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From The Field: Data Tagging


Data Tagging – It’s Really Very Simple

Sarah Boll, High Performance Building Program Director for Utah’s Division of Facilities Construction and Management, and speaker at the 2017 NCBC Conference in Salt Lake City, was recently asked about Utah’s data tagging and analytics strategy. Question: “Is there someone in the initial design charette for new projects that understands the possibilities of tag-enabled controls and building analytics?” Answer: “Yes, the commissioning [provider].” So we’re all familiar with everyday words like chiller, boiler and valve, right? What about data tags like curErr, device1Ref, and hisInterpolate? That terminology thing, better known as “machine language” back in the day, has graduated to contemporary human/software interactive communication. As an example, the tag term hisInterpolate is deciphered to indicate “how interpolation (estimation of one value within two known values in a sequence of values) of a historicized (previous) data point should be handled.” Or, basically, how does a certain data point fit when testing or trending equipment performance?

Labelling Needles in the Haystack

As described by John Petze, Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Project Haystack, says “tagging simply means descriptive information to explain facts about data. The simplest example of a tag would be units – degrees F or C. Another example would be a tag indicating the sensor is measuring air or water. Another could indicate that the value is measuring room air temperature versus return air temperature. So the tags: “zone, air, temp, degF” tell us that a data value is measuring air temperature of a zone in degrees F. With this information other people, or software applications, can interpret the meaning of that data for presentation, analytics and decision making. “

Sarah Boll’s feature article in the June edition of Project Haystack Connections magazine is one of several that links the value of commissioning to the value of data tagging. Ruari Barnwell, Energy Services Leader at DLR Group, says in an interview, “a building performance data analytics platform makes it practical to evaluate 100% of the results streaming from controllable points during the Functional Test phase, i.e. every terminal unit, rather than a 10% or 20% sampling.” Imagine sampling being a thing of the past!

We brought Project Haystack to your attention back in May with “Tag, You’re It! How Do You Think “Semantic Tagging Will Affect Cx?” Project Haystack is working closely with ASHRAE on proposed Standard, ASHRAE 223P “Designation and Classification of Semantic Tags for Building Data,” which is scheduled for public review later in 2018. You can find all of the tagging libraries developed by the Project-Haystack community here: http://project-haystack.org/tag. ” All work developed by the project-haystack.org community is provided for use as open source software.

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