The built environment makes up 39% of global CO2 emissions, 28% of which is because of operational inefficiencies stemming from the building's heating, cooling and lighting systems (Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, 2019).

Recognising their role in the built environment, tier 1 high-tech manufacturing facilities, including those in the life sciences and biotech industries, are under pressure to reduce their carbon footprints. Identifying and remediating the root cause of wastage needs to be the starting point for any CO2 reduction strategy. That is where data analytics comes in.

Data analytics makes it easy to operate large buildings at their peak performance, to deliver economic and environmental benefits for shareholders, tenants and society. By optimising existing plant and equipment, data analytics provides stakeholders the control to make smarter decisions, reduce waste and improve sustainability.

Why is it so difficult to identify the inefficiencies we all know exist?

Large manufacturing facilities are incredibly complex to run. The building’s HVAC system alone typically comprises an existing Building Management System (BMS), boilers, chillers, pumps, air handling units among others that are used to control and maintain temperature, air quality, ventilation and overall comfort.

Here lies the root cause of wastage. These assets, which are managed by facilities management (FM) professionals, create thousands of alarms and alerts that raise issues when something is not performing as it should. The alerts vary in urgency and distinguishing the level of importance can be an impossible task. There are also many millions of data points that often go unused.

With every asset designed to run as efficiently as possible, over time they can drift further and further away from their optimal performance, causing wastage.

Here’s why:

Multiple vendors

  • With many vendors tasked with different priorities, managing workflows can be confusing. Without open communication, priority issues can lag over long periods.

Legacy systems

  • Within every building there is a myriad of old and new technologies that have been purchased to solve issues. With limited interconnectivity, they operate in silos, causing inefficiencies to continue.

Lack of transparency

  • Proprietary systems such as the BMS contain valuable information that isn’t always accessible. Without data being easily accessible for interpretation, it can cause slow decision making.


  • The harder a building's assets work, the more exposed it becomes to incidents and failures. Without real time analytics, preventing these breakdowns can be almost impossible.

Increasing costs

  • With the cost of energy increasing and the carbon tax reaching €100 per tonne, smart capital planning can be challenging without the visibility of data.

Limited resources

  • Facilities Management staff lack time and headcount to optimise the HVAC plant and equipment. Data analytics gives time back to FMs by pinpointing priority issues in near real time.

These factors all create inefficiencies that if allowed to drift over the long term, can cost building management through perpetual rises in energy usage, CAPEX, OPEX and even down to the misalignment of people. 

Data analytics: we all have it, we just need to use it

There are a myriad of different systems within the building that produce various data types. Figure 1 below provides an example of all the various data types a typical FM uses to distinguish what priorities matter most within a high-tech manufacturing facility.

Figure 1

Assuming operations teams can extract this data, interpreting it often requires third party input.

Through advances in technology, we can now obtain actionable insights out of data via a four-step process that aligns with ISO500001:

  1. Extract
  2. Digitise
  3. Prioritise
  4. Optimise

Figure 2 below represents the circular flow of information from the manufacturing facility through to optimisation. This information flow is an infinite process that optimises assets and ultimately stops the drift in the long term. It keeps stakeholders accountable at each step in the process and provides much needed visibility and transparency in decision making.

Figure 2

The ‘secret sauce’

When implementing technological innovations such as data analytics software, to ensure it is working to its full capacity, it is important that it is merged with people. This ‘collaborative intelligence’ is the ‘secret sauce’.

People will still need to drive technology to make full use of its information. Without human interaction, the data will remain unactioned and inefficiencies will reemerge. If technology enables asset optimisation, then people drive it.

This creates long-term stability and helps create value by:

  • Empowering technicians to make data-led decisions;
  • Upskilling teams to identify and remedy faults therefore reducing reliance on third parties;
  • Improving onsite energy literacy;
  • Improving the collaboration between all stakeholders;
  • Prioritising workflow management to identify urgent actions.

In addition, a holistic data analytics provider should assist onsite teams with in-house technical engineering support that acts as part of the wider facilities management team. This helps FMs by reducing the complexity of operation. For example, a data analytics provider can pinpoint the exact cause of wastage and notify onsite teams only if action is required.  

A smarter, faster and more cost-effective approach to climate change

A good technology provider will help all stakeholders make smarter, faster and more cost-effective decisions based on data-driven insights. This is because the data, which was previously siloed, is now readily accessible for all stakeholders to action.

By optimising assets for peak performance, the following outcomes can be achieved:

With data now being collected, monitored and analysed in near real time, many of these benefits including reduced energy usage can be realised within weeks of deployment.

Over the long term, the benefits widen and become almost intangible. Whether it is value through empowered teams, collaboration, control or transparency, a good data analytics provider will stop the ‘drift’. FMs can eliminate wastage, provide baselines for current energy/CO2 levels, and benchmark the facilities' performance both internally and externally.

Asset optimisation is a byproduct of data

With increasing pressure on everyone within the built environment to reduce their carbon footprint, data analytics should be the first step in any CO2 reduction strategy.

As a byproduct of using data analytics to manage performance, asset optimisation draws maximum value out of existing plant and equipment to create a more efficient and effective operation. This delivers significant benefits to all stakeholders, including reduced downtime, improved compliance, and ultimately lowered CO2 emissions.

Technology is only an enabler though, people are still the key to its success. Empowering existing teams gives the control needed to make smarter decisions, reduce waste and improve sustainability.

About CIM

CIM’s innovative, SaaS based building analytics software helps run large buildings at their peak performance. Our platform integrates building analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and technical engineering support to improve efficiency, sustainability and comfort across any building type. PEAK offers a uniquely collaborative and transparent end-to-end process that optimises buildings, achieving faster and smarter outcomes, and delivers economic and environmental benefits for building owners, operators, tenants and the wider community

CIM has a proven industry track record across many industries, including; large high-tech manufacturing sites, global life sciences facilities, large real estate investment trusts, retail and property portfolios. Global Fortune 500 companies partner with CIM to optimise and future-proof their assets resulting in actionable data-driven insights on the operational performance of their sites. We have offices in Australia and Europe.

To find out more, visit us at 

Author: Paul Walsh, general manager EMEA, CIM. Leading CIM’s European expansion, he joined the firm with a passion for combatting climate change and using disruptive technologies to remove the barriers delivering demand-side energy savings for large property owners. Prior to joining CIM, he led the Johnson & Johnson Ireland Energy Team, delivering more than 15,000MT of CO2 reduction programmes while also working on several sustainability initiatives. With 20 years of industry experience in delivering energy savings, Walsh is a certified energy manager with a bachelor of technology (hons) in manufacturing technology and an MBA from the University of Limerick.