Using fault detection and diagnostic software tools reduces utility costs keeps and optimizes building systems. Learn how adopting a modern approach allows you to catch minor problems.
Old-School HVAC Fault Finding Techniques
Institutional and commercial buildings are operated through the use of several interconnected building systems. Building occupants and owners expect comfortable conditions delivered reliably and at the lowest possible operating cost. Yet the complexity of building systems such as HVAC, BAS, Lighting Control, Access Control, Elevator & Escalator, and utility management demand regular maintenance and constant upkeep and repair.
For decades, facility managers have used a five-step approach to building maintenance that includes:
A Technician inspects equipment, controls, or instrumentation or responds to a complaint about a particular area. The process of gathering critical evidence is time consuming and requires a technician with specialized skills.
For a needed repair, the evidence gathered is carefully analyzed by the technician, or a team of technicians to determine the likely fault or root cause. A. In the case of maintenance, the evidence collected is analyzed by the technician to look for any indications of abnormal or faulty operation.
Again the analysis of both a repair or collected maintenance data requires technician time, and specialized knowledge only gained through years of experience and training.
Determine Next Steps
With the root cause of the fault determined above, the technicians will now plan out the material, tools, and manpower needed to make the necessary repair.
In the case of maintenance items identified, the technician will create a plan for the proper technician to make the proper adjustments or maintenance tasks. Each building is unique, as are the technicians and skill sets available to a given building or campus. In some cases “In-House” technicians handle repairs, and in others contractors are called in to execute needed repairs or large maintenance campaigns.
Execute Repair or Adjustment
With proper planning the correct materials, tools, technicians, and proper time to execute repair or adjustment will be in place, and work commences. The technicians will document the repair and log their work in the institution’s maintenance management system.
As a best practice, a technician returns to the site of the repair to ensure that the equipment or control element has been restored to proper operation, and again this activity is logged in the maintenance management system. All of this work is planned and performed on the basis that addressing problems while they are small is more efficient and less costly than waiting for the fault or problem to deteriorate to a major concern.
While the process outlined above works, it does require a great deal of technician time. In addition, the past 40 years in America has seen the steady decline in the quantity of skilled technicians entering the building trades. Today all owners of institutional and commercial buildings are faced with extreme shortages of available technician hours and skilled building tradesmen.
The question is constantly posed by building owners: What is the best way to quickly and effectively provide maintenance and identification of potential faults in my building systems?
Optimize Your Building’s Operations with Fault Detection and Diagnostics
A quick and effective means of providing building system insights and maintenance is through the use of Fault Detection and Diagnostics software. The deployment of FDD software:
- Exponentially reduces the amount of technician time required to find faults or perform maintenance
- Identifies operational equipment faults and system problems while problems are small and emerging
- Dramatically increases the reliability of building systems
- Reduces the Utility costs of a typical building by 14% to 29%
- Reduces the Operating costs of a typical facility by an additional 12% to 14%
BuildingLogiX adds Fault Detection and Advanced Analytics on top of your existing Building Automation Systems (BAS) so that existing assets and training are preserved. this innovative fault detection and diagnostics technology increases a system’s efficiency and reduces long-term maintenance costs.
How Does Modern Fault Detection and Diagnostics Software Work?
Our fault detection software utilizes rules based analytics. We have engineered an entire library of operating rules based on the study and knowledge base of ASHRAE and NIST. When deployed the FDD rules and analytics are tuned to adapt to the unique characteristics of your building and facility.
FDD is a core element of the BuildingLogiX Connected Building Services. CBS is a technology driven service designed to Optimize Facility Performance while Minimize Operating Costs.
Let’s revisit the above discussed Fault Finding Process and add in the power and capabilities of FDD and Connected Building Services, and see the dramatic improvements possible.
FDD and CBS are connected to your existing BAS system and collect and analyze equipment and system data 24/7/365. No longer are your technicians consumed in the never ending quest to visually inspect or stroke via BAS and entire building’s VAV boxes, Fan Coils, Air Handlers, Rooftop Units, water chillers, boilers, and the other HVAC components of your building.
