Accurate measurements unlock accurate optimisations

The days of reading the electricity and water meters once a year are long gone. Energy management is all about metering, presenting and analysing the consumption data and readings for all the systems in a building. Here at Allreal, we use this information for a number of purposes, including to improve the energy efficiency of our properties and to make plans for building renovations and system replacements.

People who learnt to drive a long time ago will still remember that feeling at the petrol station of having just filled up with fuel. It was motivation to maybe go easier on the accelerator on their next journey. But they would have had to do their own sums to work out their exact fuel consumption. Their car would have only gone in for repairs when it came to a stop or when the mechanic came across a problem during the annual service. Modern cars display the consumption data and so much more. There are numerous sensors collecting all kinds of data, which is constantly being analysed and displayed. We can use that data to increase our energy efficiency when driving – a hot topic at the moment. Plus, discrepancies in the system are picked up on early, which helps us to avoid expensive damage being caused. That’s good news for our planet and our bank balance.

We can apply the same thought process to properties. With our property portfolio being worth over CHF five billion, it’s extremely important to us that we have access to accurate energy consumption data. This information guides decisions that allow us to make buildings more energy efficient and operate building systems efficiently so that we can reduce carbon emissions. We just need that data to be as accurate as possible and we need to collect it as regularly as we can. “For instance, if we record the operating data and electricity consumption of a ventilation system frequently rather than just once a year, we’ll soon be able to spot any inefficiencies in the operation. That could save a lot of energy in the long run,” explains Francesco Dastoli, Energy Management Project Manager at Allreal.

He brings everything together, with the digitalisation of data collection and the centralised analysis of all available consumption data being key to energy management. Around 90% of all property data we collect will be available online in our energy management software by the end of 2024. As an added bonus, this will give us easy access to highly reliable data to feed into our annual sustainability report.

Small changes with big impact

When buildings and systems are operated as energy efficiently as possible, we are able to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. “But we also have to make sure that people inside the rented spaces are adequately comfortable.” With that in mind, Dastoli analyses and interprets the data collected from the properties centrally and focuses first on the larger areas and properties in our portfolio. “In these cases, even small changes can amount to huge optimisations,” he says. As the owner, the scope of our influence is usually limited to the common areas and building systems. But if a tenant provides us with their energy consumption data, we can help them to reduce that consumption and in turn reduce the overheads. If required, we can analyse data for electricity, cold water and heating oil, gas and district heating as well as a long list of additional data categories such as temperature, volume flows and CO2 as an indicator of the quality of the air indoors.

Building systems replaced effectively

Having access to accurate consumption data for a property also helps us with renovations and replacements for building systems. Within the context of our sustainability strategy, we’re planning to replace old oil and gas heating systems with heat pumps and other sustainable alternatives in multiple buildings across Switzerland. For environmental and financial reasons, we don’t want to get the scope of these new systems wrong in our plans. Dastoli’s accurate data ensures that the systems don’t end up being too big or too small. He’s all too happy to be able to rely on modern technology in his work – just like us in our cars.

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