Smart Energy Analytics Blog

Thursday, October 10, 2019: Installing an energy management and information system (EMIS) and successfully integrating analytics into ongoing practices is a significant undertaking, requiring clear planning, vision, and intentional efforts to engage all key building stakeholders. In October 2019, the Smart Energy Analytics Campaign recognized the latest wave of exemplary new EMIS installations, from Swedish Medical Center, Vanderbilt University, LBA Realty, and Universal Health Services. Read on to find out more about what makes these organizations’ EMIS special. Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Recognized for New Installation of FDD, Healthcare. In partnership with MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions, Swedish Medical Center implemented FDD at three hospital campuses, expanding from their first campus of about 1 million sq ft to 2.8 million sq ft in approximately one year. Using a customized ICONICS platform, the MacDonald-Miller team identifies faults down to the terminal unit level, then meets weekly with the operations team to discuss and plan for corrective actions for the highest priority faults.  By exporting data from ICONICS into Microsoft Power BI, the team provides management-level reporting dashboard of fault rates, total fault cost waste, and opportunities that remain to be addressed.  MacDonald-Miller is delivering FDD to Swedish Medical Center through a 5-year performance contract designed to get analytics up and running and help embed the tools into operational practices.  Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN. Recognized for New Installation of FDD, Higher Education. Working closely with BuildingLogix, their FDD vendor and monitoring-based commissioning (MBCx) provider, Vanderbilt University recently implemented FDD software in over 1 million sq ft of buildings on campus.  The FDD software is helping Vanderbilt dig into faults, diagnose problems, and verify the system fixes. When bringing a new building or chilled water plant into the FDD system, BuildingLogix develops a detailed... Read more
Tuesday, September 17, 2019: This summer an online survey was sent to all Campaign participants and supporting partners with the goal of helping the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory project team define next steps for future collaboration with building owners and industry.  Thanks to your responses, we have valuable results to share.  Owners that responded to the survey have implemented various energy management and information system (EMIS) technologies: 89% with energy information systems (analytics with energy meter data), 65% with fault detection and diagnostic systems (analytics with building automation system data), and 11% with automated system optimization (dynamically modify HVAC control setpoints to optimize energy use). The supporting partners were mostly EMIS products and service providers.  Both owners and supporting partners were asked about what elements have been the most helpful “enablers” for success for installation and use of EMIS. The enablers chosen by both the participants and supporting partners point to the importance of collaboration with stakeholders ranging from management to IT staff. We also asked participants and supporting partners about barriers to installing and using EMIS. The supporting partners and participants agree that lack of staff time to review the EMIS dashboards and reports, and to investigate and implement findings is the prime barrier. This finding points to the need to provide more time (and training) to prioritize the use of EMIS tools as a part of the building operations team’s job duties. Additionally, building owners reported barriers in getting their EMIS installed due to lack of existing metering, data quality problems, and challenges integrating data from disparate sources. Owners work everyday with the challenges and inefficiencies of working with data streams saved in multiple locations.  Last, we asked Supporting Partners to weigh in on the question of “What do you think the industry needs to bring EMIS into the mainstream more... Read more
Friday, May 10, 2019: The call for Spring award applications was heard loud and clear by Campaign participants this year. We received a very strong group of applications; each one was a solid contender with an interesting EMIS story to tell. At a webinar on June 6th 11am-12 pm PST, we will present the seven recognized participants and their EMIS implementations. Several of the awarded participants will be on hand to describe the how they use Energy Information Systems or Fault Detection and Diagnostics tools to implement monitoring-based commissioning in their buildings. Registration for the webinar is here. Congratulations to all the awardees:  Energy Performance Using an Energy Information System at a Single Site - Benchmark Electronics Energy Performance Using an Energy Information System for a Portfolio - Jamestown in partnership with Jamestown Urban Management Innovation Using an Energy Information System for a Portfolio - Macalester College Energy Performance Using Fault Detection and Diagnostics for a Portfolio - Kaiser Permanente Innovation Using Fault Detection and Diagnostics for a Portfolio - Amgen Best Practices Using Fault Detection and Diagnostics for a Portfolio - Hewlett Packard Enterprise in partnership with ISS Facility Services Largest Portfolio Using an Energy Management and Information System - Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance Each awardee will have a Success Story written and posted to the Campaign website under Recognition. If you are interested, read all 17 stories about previous winners!
Tuesday, January 15, 2019: In the Smart Energy Analytics Campaign, we often hear that organizations that have implemented FDD are (at least initially) in fault overwhelm.  So we gathered some strategies to help keep your list of faults manageable and help keep your operations staff on-board with using FDD. 1) Implement FDD gradually instead of all rules at once.  We have participants that only implement a few rules on all AHUs, or select one AHU to work out all the kinks before expanding to the other equipment.  This also gives operators time to get used to the software, correct some faults and feel successful, and not be as overwhelmed by faults.  Some common early rules to implement: Identifying overrides Sensor issues (part of commissioning the system) Add rules for issues that are known or suspected by operations staff in order to gain experience with the FDD and understand the severity of the fault Add rules for what are typically the largest energy savers: air-side economizers, valve leak-by, simultaneous heating and cooling, and supply air temperature or static pressure reset schedules.   2) Prioritize faults by energy cost waste, severity as a maintenance issue, and severity as a comfort issue.  Some FDD tools estimate energy savings by fault automatically or have ways to  program system parameters so the simple engineering calcs they use are in the ballpark.  For maintenance and comfort categories, FDD tools may assign severity rankings (1-10, for instance). 3) Increase the threshold for triggering a fault then adjust it accordingly after you address the largest issues.  For the parameters you are basing the fault condition on, you can set the thresholds wide to start with, then once you've found the largest problems, narrow the thresholds to find additional issues.  For example, the threshold could require the fault condition to be in place for at least an hour.  Or the threshold could allow for +/- 3 degrees before a supply air temperature reset... Read more