Big data is a phrase that has been bandied around in the HVAC and construction sector for some time, yet many consider that the promised revolution is too slow in coming. Hesitancy, cost and a lack of digital skills to interpret and implement the opportunities that exist is being blamed for a sluggish adoption of new technology in the built environment.
Experts are now encouraging the sector to cut through the noise about smart buildings and data so that they can take advantage of the opportunities and monopolise on the quick return on investment and value of the data.
Why is data so important?
Data helps us understand how people use spaces and how systems perform in the real world. If collated and interpreted properly, it will help engineers build and retrofit more effectively and create more sustainable buildings to help the UK towards its target of becoming Net Zero by 2050.
What technology is available?
The control systems that are now available can manage a wide range of building systems, not just heating, ventilation and air conditioning. They can manage lighting and other electrically powered equipment. Furthermore, the return on investment is fast. The money that can be saved through reduced energy use is significant, particularly for large buildings and big energy users. Planners and end users are recognising that building control is vital to business continuity and essential for reducing environmental impact.
Why the hesitation?
Adopting data and automation seems like a no-brainer but take up has been slow. This is partly because of a skills lag in data-led design. In many cases the data is available but the data analysts and design engineers who can interpret that data within the building management discipline has been lacking. A few years ago, few people in the industry could have predicted that we would suddenly need engineers with such a deep understanding of system integration, programming and software. All these skills help the design engineers and project managers to communicate the benefits to clients and stakeholders, which creates more demand and investment.
Procurement and recruitment
The procurement and contracting process itself is another area where major change is needed if the industry is going to truly embrace the benefits of technology and data. By sharing data to identify operational inefficiencies and by working in partnership with others in the industry, a new positive mindset can be created that will enable progress.
Just as important is a structured programme of training and development, which will educate and upskill engineers in new technologies and create the controls engineers, software engineers and data specialists that will be needed to implement change.
Do you have a need for digital engineering skills to help your business grow? Thornhvac has been recruiting in the HVAC and construction sector for over 20 years. Call us on 0115 871 4777.
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