Back in 2015 I wrote a blog post about ASHRAE Guideline 36 - High Performance Sequences of Operation for HVAC Systems. I referenced a spec my team at Cx Associates wrote for a BAS controls upgrade. Now in 2017, that spec, and the sequences contained therein, have been made into a fully functional BAS controlling 14 air handlers (AHUs), over 90 variable air volume boxes, and the central plant that serves them. Our firm artfully adapted the sequences to meet the needs of the building owner and the function of the building (healthcare) without sacrificing the high degree of complexity which yields the energy savings building automation systems have been promising for decades. After working on this project from specs to implementation, I can confidently say that Guideline 36 can deliver a reduction in energy consumption and improved comfort. The cost (excluding the norms of engineering labor, BAS reprogramming, and commissioning) is primarily paid through raising all ships. Let me explain.
Early this year, Cx Associates and the Vermont Green Businesses Network (VGBN) were awarded the Burlington 2030 District Director contract. Cities and towns that become an established 2030 District commit to the Architecture 2030 Challenge, which requires all new buildings, developments, and major renovations to be carbon-neutral by 2030. Cx Associates and VGBN, as the Burlington 2030 District Director, are tasked with developing a roadmap for the newly established Burlington District and assisting it to become self-sufficient.
Hi, it’s me again – two blog posts in a row! I still haven’t had the time to compile the full TMY3 comparison picture that I envisioned when I started this rant. (See my last post if you want to learn the TMY3 basics.)
I’ve been writing for a few years about the deficiencies in current energy codes regarding commercial and industrial (C&I) lighting efficiency requirements. The problem isn’t fixed, even though I hear people decrying how the code is so stringent, they won’t be able to design buildings that exceed it.
I recently attended the Health Care Construction (HCC) Certificate workshop in Seattle, Washington. This event, organized by ASHE (American Society for Healthcare Engineering) and WSSHE (Washington State Society for Healthcare Engineering), was directed towards contractors, facility managers and construction project managers in healthcare. ASHE offers many certifications, workshops and education opportunities for different audiences in healthcare. This post will discuss this workshop and a few points I found particularly important (there were many!).
What is RS-485 and what does it have to do with buildings or building controls? If you’re asking this question either you’re just curious, or maybe something isn’t working quite right and you’re Googling to find an answer. Either way, I plan on giving you a high level understanding of RS-485 in this post, and how having a better grip on how it works can help building operators and controls contractors control their building more effectively.
Metering equipment, such as light loggers, temperature loggers, and AC current loggers can be very useful tools and sometimes necessary in the world of energy efficiency consulting. They can provide useful data on how equipment is operating and performing. I have written about metering in previous blog posts including one called “EM&V Metering: Right Place, Right Time, Right Duration” where I described the importance of identifying the correct way of deploying meters. In this post I am going to discuss the importance of verifying that meters or loggers are working correctly even before a metering plan is developed or the devices are deployed, as well as the importance of ensuring that the correct sensors are chosen for the application.
If you’ve worked in the Building Automation Systems (BAS) industry, you’ve probably heard of LonWorks, BACnet, and Modbus. These three open system networking technologies have been the foundation of most building automation systems over the last decade. They allow devices from different manufacturers to communicate data without issue (most of the time) so that a building’s chiller, boiler, and pumps may all work together as one system to give a building owner an integrated system that enables a high level of functionality.
There are two ways to operate a building: passively or actively. Operating passively means the building performs its intended function – the lights are on and the building is temperate – but no one is monitoring and analyzing the operating costs or planning for equipment issues. Actively operating a building involves close monitoring of the building operating costs, thoughtful maintenance of building systems and their operating schedules, and capital planning for future equipment replacements. There is a new (relatively inexpensive) tool emerging on the market that can help both of these types of building managers move toward simple, effective, and knowledgeable operating oversight.
A friend of mine recently sent me an article from the Automatedbuildings.com online magazine entitled “Death of the Controls Industry” written by Therese Sullivan (Principal of Building Context Ltd). The article contains summary of a presentation given by Darren Wright, Director at Arup. Darren Wright makes the case that we have a major problem in the building energy market, and it’s directly attributable to the controls business model still not being open source.