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IoT Analytics and AI Are Next for NYPA’s Energy Manager Program

As the New York Power Authority scales to accommodate more state buildings, the next iteration of its Energy Manager program will bring in more IoT analytics and AI.

As the vice president of the New York Energy Manager program, Emilie Bolduc gets a common response when talking with facilities and building managers across the state as they continue to work to achieve the aggressive energy reduction targets established by an executive order six years ago.

“When I talk to some of these customers, they have no idea how they’re going to hit these targets,” Bolduc said of goals to achieve 20 percent reduction in energy use in all state buildings by 2020. “And I say, ‘we can.’”

A big part of that “we can,” has been in building a system that pulls together energy data from some 11,000 buildings across the state. For 1,400 of those buildings, that data comes from building management systems, but for most, it comes from monthly utility bills. Building managers can view energy usage month over month by building, and when they spot trends, further drill into them by manually overlaying data on, for instance, the weather.

But as the program, a part of the New York Power Authority (NYPA), scales to accommodate more state buildings – potentially 30,000 – and customers want to bring in more sources of data, this sort of “eyeball analytics,” as Bolduc terms it, simply wasn’t enough. As such, in the next iteration of its Energy Manager project, Bolduc and her team will bring in more IoT data sources, IoT analysis and even artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities with software from C3 IoT.

“New York is setting more aggressive energy targets. We cannot manually look at all of this data and do this analysis,” Bolduc said. “Could we have it be something that calls out to the customer, ‘the driver for higher energy in April was due to the weather,’ and we’re able to automate and show the analytics in a way that is much more digestible.”

C3 Energy Management will rationalize and analyze the growing volumes of data from smart meters, building management systems, end-use equipment controls, sensors, weather data, occupancy and daylight data, solar data and utility bills. The goal of the C3 Energy Management application is to allow New York Energy Manager to employ machine learning at scale, generate insights about individual customers’ energy usage, and deliver personalized recommendations to help each customer realize their energy, sustainability, and operational savings goals – adding artificial intelligence to IoT analytics, according to NYPA.

“Facilities managers are frequently asked to do more with less,” Bolduc said. “This could be a tool (to) do more with less. We’re starting to identify other types of savings, not just energy savings, but operations and maintenance savings.”

A large part of the effort will be to ensure that the building and facilities managers – who receive training on the Energy Manager software in Albany at the energy management center – leverage the software when they’re back home on-site. To that end, a new program is underway to build training materials and plans for “continuous engagement,” with managers, that includes everything from creating different personas for customers, journey mapping, videos, and even kiosks on-site at the buildings on SUNY (State University of New York) campuses.

“We’re empowering our customers to take control of their energy,” Bolduc said. “I call it the New York Energy Management program because it includes the Internet of Things, but also, the human element.”

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