Smart Energy Analytics Blog

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
Monday, October 29, 2018: One of the most rewarding parts of working with the participants in the Campaign is bringing them to center stage to be recognized for their work implementing Fault Detection and Diagnostics and Energy Information Systems. The Campaign participants are a diverse group, with wide experience: some are at the starting gate for FDD and EIS, some have several years under their belt. Since we know that it can take time to get a project up and running so that good data is flowing, we ask those participants who have recently completed their implementation to apply for a New Installation award. A very strong cohort applied in the fall of 2018. Presented recently at the Building Commissioning Association Conference in Nashville, here are the awardees: New Installation of EIS in a Single Site - Clise Properties, Seattle, WA Even with an ENERGY STAR benchmark score of 90, they found opportunities for improvement - peak demand and total energy usage are now being closely tracked and analyzed New Installation of EIS in a Portfolio - Stanford University Residence and Dining Enterprises. Stanford, CA Several years ago, Stanford University’s Residential and Dining Enterprises could not track utility consumption in a meaningful way. This changed when they added an energy information system (EIS) to track utilities and locate savings opportunities, an effort that has resulted in $450,000 savings across their portfolio.    New Installation of FDD in a Single Site - Kerry, Inc., Beloit, WI Kerry, Inc. has spearheaded implementation of FDD software at their 320,000 sq ft building. They’ve used the building analytics to show savings in almost real time instead of waiting for every energy bill In the fall we have recognized two more Monitoring Based Commissioning providers who have been supporting Campaign participants: Sieben Energy Associates – for work with The Franklin and Michigan Plaza. Sieben implemented EMIS at two large properties totaling 4.5M... Read more
Thursday, May 17, 2018: Major energy savings. Improved maintenance. Solid data management. The organizations recognized for the 2nd Annual Spring Awards by the Smart Energy Analytics Campaign have seen these benefits and more from their installation of Energy Management and Information Systems (EMIS). The Campaign is pleased to recognize five participants for their exemplary implementation of EMIS at their facilities. The following organizations were recognized at a special awards webinar in which they shared some tips for success. Each organization has also been featured in a Smart Energy Analytics Campaign Success Story. Best Practices in the Use of Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) University of Iowa - Katie Rossmann, Data Analytics and Cx Manager 13%-24% energy savings at buildings with the most focused use of FDD Energy Performance in a Portfolio U.S. General Services Administration - Chip Pierpont, GSA Facility Technologies 14% energy reduction since EMIS installed in 57 buildings Energy Performance in a Single Site The Franklin - Jerry Burin, Sieben Energy Associates accepting on behalf of The Franklin 9% whole building energy savings Largest Portfolio Using EMIS District of Columbia, Department of General Services - Zach Dobelbower, Associate Director for Sustainability and Energy 17% whole building savings for 25 buildings in the portfolio Innovation in the Use of EMIS California State University, Dominguez Hills - Kenny Seeton, Energy Manager FDD supports demonstrations of advanced technologies through easy access to data and ability to verify savings. For more details on how these organizations have achieved successful implementation of analytics: Success Stories Smart Energy Analytics Spring 2018 Recognition (slides and recording)
Thursday, April 19, 2018: This blog summarizes some highlights from our March 2018 Campaign webinar on Building Data Management: Best Practices and Lessons Learned for EMIS Installations.  For more information, please review the slides and recording here.  Data management is a common challenge for building owners. Most owners are dealing with a wide variety of control systems and meter infrastructure, often with proprietary hardware and communications, and they’re trying to pull it all together so they can take advantage of the great analytics tools out there. In many cases data is being transferred across multiple software and storage platforms, both on-premise and to/from cloud-based infrastructure.  This diagram illustrates the main parts of a data architecture common for building analytics. Each situation is unique, and each owner might have different ways they want to use their data, so there is no single right way to approach data management, but there are some key attributes to consider for any solution.  First consider what you are trying to achieve with analytics before deciding which data to integrate into your database.  Don’t do the hard work to bring all the data in unless you have plans to use it.  Data source examples include: Utility bills, interval meters, building automation system meters, sensors, and weather data. It’s more effective to have a single database than multiple versions of the same data or databases that can’t communicate with each other.  A single software application may not meet all your analytics needs, so you may want multiple applications to interface with a central database.  Often, when you buy different applications, you get different databases.  Think about what data you’d like to have in a single location for analysis.  Make sure each of these applications can use the database API.  Metadata - “data about your data” (descriptors of building systems such as sensor names and... Read more