Changes to the Purrmetrix webservice

It’s been quite a year.

Every bit of our service has expanded: customer numbers, project numbers, number of buildings, analyses and hardware served. Thank you to everyone who has used the service and given us very useful feedback.

Based on that feedback, it’s time to make some changes to the webservice. Our aim here is to make it more intuitive and to add some extra features.

The changes will go live over the next couple of weeks, so let’s take a little tour:

1.Webservice layout

The most obvious difference is that we have moved the projects menu and the views menu up into the top bar. This frees up the full screen width for visualisations and analytics. To switch between projects or to add a project you now need to click on the drop down menu in the top bar.

Can’t see what you are looking for? The drop down menus support scrolling.

Webservice temperature analytics

You’ll still be able to name the project and set it up in the project dialogue box (which you enter by clicking on the title of the project).

Similarly, if you want to set up a new analytics view, you click on the drop down menu and select the view you need. It will open in the main screen and you can add your kittens from your libary (the section with ‘Your Things’ at the top) or from other views.

Temperature analytics webservice

2. Checking (and removing) kittens

As before, if you have a kitten in your hand and want to know which one it is, you can squeeze its face and the kitten in the webservice will turn red:

Temperature analytics webservice

BONUS TIP – for power users if you activate the magnet at the top right hand corner of each view, every time you squeeze a kitten it will add itself to the view.

Removing a kitten from a view is also simplified – when you pick up a kitten from within any view, a trash can will appear in the bottom right of your screen. You can drop kittens in them and they will disappear from the view you had selected them from. Note they will stay in all other views in the project, UNLESS you take them out of the project library view (at the top) and trash them. This will cause that kitten to disappear from all views in the project.

3. Scrolling through graphs

As well as making graphs much quicker to deliver information, we have activated a click and drag zoom to help zoom in and out on graph data. Here’s how it works: you place your mouse in the middle of a graph, click and drag either backwards (left) to zoom out, or forwards – right – to zoom in. The longer you drag for, the bigger your zoom.

Temperature analytics webservice

4. Mean/max/min for graph views

For graph views, we have added ‘summary’: the ability to track the mean, max and minimum of any group of kittens over time. The feature can be turned on in the view dialogue box, which you get to by clicking on the view title.

Temperature analytics web service

Selecting ‘mean’ here produces this:

Temperature analytics web service

Helpful if you need to find out what the average performance across a zone is or track the impact of an improvement that affects many areas.

5. Project addressing

Projects and teams can both now hold address information. In future, this will allow your projects to be mapped in Google maps and potentially integrated with other localised information.

6. What’s next?

We will push these changes live in the next two weeks and look forward to your thoughts. And if you’d like to report problems or suggest improvements to performance, please do get in touch. We love to hear from you.




Why you aren’t using temperature data enough.

So here’s the thing: temperature data is the most accurate, cost effective and easily available metric of comfort for your staff and assets. It also has a crucial relationship with productivity, energy consumption and efficiency. So why aren’t you monitoring it more?

You might be relying on your BMS to tell you if your colleagues are sweating or shivering. Or monitoring comfort complaints as a metric of how things are going. As a second line of defence most facilities professionals have a thermometer in their tool box, ready to settle disputes at the point of conflict. But for most people, that’s it.

Allow us to convince you that this is a wasted opportunity. Allow us to convince you that there is a lot more to temperature than dealing with ‘too hot/too cold’ complaints.

Why you aren’t monitoring temperature enough

We don’t blame you. Temperature data as it’s presented today generally has some significant drawbacks:
1) it’s monitored in the wrong place,
2) it’s monitored using equipment that is inaccurate, expensive and requires maintenance,
3) it’s not interpreted helpfully (or at all),
4) there isn’t enough of it to answer the really interesting questions

These drawbacks mean you can never be completely sure if complaints are due to a system problem or colleagues’ personal comfort level. And that HVAC systems can drift a long way from their optimum set up, wasting energy.

