July 17, 2020


The Passive House Accelerator hosted Anjanette Green of RESET Air at the July 15th Global Passive House Happy Hour. The event focused on healthy buildings in the COVID era. Anjanette’s presentation was both enlightening and energetic as the audience embraced the concept of superior indoor air quality enabled by Passive House building strategies. The robust dialog transitioned to a discussion on implementation. The audience seemed to assume that implementing RESET Air in a Passive House building must be a premium to construction costs.

Well, that’s like telling Passive House practitioners that building a passive house is always a premium. As we know, the data simply doesn’t support the assumption. The same holds true with Measurement and Verification systems for buildings. Done right, they are not a premium. By simply repurposing the Building Automation System/Building Management System into an Open-Integrated Operations Technology platform with a converged network, these systems are being implement at par value with x10 value. Hopefully, this post will help the readers understand how that is being implemented today.

Purpose and Outcomes

Purpose: Create an open and flexible platform that implements “best in class” technologies for each of the major four (4) measurement and verification system elements. The sole purpose of an open-integrated measurement and verification system is to empower owners with full transparency and control over building data. Without a comprehensive and holistic approach, owners routinely implement data networks that are redundant and inefficient.

Outcomes: 1) Single pane of glass to track and compare building performance of all buildings against key performance-based goals; 2) Scalable tool that enables prioritization of building projects based on building performance, first costs, and long term operational costs; 3) Converged network that provides Building Owner control over and access to all building performance data, current and historical, in a non-proprietary environment; 4) Holistic platform that enables the display of building performance data to building occupants in a dynamic yet controlled manner.

Smart Building Infrastructure

Early innovators in each of the following four (4) elements of building dashboards were pioneers in their fields. In many cases, to bring their primary solution to market, they had to package it up in a multi-faceted, bolt-on solution. While they may have been expert in one element, their solution had to span areas outside their expertise. So, the first principle we establish with our clients is “everything must be open” to enable competition at every level. This allows us to select the market leader and best application for each element of smart building infrastructure.

  1. Internet of Things (Iot). The number of IoT devices increased 31% year-over-year to 8.4 billion in 2017, and it is estimated that there will be 30 billion IoT devices by 2020 and 75.4 billion devices by 2025. The global market value of IoT is projected to reach $7.1 trillion by 2020. The risk to building owners is that without careful planning and thoughtful consideration of network architecture, the addition of IoT devices may quickly become confusing, disconnected, redundant, expensive and inefficient.
  2. Open-Integrated Operations Technology (OT). The development of an IoT-based integrated sustainability dashboard requires a platform for interconnected devices. With nearly half a million installations worldwide, Niagara is quickly becoming the preferred operating system of the IoT in the built environment. Its open API, open-distribution business model, and open-protocol support the freedom to scale up and down with meters and sensors to address key performance indicators as desired in a building. A Niagara platform connects and controls devices while normalizing, visualizing, and analyzing data. The Niagara platform is flexible and expandable within a building and across buildings. In larger facilities requiring multi-building applications and large-scale control systems, a Niagara platform can control and aggregate information to create a single, unified application. Fortuitously, the market availability for open-integrated data aggregators is not limited to Niagara. Other options to Niagara may be Distech Controls, Johnson Controls Facility Explorer, Honeywell WEBs, Vykon, and others. This is rapidly becoming the industry standard for open-integrated smart building technology.
  3. Real-Time Database and Historian. For some reason, this is the most overlooked part of Smart Building Infrastructure. Either you own your data, or you don’t. Considering the fact that most proprietary BAS-BMS systems store their data on “on-premise” computers with no backup, limited owner access, and overwritten historical data, most building owners assume that one of the vendors in the system is in possession of all historical data and will provide full and immediate access to a building’s current data.
  4. Human Machine Interface (HMI). The HMI has the most options available in the industry, so most building owners define and choose their building dashboard based on the appeal of an HMI. This is less than ideal because most HMI’s exist to compare a building’s performance against itself over time so cannot answer the question for an owner, “Did I get what I paid for?” For our purposes, the most important component of an HMI is to provide context that the building is delivering performance in operations as it was designed, proven by integrating dynamic, simulated targets with actual performance from meters and sensors.

It’s essential for Smart Building Infrastructure to permit easy retirement of obsolete IoT and easy deployment of new IoT. We achieve that by encouraging our clients to remain agnostic and own their flexible network infrastructure. That approach gives building owners transparency and access to all data to ensure that data is never trapped by proprietary IoT vendors.

For high performance buildings, there is a minimum required deployment of IoT to provide the proper feedback loops for performance. The minimum deployment includes a Whole-Building Operational Model, Primary Source Digital Utility Meters, IAQ 5‑Parameter Sensors, BAS-BMS Integration, Weather Station, and Outdoor Air Quality Station.

In the case that proprietary BAS-BMS systems, like Johnson Controls Metasys, AutomatedLogic, Schneider BMS, Alerton, and others, are already implemented, there are still options for communications using open protocol. Open-protocol communication systems include vendor agnostic protocols like OPC, BACnet or LON and are normally deployed when using proprietary closed BAS-BMS systems.

In our opinion, OSIsoft is gaining notoriety as the best in the industry at handling large amounts of building data. OSIsoft delivers an open enterprise infrastructure, called the PI System, to connect sensor-based data, systems and people. The PI System enables real-time, actionable insights that empowers building owners to optimize and transform their building’s performance. OSIsoft is the platform to collect, analyze, visualize and share large amounts of high-fidelity, time-series data from multiple sources and incompatible systems, formats, and standards to people and systems across all operations.

AUROS Group created an innovative technology partnership to provide owners the ability to visualize building performance data across a portfolio of buildings.

Summary: By creating a truly open environment, building owners have the tools and data necessary to significantly reduce the uncertainty of investing in their building(s). This novel use of technology puts control over building data and performance in the hands of building owners.


Craig Stevenson
Craig Stevenson
Craig is President of AUROS Group, which is a technology company based in Pittsburgh, PA. Craig is widely known for his role in…

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