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Optimizing Building Performance During a Crisis Requires Finding the Right Baseline

33 Nassau Ave, Brooklyn.

Buildings are big, complicated structures. They have hundreds of pieces of equipment that work together in a symphony of heating and cooling, exhausts and intakes, switches and controllers, all firing up and shutting down in an intertwined daily rhythm.

Normally, a building can count on the predictable consistency of its occupants to help it be prepared for the day’s events. This is done using software that runs algorithms capable of optimizing the symphonic concert by perfectly predicting what the building will need based on inputs like seasonality, weather forecasts, and usage history. But what happens to these algorithms when life does not follow its normal pattern?

Well, unfortunately, they don’t do well with big changes in building use, and right now, with the coronavirus ravaging most parts of the world and forcing people to stay at home, almost every building is experiencing big changes in usage.


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