In my previous post How to do BAS Graphics Right: Part I, I wrote about the 5 basic rules to BAS graphics I learned during my years as a controls system master integrator. If you’ve not read that post yet, I’d encourage you to go back and give a glance as it’ll put the rules below into perspective, and feel free to ask a question if you got one using the comment section at the bottom of the post. Here’s a quick recap of the rules:
9 min read
How to do Building Automation System (BAS) Graphics Right: Part II
Topics: New Construction Existing Building bas building automation system Controls upgrade
3 min read
Common VRF Issues Part II: Controls
In my first blog on Common VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow) Installation Issues I focused on issues during mechanical and hardware installation that typically lead problems during startup and pre-functional checkout commissioning. This blog will focus on controls issues identified during commissioning design review which usually lead to issues during start up if not addressed up front during design. As mentioned in the previous article, VRF systems can allow for better comfort and overall satisfaction, but if not properly programmed for the owner’s specific application, can lead to numerous complaints during the first year of occupancy.
Topics: commissioning New Construction Controls upgrade design review
5 min read
Improved Lighting Metrics for Changing Technology
Photo by Adam Rouse
Topics: Energy Efficiency Building Performance & Technology Lighting commissioning New Construction Existing Building design review
11 min read
How to Do Building Automation System (BAS) Graphics Right: Part I
Over the course of my career I have evaluated BAS graphics packages as a function of my daily 9 – 5. I have been doing this since 2002 and in those days, most BAS manufacturers barely had functioning websites. However, the products they sold allowed their vendor networks to create Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) and Graphical User Interfaces (GUI), and these interfaces haven’t really functionally changed a whole lot since those days of pre-broadband internet and before the smartphone was commonplace. Given that we may be stuck with outdated user interfaces for some time to come, it makes it all the more important that proper care is given to how the information is displayed and to ensure users can easily absorb the information they need from the BAS.
Topics: commissioning Building Data New Construction Existing Building bas building automation system Controls upgrade
3 min read
Challenges with Rooftop Units and Factory Controls
After an early morning departure and a snowy drive, my colleague and I arrived onsite to test, among other equipment, a packaged rooftop air handling unit with factory controls. At first, the unit appeared to check all our boxes, but as we dug into the details, it became clear that this would be a very expensive heating system to operate. This blog entry is about factory controls and the importance of getting into the weeds to identify issues like the one we found with this rooftop air handling unit.
Topics: Building Performance & Technology commissioning HVAC Factory Controls Energy Management New Construction Existing Building Energy Planning
3 min read
It’s All in the Lighting: A Closer Look at the CRI Method
A few years ago, while living in a small apartment in Montreal’s Plateau neighborhood, I noticed that the lightbulb in my kitchen had burned out. Naturally, I went to the hardware store to find a replacement. After struggling to read the French labeling on several different packages, I ultimately decided to go for the least expensive box of LED bulbs that the store had available. Once I installed the newly purchased lightbulb, I noticed a difference in the way our kitchen looked. Specifically, I noticed a difference in the appearance of the bowl of fruit that always sat on the counter. While the lightbulb illuminated the space, I remember thinking to myself how unappetizing and dull my fruit now looked. This exercise, though unintentional, clarified the importance of a light source’s color rendering capability.
Topics: Standards and Metrics Energy Efficiency Lighting New Construction Existing Building design review
3 min read
Understanding the Basics of a Ground-Coupled (Closed Loop) Heat Pump Design: Part 2
Thanks for following the second part of the ground coupled heat pump design. If you haven’t already, now’s a good time to go back and read Part 1. In the first part of this post, we discussed the importance of understanding thermal imbalance in a ground source heat pump system and the longevity impacts associated with an imbalanced system. Despite the issues associated with a thermally imbalanced system, there are ways to address building loads with additional technology that will further enhance the performance of the ground-coupled heat pump system, as well as provide long term performance.
Topics: Energy Efficiency solar energy commissioning Heat Pumps Energy Management New Construction design review
3 min read
USP 800 Pharmacy HVAC Testing – The Devil is in the Details: Part 1
A large healthcare client of ours recently opened a brand new USP 800 compliant compounding pharmacy, which we commissioned. We collaborated with the engineering team and the hospital during the design phase to help ensure prior issues weren’t repeated, and the hospital’s concerns were thoroughly articulated and addressed. At the conclusion of the design phase, the team was confident that the design direction was solid and would give the hospital what they were looking for.
Topics: Healthcare commissioning HVAC USP 800 New Construction problem solving
4 min read
Understanding the Basics of a Ground-Coupled (Closed Loop) Heat Pump Design: Part 1
The ground source heat pump is a wonderful technology that will be vital in achieving energy efficiency goals this century. This technology isn’t new, but it is beginning to become more accepted as a viable solution for large scale, high efficiency HVAC performance. There are two main types of ground source heat pump systems: those that are “Ground Water” (also called Open Loop) and those that are “Ground-Coupled” (also called Closed Loop), see Figure 1 below. In either case, the water from the ground is pumped to a heat pump, where heat is either extracted out of or rejected into the ground and moved into or out of the conditioned space.
Topics: commissioning HVAC Heat Pumps Energy Management New Construction
3 min read
Occupant Based Controls for Energy Savings
I recently attended the Performance Evaluation Methodology for Building Occupancy Sensing Systems for HVAC Controls workshop, which followed the annual ASHRAE conference that just wrapped up in Kansas City, MO. The workshop focused on one of ARPA-E’s research programs called SENSOR (Saving Energy Nationwide in Structures with Occupancy Recognition), and brought together a diverse group of individuals, including researchers from national labs and universities, industry representatives, design engineers, and other interested parties.