The power of existing buildings
It's a question that Craig Stevenson, President of AUROS Group, has spent his life trying to figure out.
Straight out of college he began working at construction companies, spending 25 years in the industry. He's done every aspect of construction, from estimating to project management and everything in between. Frustrated by 'greenwashing' - disinformation meant to present an environmentally responsible public image - in the industry, he was driven to create better buildings.
Today, Stevenson is the President of AUROS Group, a Pittsburgh-based technology company bringing evidence-based performance to the built environment. AUROS marries smart buildings to high performance buildings, bridging that gap between building design/construction and operations in the building lifecycle. Stevenson says that the building industry is “the only industry that will invest $100 million into an asset and not know if they got what they paid for in operational performance.,” so he's dedicated his career to breaking down that disconnect. Recently, Stevenson sat down with us to talk about latest trends in his industry, the role of digital transformation in facilities, and his latest book, “The Power of Existing Buildings.”
What are some of the major trends in the facilities sector right now?
Sustainability is a big one. Back in the 1970's, sustainability was conceptual at best. Then, things moved toward prescriptive-based criteria, meaning that if building owners did X, Y, and Z, they were considered sustainable. Next, things shifted to performance-based standards, where buildings were being designed to certain performance thresholds. Nowadays, the macro trend is moving toward outcome-based criteria - it's all about how buildings actually operate, regardless of how they're designed
What is your book about?
Existing buildings consume roughly 40% of the energy and emit nearly half of the carbon dioxide in the US every year, so changing these buildings can literally change the world. Building a new energy-efficient building can take 10 to 80 years to overcome the climate change of the building process, whereas retrofitting an existing building can deeply reduce environmental impacts contributing to climate change, all while improving the health and productivity of building occupants.
How has OSIsoft been a part of your digital journey and your book?
Upon entering this business, I brought expertise in building simulation and design assistance, but was struggling to influence the outcome-based criteria that would actually make buildings perform better. Looking for a way to connect the design/construction phase to the operations phase of building, I looked at various Building Automation Systems (BAS), but found myself stuck in a black hole of proprietary data. Then, I turned to various integration platforms, which were good for data aggregation but lacked functionality when it came to data management and analytics. There weren't many options for someone looking to do trended IoT for facilities, until I discovered the PI System. The PI System's ability to collect real-time, mission critical data, store it, trend it, and analyze it made it a perfect fit for my goals.
“The PI System is foundational. It's the baseline, it's the targets and goals, and it's the outcome. It's literally everything. Without it, you don't have data, you just have aspirations.”
“The Power of Existing Buildings” has received international acknowledgments from some of the biggest names in sustainable building, and has a forward written by Wolfgang Feist, the founder of Passive House, a voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building. You can purchase the book here and learn more about AUROS Group here.