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Is Data the New Natural Resource?

May 15, 2017 11:24:10 AM

We recently attended the U.S. Green Building Council IMPACT conference in St. Paul, MN. We were fortunate enough to hear President and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council, Mahesh Ramanujam, speak about data being the new natural resource. While many of us may not logically group it into the same category as our water, minerals and forests, there’s no denying that it's everywhere around us and is only expected to increase year after year. Companies like ours don’t just prosper on data, but much like humans require water to live, 75F needs data to stay afloat.

Big Data as a Natural Resource- Forest, Water & Big Data

According to SAS, Big data is a term that describes the large volume of data – both structured and unstructured – that inundates a business on a day-to-day basis. But it’s not the amount of data that’s important. It’s what organizations do with the data that matters. Big data can be analyzed for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. 

It’s fascinating to think about the sheer amount of data that’s captured on you every day. From your smartphone or Fitbit, to your digital footprint tracked via your PC or tablet, companies are recording information every minute of every day. Social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook record details that are provided directly by their users. With nearly 2 billion active Facebook users alone, just imagine how much information they’re able to pull on each individual user. Now on a broader level, imagine how that impacts the patterns and trends that result from aggregated data when looking at different groups like generation X vs. milennials or women vs. men.   

Examples of Data Collecting: Smart Phone, Fitbit & Personal Computers

According to Construction in Focus, the U.S. Green Building Council President, Mahesh Ramanujam, speaks to data as “the new natural resource” to promote sustainability. “When we look at green building, there is a lot of anecdotal as well as analytical information out there. So our job is to now curate content in a systematic manner… the data has to tell the story.” 

President & CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council, Mahesh Ramanujam with 75F CEO & Founder Deepinder Singh

According to a GreenBiz interview, Scot Horst, CEO at Arc Skoru Inc. was interviewed about how Arc ties into LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). We believe that performance is the future of all rating systems and that data is the greatest truth teller,” says Scot. LEED is the U. S. Green Building Council's rating system that appraises the environmental performance of buildings, while encouraging them to adopt sustainable designs. 

Data Points Overlaid on a Yoga Room, Indicating Captured Room Statistics

Much like Mahesh and Scot speak passionately about data, we also know its importance firsthand. Within the 75F Dynamic Airflow Balancing commercial solution, sensors pull hundreds of data points from each room every 60 seconds. The ability to collect and then analyze this data is what makes our system self-learning and smart. Without these thousands of combined statistics providing patterns, trends and predictions, our system would be nothing like it is today. Because of this, we very much agree with SAS. It is not the amount of data that’s important. It is what we do with it that matters. In our case, we use stats like room occupancy and local weather forecasts to determine patterns. From there, algorithms create an optimal control strategy to improve indoor air  quality, save energy, increase efficiency and improve comfort. All of this is for the greater good benefiting people, planet and profit. Discover how we make existing buildings greener

Thanks to IoT (Internet of Things) and cloud computing, Gartner says 8.4 billion connected devices will be in use this year, which is up a whopping 31% over 2016. So regardless of whether you view data as the new natural resource, there's no question that it's growing more abundant every day. As to how we leverage it, well that's up to us.  

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Kristen Johnson

Written by Kristen Johnson

Learn How We Make Buildings Sustainable

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