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Feature focus: Real-Time Weather Data Energy Simulation

Feature: Real-Time Weather Data Energy Simulation
Module: Akila Energy
Key benefits:

  • Uses live weather data to accurately project energy usage
  • Augments energy savings tracker with more reliable baselines
  • Provides up to 40% increase in energy simulation reliability

Bridging the gap between the simulation and the real world

Using real-time weather data, Akila is now able to augment building energy use simulations and improve their accuracy, providing clearer and more realistic baselines. Calibrating simulation models is a significant challenge, and using the wrong data can impact accuracy. Models may never conform exactly to reality—the best laid plans oft go awry—but when augmented with real, operational data, models become a valuable tool to generate insight.
Akila Energy’s simulation functions are tailored with real-time data and cutting edge methods to provide insights and opportunities to optimize facility operations. Using historical performance, these tools take advantage of real-world, historical performance data and use them to plan for future operations.

An ugly duckling grows up

In new construction projects, simulation models are often discarded after the design process. This is because historically accepted levels of certainty for building energy simulations are at about 68%—meaning the model can be trusted about 2/3 of the time. These lenient requirements are due to the fact that in the design stage, there’s no operational data to calibrate the model—only historical data from other designs. Because of this, simulation has a reputation as being the ugly duckling of the construction process. How can these models’ usefulness outlive construction?

The answer is, you might have guessed—more data. Real, operational data. Carrying forward the models, designs, and data from planning to operation in a building’s lifecycle is a core principle of greenfield digital twin solutions. This enhanced digital thread, a living digital record of a building can be continually augmented, turning unreliable early-stage simulations into accurate pictures of optimal facility operations. With improved data visibility and access, energy savings programs and ESG goals are more easily achieved.

Why weather data?

Simply put, because HVAC systems are typically the biggest single source of energy usage in a building. For a company energy efficiency that means they’re also major cost and emissions centers. Using the Akila platform, energy savings, emissions savings, and financial savings, are all visible within the energy dashboard.

Calibrating energy simulation requires data about the environment outside the facility.

Traditionally, historical climate data is plugged in to calibrate the simulation—but heating and cooling are done in response to weather, not climate. Using live data, fed from local weather stations, energy simulations can become increasingly exact.

Accurate Information, Quick Reactions, Better Solutions

An important part of any energy savings program is building a reliable baseline of operational energy use. But a baseline can only show you progress. A simulation reveals the goal of optimal operational efficiency.

This new extension of the Energy Savings Tracker submodule is a marked improvement in accuracy for a building’s energy simulation, making it more reactive and realistic. Recent studies have shown improvements exceeding 40% when implementing live weather data over historical data. A simulation that’s closer to reality is a better picture of an optimal functioning building—letting stakeholders see more clearly how energy savings projects are performing.

With the advantage of guideposts behind and in front, in the form of baseline and simulation, Akila offers an unparalleled advantage—targeting with precision and accuracy energy-saving goals. In order to meet these goals, a holistic view is required. At a facility level, targets might be missed. Yet diagnosing the facility-wide shortfall requires system and asset level simulation—the Akila platform allows for simulation to be done at this granular level to find critical inefficiencies.

Akila means powerful simulation tools to optimize operations

As we continue to add features in the future, Akila will improve and extend existing simulation features, including acoustic, vibration, and airflow simulation to enable more accurate fault detection within the Asset module, improved environmental quality in operational settings, and accurate energy tracking. Akila will simplify the management of both maintenance and energy reduction, while continually expanding the opportunities for users to measure and document their carbon reduction and overall operations efficiency.

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