Morguard & RYCOM: Shopping Centre Smart Data Analytics Platform

Project Leads: Andrew Butler, General Manager

Anyone who, faced with a few large energy bills or concerned about their carbon footprint, has found themselves squinting at a crumpled, half-faded manual trying to reprogram their thermostat, can relate on some level to the problem faced by Morguard, owners of the the Bramalea City Centre.

In October 2017, grappling with their own larger reprogramming chore — they wanted to evaluate the needs of their 1.5 million square feet of retail space and make the necessary adjustments — Morguard decided to deploy a Smart Data Analytics Solution. Their goal was to achieve full visibility into two disparate Building Automation Systems (BAS) supporting 1.5 million the Bramalea City Centre, the fourth largest enclosed shopping centre in Ontario, and the seventh largest in Canada.

Morguard needed the improved visibility that a data analytics platform provides in order to develop a consistent approach to monitoring and servicing multiple BAS and HVAC systems of varying type and age. The site team was looking for a data directed approach that would insure that their systems operated as energy efficiently as possible.

To this end, Morguard collaborated with RYCOM to evaluate the state of the HVAC and BAS systems on-site, and develop a strategy to move Bramalea City Centre towards becoming a SMART shopping centre with a continued focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The resulting evaluation showed that energy reduction efforts through BAS control sequencing and setpoint changes were possible, and the decision was made to use the RYCOM HIVE Smart Data Analytics platform to help identify and implement these changes.

RYCOM installed a mini-PC on site to amalgamate and collect data from two disparate building automation systems. This data was stored in a relational database so that the analytics platform could start autonomously reviewing the data and identifying areas of electricity, gas or water wastage, potential optimization opportunities, and areas of thermal comfort concern.

Once issues were flagged, a RYCOM building advisor started reviewing the data and raising issues and optimization suggestions to the site team. These issues, viewable through the analytics platform with raw data links, are discussed at monthly meetings held specifically to address opportunities to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the HVAC systems on-site.

Within the first quarter of operation, 31 maintenance and optimization issues for the BAS and HVAC systems were identified with the potential of $55K in energy savings and 18,219 kgCO2-e in avoided greenhouse gas emissions annually. In addition to the energy efficiency improvements, notable tenant comfort improvements will be achieved after correcting Customer Retail Units which lacked functional room temperature sensors.

Data Analytics platforms are relatively new to the Canadian market, and Bramalea City Centre has taken the initiative to be a leader in this space. Morguard‘s investment in a Smart Data Analytics platform represents an ongoing commitment to a continuous reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. It is the most effective way to ensure that as systems age, break or change in primary function they continue to operate in an energy efficient manner. As a pilot project for Morguard in Canada, this project will enable other buildings in the Morguard portfolio and Canadian Commercial Real Estate space to learn from, and replicate this initiative.

The analytics platform provides a foundation of accurate and readily available data that can be used to support the business case for making capital upgrades which lead to further energy savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions. RYCOM Building advisors can assist the site team with gathering and presenting the right data and energy calculations to support budget requests for these initiatives, as well as helping the site to apply for relevant utility incentives.

This is the grand scale, high-tech, environmentally responsible version of reprogramming your thermostat and then going over several times a day to tap it to make sure it’s not stuck.