4 min read

#46: That time when 6,500 buildings installed analytics software

Results from the smart energy analytics campaign, how we'll measure Building health, use cases for the edge, and more.
👋  This afternoon, I'm honored to be moderating a panel at Realcomm | IBcon with Dean Hopkins of Oxford Properties Group, James Kurek of Brandywine Realty Trust, and Matthew Vogel of Microsoft. We’re discussing digital twins for buuldings and let me warn you: the planning session was 🔥 . If you’re attending the conference, shoot me a note.

Good morning!

Welcome to Nexus, a newsletter, podcast, and membership community for smart people applying smart building technology—written by James Dice. If you’re new to Nexus, you might want to start here.

I’m going to be keeping the newsletter short and sweet for a few weeks as I focus on facilitating the Nexus Foundations course. This might be a relief for those of you that need some time to catch up with all of our past goodies. If that’s you, hit the archive!

Here’s an outline of this week’s newsletter:

  1. 📚 What I’m reading

  2. 💡 New from Nexus

  3. 🧐 New to me


👉 If you enjoy reading NEXUS, please share it with your colleagues!

1. 📚 What I’m reading and watching


Healthy Buildings: What Will We Measure and How Will We Know?—A thought-provoking, if a bit short and shallow, look at how we might assess the healthiness of buildings and communicate it through standards. Will it be through the government, by the building owner, by a third party, or by occupants themselves? (New Cities)

Much as Morningstar and Lipper’s data driven, objective, transparent performance ratings changed the mutual fund industry 20 years ago, or TripAdvisor and Yelp’s crowdsourced, aggregated reviews changed travel and restaurants 10 years ago, this powerful new entity might be relied upon for transparent and trusted data aggregation and reporting. Consider how much attention this would get in some global capitals where the outdoor air quality is consistently poor.


Proving the business case for building analytics—The team at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab released a final report on the impact of the DOE’s 4-year Smart Energy Analytics Campaign, The story is compelling, which won’t be a huge surprise to you readers. (LBNL)

By the second year of installation, Campaign participants with energy information systems (EIS) achieved a median annual energy savings of 3 percent ($0.03/sq ft) and participants with fault detection and diagnostic tools (FDD) achieved a median savings of 9 percent ($0.24/sq ft).  

Applied across the organizations participating in the Smart Energy Analytics Campaign, savings are projected to be 4.1 trillion Btu and $95 million once EMIS use has been established at all of these organizations. Further, savings are expected to persist or increase in subsequent years as additional opportunities are uncovered.
Taken as a whole, the Smart Energy Analytics Campaign data illustrates a maturing market for energy management information systems (EMIS), with a wide range of tools being deployed successfully at scale. Over the past decade EMIS have moved from being a niche tool with great potential, to an essential energy management tool for leading organizations to improve building performance, enhance occupant comfort, and achieve aggressive energy savings goals.

As I’ve written previously, I think the statistics reported (e.g. median values) in the SEAC reports smooth out some of the difficult truths in the analytics industry. While I agree that the value proposition is proven, positive results aren’t yet evenly distributed. There is far too much variance, as can be seen in the savings results below:


Other pertinent reads from just (a bit) outside the smart buildings industry:


Unbundling the cloud with the intelligent edge—It’s always nice to see tech buzzwords described with actual use cases. This long read includes several use cases for edge computing that can be helpful in projecting its impact on our industry. (Deloitte)

Notably, edge AI is also complementary to cloud AI, with reaction at the edge and learning in the core. Resource-intensive training of algorithms can be done in the cloud and then shared out to the edge where lighter inference capabilities can quickly act on data.


This installment of NEXUS is free for everyone. If you would like to get full access to all content, join the NEXUS Pro community. Members get exclusive access to the Nexus Vendor Landscape, monthly events, weekly deep dives, and all past deep dives.

Join NEXUS Pro

2. 💡 New from NEXUS

  • PODCAST—🎧 #024: Mike Brooman on the role of the MSI and Smart Core

    • We talked about why buildings are behind, and how the problem of closed or proprietary systems extends beyond just HVAC.

    • Then we took a bit of a deep dive into the role of the master systems integrator, which is often misunderstood in our industry.

    • Finally, Mike explained the open-source effort Vanti is launching called Smart Core. I'm very excited about Smart Core, and can't wait to hear your feedback and see people get involved in this effort.

  • DEEP DIVE—Episode #24 reaction: Smart Core's potential (Pro members only)

3. 🧐 New to me

Even though the Nexus Vendor Landscape has over 100 vendors on it, I still learn about new companies/products to track every week.

Here is this week’s discovery:

Grid Edge—UK-based advanced supervisory control startup counting Hammerson as a major client. They have two products: AI for Efficiency and AI for flexibility.

OK, that’s all for this week—thanks for reading Nexus!