Using Data in the Commissioning Process
Our buildings are overflowing with HVAC, lighting, and energy consumption data that more often than not stays hidden in a controls system. Monitoring-based commissioning (MBCx) is the process of using this data to help ensure the buildings systems are operating properly. This digital connection to buildings during commissioning enables us to go faster and farther in ensuring a buildings systems are operating properly.
Here are three key advantages of MBCx:
- Hit the ground running: If you set up an MBCx platform before the commissioning agent does HVAC testing, it allows the computer algorithms to make a first pass at identifying non-functioning components or sequences. Having this information in hand and specific deficiencies to look into before starting a functional performance test can help acceptance testing efforts go much smoother.
- Energy Visualization: I've asked building operators in the past how much money is spent operating an air handler system, and for the most part there's either no response or a wild guesstimate. With MBCx, a software dashboard is set up to display energy use and costs for each HVAC system, so a look into how much each system costs to operate is just a click away. With better information on the energy using systems in buildings, it is easier to identify operational faults, or prioritize maintenance and system replacements.
- Make your building work for you: Monitoring-based commissioning platforms can provide owners and operators with tons of insights into their building such as CO2 emissions, thermal comfort ratings, energy star scores, and HVAC system faults. It's the process of compiling and connecting all of that data and turning a building into a smart building. But there's so much noise in the marketplace with so many different software solutions. We want to stress the importance that you need to take action on the data to make it actually have value.
The following image depicts one week of faults identified on an air handling unit and a sample of the supporting data.
As we continue to add more square footage to the built environment, incorporating monitoring based commissioning is a sure bet to improve the energy efficiency of any building, and a low cost method to minimize environmental impact.
DLR Group is an approved MBCx service provider in the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program and holds certifications from the following organizations: AABC Commissioning Group (ACG), Building Commissioning Association (BCA), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), National Environmental Balancing Bureau (NEBB). Our commissioning team includes Certified Commissioning Professionals, Certified Energy Managers, Professional Engineers, ASHRAE Certified Building Energy Modeling Professionals (BEMP), Building Energy Assessment Professionals (BEAP), and High Performance Building Design Professionals (HBDP).