Diagnosing Energy Performance Up and Down the Building System Hierarchy

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The team at KGS Buildings makes a compelling case for a modeling approach to whole-building energy assessment that also supports a continuous and connected process as you move up and down through a building system hierarchy.  Diagnosing a detected anomaly, for example, can require examining operational efficiency of the HVAC system as a whole, then a series of VAV’s all connected to one AHU, then an individual AHU or an individual VAV, etc.  Sometimes called hierarchical rule-based FDD, or monitoring-based commissioning (MBCx), software suites like  KGS Clockworks™ have a Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) knowledge base at the core with decades of accumulated performance data, made accessible with the latest data search methods.  They can provide an enterprise view across multiple buildings and multiple building automation system platforms down to individual equipment by comparing data collected from each facility to its library of diagnostic code data.  Clockworks’ library incorporates cooperative research and development with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) on diagnostics for outdoor air economizers and whole buildings as well as retuning algorithms that identify operational inefficiences leading to comfort and maintenance problems and excess energy consumption.  A book on the topic, entitled Automated Diagnostics and Analytics for Buildings, has just been released by authors from PNNL and the University of Florida as reviewed here by Ken Smyers of ControlTrends.org.

As KGS Partner, Nicholas Gayeski, explains in a recent whitepaper, “A central challenge for Automated FDD is the need to deploy diagnostics across many different building profiles, systems and types of equipment. Effective solutions must avoid re-writing diagnostics with every new building, which is cost prohibitive, while at the same time avoid false positives. Clockworks™ addresses both of these two priorities with a centrally managed code set that is customized to individual facilities through a scalable software configuration architecture that enables rapid deployment. This means that a complete library of diagnostic code can be rapidly applied to individual buildings, entire campuses or even large building portfolios by mapping point, equipment and system parameters directly into an internal online tool that augments the central diagnostic code without re-inventing the wheel. This is referred to as mass-customization.”

More about the KGS Clockworks approach can be learned in these two articles: the first from O’Reilly Media and the second from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology News Office.

Clockworks™ prioritizes the results by energy cost, as well as comfort and maintenance on a 0-10 scale. All results from equipment and system level analyses appear in the punchlist that you see above according to the date range selected. This list can be sorted by portfolio or individual building, as well as equipment class and type of analyses. This allows a user to drill into a specific building, piece of equipment, or type of analysis. The figure above illustrates the results of diagnostics across a portfolio with a daily interval of 24 hours.

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