Why these problems are worth fixing

Monitored properly temperature has some unique attributes

1) it’s the most important measure of your actual comfort, directly related to productivity
2) heating and cooling is one of the most expensive elements for most organisations. 20% off your HVAC requirement is likely to give you a much higher return than 20% off your lighting budget
3) it’s affordable. Measuring temperature is a well understood problem and the technology is cheap. Why spend £800 or £1000 on purchasing and integrating a new submeter for a single floor when for half the price you can not only get data on a single point but on every desk cluster or fan coil unit, allowing you to pinpoint exactly where and when the problems are occuring.


Why should monitoring heat help you save energy?

Heating and cooling is one of the largest energy uses in most commercial buildings

It’s all about efficiency – maximising your heating and cooling for minimum input. In an ideal world you would measure both input (meter data) and output (temperature achieved for that meter data) and we advocate this for a true understanding of your estate’s heating efficiency. But if you can only do one we think you should do output and here’s why:

– in every case you will have meter data anyway, from which you can make some gross deductions about consumption trends.
– meter data can tell you nothing about the experience of your colleagues. The most effective way to save energy in heating would be to turn all heating systems off, but that is not the goal of the game. The goal is to deliver just enough heat/cooling to make a comfortable work environment at the time it is needed
– meter data can tell you nothing about the location of wasted energy. It lacks context – where the heat energy is being used, whether that space is occupied, if there is an extra load on the building’s fabric. Adding location and time to heat data allows you to begin to see the context and gives you important clues about what to do next

Smart meters are great – we should know, the team at Purrmetrix has been responsible for many successful smart metering products. But here’s what they can’t tell you: they can’t tell you where your inefficiencies are occurring and what else might be happening in the building that is relevant. PurrMetrix can.

If we’ve done enough in this post to convince you to take another look at temperature data, then sign up below for our occasional series on using temperature data for fame, fortune and better facilities management.

Can temperature data save your building?

A short course on using data to improve the performance of your building. And the people in it.


One of our radiators is missing…

How often do facilities managers lose bits of their building?

More often than you might think.

The curious case of the missing radiator

Took a call from a client earlier in the year, who had a customer running a large educational estate. Many blocks of buildings, dating back to the Victorian era, most serviced from a central boiler room and a number of heating circuits. The problem, simply put, is that no one really knows which radiators belong to which circuit.

Over the years new legs have been added, some bits bypassed, whole blocks rationalised and generally, the records of what has been done aren’t complete. Now the customer wants to improve hot water circulation with new pumps on the circuits and not being sure how much capacity each circuit needs creates a problem.

Letting the data speak for itself

This is where live data comes into its own – there’s something very pleasing about putting sensors on each of these radiators and watching the radiators on plan light up as each circuit is tested. It’s certainly lower hassle than trying to do the same with data loggers and offers the added bonus of being able to identify the delay between boiler supplying hot water and it being available in the radiators.

But look closer – this is problem not confined to rambling Victorian establishments and ‘losing’ bits of a heating system. In fact it’s common to any control system that is trying to deal with shifting agendas over the years. You see it often in a BMS, where layers of different controls are added to cater for long gone meeting rooms or zones that don’t reflect the current layout. Without regular audits and monitoring, performance drift in buildings can chisel away at any gains made through investments in new energy efficient capital equipment.

Fighting back against performance drift

The first step in dealing with drift is making a regular audit part of your maintenance regime. There’s plenty of evidence that ‘retro-commissioning’ heating/cooling systems can provide an energy reduction payback in less than a year, even before the improvements in performance when combined with more efficient capital equipment.

If a full blown retro-commissioning audit is outside your resources, at least making room for regular monitoring of the basics such as run time, set point, occupier overrides, start-stop times can keep your building on track.

Before you get to the stage of losing your radiators.

If you would like to know more about how Purrmetrix analysis can help you avoid performance drift and keep your HVAC on track, contact us now.