Whether the priority is energy cost reduction, improving comfort, or proactive maintenance, our solution provides facility managers prioritized action items to meet their goals. We leverage cloud technology and automated analytics to uncover hidden savings opportunities and identify the root cause of under-performing systems," said Nick Gayeski, Ph.D., partner and co-founder of KGS Buildings, LLC. "Universities, like many organizations, have tight budgets and a laundry list of maintenance needs, which is why it is so important to know which repairs will yield the greatest benefits. Our automated diagnostics and cost calculations help customers focus on achieving the best results with constrained resources."

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KGS says Clockworks was developed based on more than 30 combined years of research and development, leveraging academic research and cooperative research with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, funded by the US Department of Energy. The software supports the Comprehensive Stewardship Group, charged with proactively maintain buildings to maximize the impact and return on investment in MIT's infrastructure, including maintaining energy efficiency and mitigating operating costs.

MIT has been moving to a proactive stewardship model, which is especially critical in the research-intense environment required by its Facilities. The Clockworks platform has provided them an easy-to-use tool to help achieve that goal, which is useful for the trades to help diagnose problems, and for management through several dashboard and metric views. Clockworks' data-based prioritization increases the ability to best focus limited resources. In addition, it helps to achieve energy performance goals through correlating maintenance efforts with energy impact real time.

Clockworks prioritizes recommendations for operational efficiency every day by running diagnostic algorithms tailored to specific buildings and equipment with control sequence and engineering parameters. Real-time and historical data from building management systems and utility metering can be accessed through online dashboards, with tools and metrics for many facilities stakeholders.

Speaking of increasing facilities' sustainability ... in August, AT&T and the Environmental Defense Fund declared that US commercial buildings can collectively save up to 28 billion gallons of water annually using The Building Water Efficiency toolkit, which the organizations co-developed; and SAP announced in March that it will power all its data centers and facilities globally with 100 percent renewable electricity starting in 2014 — helping to minimize its carbon footprint as it moves to a cloud business model, and helping to eliminate carbon emissions caused by its customers' systems. 

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