It’s really not a question of whether your buildings are wasting money – it’s a question of how much money they’re wasting. Think about the lifecycle of building equipment – it starts with design and installation, continues through commissioning into day-to-day operation and finally ramps down with decommissioning. During the operation phase, facility managers who are diligent with on-going equipment management and maintenance can avoid waste without compromising – and often improving – occupant comfort.
Buildings today are designed to deliver energy efficiency; however, significant inefficiencies develop over time through the day-to-day operation of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and other equipment. This drift toward inefficiency can be caused by human intervention like manual equipment adjustments or through normal wear and tear and inadequate maintenance. According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory “Energy Information Handbook,” equipment that is not functioning optimally wastes between 10 to 30% of the energy used in commercial buildings!
Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) involves tools that can be used in conjunction with data collected by Building Automation Systems like Metasys® to reclaim wasted energy caused by the drift toward inefficiency in HVAC systems. FDD not only helps operators detect faults but can also point to the root cause so issues can be addressed and maintenance prioritized.
The Panoptix Continuous Diagnostics Advisor (CDA) is a FDD application that helps users detect abnormal energy consumption and identify (often hidden) equipment faults. The application constantly monitors building systems to identify problems that waste energy and impact tenant comfort, helping to optimize operational performance, identify cost and energy saving opportunities and predict maintenance needs.
CDA is an incredibly powerful tool, and we are receiving great feedback from customers who are seeing results. Let me give you an example: A Panoptix CDA customer received a series of “Flow Error alerts”. These were occurring on a particular piece of equipment called a Variable Air Volume (VAV) box. Upon investigation the operator found that a set screw on a damper shaft had actually broken loose, so the damper was not closing properly. A mechanic was dispatched to replace the set screw on the VAV. It had been delivering much more air than required, subsequently wasting energy and creating a drafty and uncomfortable environment.
The implications of this example point out the value of a tool like CDA: the customer identified a wasteful problem they didn’t know existed, saw the device and location where the problem was happening (prior to tearing out the ceiling) and had enough information for the mechanic to arrive with the right parts and tools to resolve the problem – the first time. Not only did the customer achieve reduced energy costs and improved comfort, they were able to do so in a very operationally-efficient way.
There has been a lot of buzz lately around FDD and other advanced analytics. What do you think of the future for applications like CDA?