Ongoing commissioning is not always about the Energy Savings

Since 2009 New York City has required commercial buildings larger than 50,000 ft2 to be retro-commissioned or ‘tuned-up’ every ten years based on the premise that a commissioned building is a more energy efficient building.

That’s true, a commissioned building is more efficient, but there is a lot more ‘value’ when looking at the big picture.

Continue reading “Ongoing commissioning is not always about the Energy Savings”

Building analytics then and now.

I recently purchased a virtual reality (VR) headset and used it to visit places around the world in Google Earth. I flew over petabytes of data towards South America and began searching for Huanchay, a small district 8,500 feet high in the mountains of Huaraz, Peru. The remote village has just one main road and is not an impressive showcase of VR technology. I knew there would be no street views or panoramic photos of Huanchay. I was looking for a grainy satellite image of a 600 square foot adobe house that I helped design and build 8 years ago while getting my master’s degree in solar energy engineering at UMass Lowell.

Continue reading “Building analytics then and now.”

Coil “Crime Scene” Investigation

Operational forensics is the practice of using building automation system data and data analytics to determine the sequence of events leading up to an incident and to determine root cause.

The Executive Overview

Imagine walking into your facility on a Monday morning to find water covering the floor.  Water damage is everywhere – mechanical rooms, laboratories and office spaces.  The laboratory experiments and the complex machinery used to run the experiments are damaged.  The office computers, paperwork, chairs and carpets are wet.  As an owner, operator, user or facility manager this is your nightmare scenario.  The costs and the liabilities from such an incident can be substantial.  But who is to blame for such a crisis?  Was anyone at fault or was it simply an unfortunate equipment failure? Your first words would likely be “Get me the Facilities Manager!”

Now imagine that all of the facilities management functions are actually performed by a contractor. Does your interpretation of ‘liability’ change? Continue reading “Coil “Crime Scene” Investigation”

Simultaneous Heating & Cooling

The Air Handling Unit (AHU) preheat coil valve was leaking when signaled closed (0% valve signal), resulting in a preheat discharge temperature that was over 40 degrees warmer than the required temperature. As a result, the cooling coil valve opened simultaneously to maintain the final supply air temperature at its setpoint of 55°F. The simultaneous heating and cooling resulted in excess heating and cooling costs. Continue reading “Simultaneous Heating & Cooling”