FDD is continuously applying engineered rules based analytics against the operating data of your equipment, systems, and building operations. Evidence truly is collected because all of the collected data is archived in a secure location for comparison and benchmarking of future performance.
In real time the FDD platform and advanced analytics are analyzing the operations and workings of your HVAC systems. This analysis never stops, and yet your technician’s time is not burdened chasing hot and cold calls, and grinding through hundreds of VAV box visual inspections.
When the data analysis determines a fault or anomaly the system immediately flags the:
- Piece of equipment
- Component of element of the system
- Fault or condition that raises concern
- Lists the probable causes for the fault
All of the above occurs with no time spent by your technicians or contracted services.
Determine Next Steps
After a fault or problem is discovered, now the technicians are brought in to plan and prepare for the next steps. Whether that be a repair, adjustment, or modification, the technician jumps in and drives the solution process forward, just as they traditionally have.
Execute Repair or Adjustment
This work is executed just as described above with in-house technicians or contracted services.
In this step FDD and CBS continue to save time and drive efficiencies. The repaired or adjustment equipment is now continuously re-assessed and the operational data recorded. So once again technician time has been removed from the process thereby saving time and money.
What Systems Benefit From Fault Detection Software?
HVAC systems benefit greatly from modern fault detection and diagnostics solutions because they have different components that facility managers don’t see. It is very common for major HVAC sytems, chilled water, hot water, or VAV Air Handlers to operate at less than optimal conditions. When HVAC and building systems aren’t operating at peak efficiency they are forced to use more energy to deliver comfortable building temperatures. FDD and CBS serving as HVAC diagnostic software pinpoints system problems early, allowing building managers to reduce costs by resolving these problems quickly. This ensures peak energy efficiency, maximizes asset value, and prevents equipment downtime. Fault detection software reads through the mountains of data and provides valuable information that normally goes unnoticed.
Data visualization uses graphics, charts, and customized visuals to communicate the right data to the right people at the right time. Our custom dashboards prioritize different data for your operations team, and our data visualization services help you analyze your systems’ energy usage and learn more about your operations.
Enhancing Chiller Plant Performance
The building’s chilled water plant is often the largest user of electric in any given building. Therefore small adjustments in chiller plant operations that save energy here and there can produce large reductions in overall utility costs. Our CBS technology platform is equipped with powerful tools to display chiller plant operations in a simple and easy to understand way. Our Chiller Plant Portal enables your facility technicians to quickly identify common chiller plant issues and provide guidance on how to adjust and restore proper efficiency. Typically small adjustments with water flow, temperature settings, run patterns, cooling tower coordination, and and tube fouling are discovered and corrective actions taken as a result of the chiller plant portal.
Strategic Energy Management
Our strategic energy management solutions allow you to monitor and improve your systems’ performance continuously over time. By making continuous improvements, tracking your progress over time you can maximize operational efficiency and reduce maintenance costs.
Fault Detection and Diagnostics Solutions Provided by BuildingLogiX
BuildingLogiX provides automated fault detection and diagnostics software that identifies problems through rules based analytics . Our fault detection software uses real time operating data to detect emerging faults and uncover system problems, allowing you to resolve them quickly and efficiently. Our automated solutions are part of our BuildingLogiX Data Exchange (BDX), which also includes:
BuildingLogiX: Providing Fault Detection and Diagnostics Solutions Since 2006
BuildingLogiX is a leading technology-driven service company that helps clients optimize building performance, reduce operating costs, and maximize employee productivity. Our solutions improve building operations for healthcare campuses, municipalities, universities, and school districts. The solutions we offer are scalable from one to 1,000 buildings and seamlessly connect to most systems installed in the last 25 years. As a brand-agnostic company, we guarantee that you’ll receive the solution that best suits your needs. Contact us today to learn more about our industry-leading fault detection and diagnostics software.