Automation Consulting Services

After evaluating operations of hundreds of buildings, we determined that most operational issues are introduced during the design and construction phase. Since it’s difficult to fix built-in operational issues, they persist for many years, wasting energy, maintenance resources, and reducing equipment life.

In 2018 IDS introduced the Smart Building Assurance Program™ (SBAP) designed with the sole purpose of assuring that building operations are consistent with design intent by the end of warranty, and maintain proper operations indefinitely.

Design intent is not just EUI; it’s far more. Our definition includes verifying comfort, airflows by space, zone and floor, ventilation that follows ASHRAE guidelines and not more than required, room pressurizations, and proper operations across all modes and states. Maintenance personnel should have very little work maintaining new buildings and seldom should there be broken equipment, particularly in the first five years.

Offerings for All Phases

It doesn’t matter what phase your building is in—Design, Construction, Warranty, or beyond—IDS can engage at any phase and our SBAP services will help deliver a better running building.

SBAP Service Offerings
Project Phase Design Services Construction Services Warranty Services Ongoing Monitoring
Design Development 🏫 🏫 🏫 🏫
CD Development 🏫 🏫 🏫 🏫
Construction 🏫 🏫 🏫
Warranty 🏫 🏫
Ongoing Operations 🏫

Design services

As automation consultants, we assure the software automation performs as required by the owner. This can start during design development or during construction document development. In design development we address the approach for metering, lighting controls integration, and mechanical sequences of operation. As construction documents are created, we adapt the engineers SOO to the latest ASHRAE Guideline 36 High Performance SOO for HVAC Systems. We don’t change the engineer’s design, rather our job is to assure that the software that runs the building precisely follows design intent, and that starts with great sequences. Our SOO improvements largely fall into three areas:

  • Standardization—Expanded general section with standard themes such as ASHRAE operating modes, Trim & Respond, zone groups, hierarchical alarm structure.

  • Clarification—Increase clarity of design intent for controls contractor and owner with additions such as operating state diagrams, set point tables, equipment relationships.

  • Precision—Define concepts in a precise way so it is clear how the system should work, for example, system requests, SystemOK flags, control parameters.

Our input for the design phase includes the following:

  • Review SOO and recommend adaptation of G36 by equipment type
  • Expand the general section of the SOO to explain key concepts and direct the programmer to follow common themes applicable across equipment
  • Upgrade SOO for modern efficiency strategies based on latest ASHRAE research to optimize operations
  • Specify operational data record—a formal record of operations for the commissioning and warranty periods
  • Expand trending and data collection requirements to feed the analytics system
  • Recommend integrations between general controls and major sub-systems such as heating/cooling plant and lighting control
  • Recommend metering approach to make meter data useful to building operators
  • Define approach to integrate lighting controls with BAS
  • Define operational evaluation criteria so the control contractor has an unambiguous definition of how the building should be operating
  • Enhance graphics and user interface specifications to improve usability by the building operator to help institutionalize adherence to the high performance operations
  • Configure reporting system to be informative to operators

Our design service recommendations focus on one destination—to provide the control contractor with best possible set of instructions to facilitate their programming task.

Construction services

Our SBAP construction services focus on helping the controls contractor deliver automation code that meets the engineer’s design intent. We also support the commissioning agent’s activities near at the end of the construction phase with data from EnergyWitness. Typical IDS construction phase services:

  • Review of controls contractor’s submittal for conformance to specification, including SOO, flow and wiring diagrams, schedules, system configuration, points lists
  • Assist the controls contractor with any their understanding of advanced SOO and recommend automation architecture with field-proven choices
  • Automation code reviews of the terminal system prior to their installation to avoid widespread installation of inadequate code to reduce redeployment cost
  • Establish data flow between the control system and EnergyWitness late in the construction phase, which begins the process of capturing operational data
  • Make EnergyWitness available for the Cx agent and other team members (owner, OPM, engineer, MEP construction manager, control contractor) to view progress toward acceptance
  • Review HVAC operator screens for conformance to specification
  • Review reporting system configuration for conformance to specification

Warranty services

IDS collects operational data throughout the warranty period and establishes a permanent Operational Data Record (ODR) for the first year of operations.  [For a 150,000 SF STEM-type building that’s 80-100 million 15-minute data records!] This is the data we use to perform operational evaluations using EnergyWitness coupled with analytics and an IDS analyst. During the warranty period IDS will:

  • Create a building data model–a digital twin–that associates all points, equipment, systems, and the areas they serve
  • Configure diagnostics based on the specific physical design of the building to provide analysis of primary, secondary, and terminal systems
  • Assign analyst for the duration of the warranty period
  • Configure fault detection and diagnostic analytics
  • Perform operational evaluations, documenting the systems’ conformity to the evaluation criteria
  • Deliver training sessions for facilities personnel that cover the building’s design intent, detailed review of topics that affect everyday operations such as scheduling, zone groups, alarm management, etc., all based on their own building and operational data
  • Review hot/cold calls with the facilities personnel along with remediation recommendations
  • Compare actual operations with building energy model (if model data is available)

At the end of warranty IDS documents final conformance against design specification.

Ongoing monitoring

IDS’ Ongoing Monitoring begins at the end of warranty and provides continuous verification of conformance to operational design intent. Ongoing monitoring provides:

  • Ongoing data collection from BAS and metering systems
  • Access to EnergyWitness analytics 24×365
  • Quarterly operational reviews against evaluation criteria (pass/fail) with recommendations to address failures
  • Creation of energy baseline for automated energy savings tracking
  • Hot/cold call root cause determination with remediation recommendations
  • Trouble shooting support and remediation recommendations
  • Up to 16 hours of training of EnergyWitness analytics annually
  • Data exporting support from BAS to EnergyWitness
  • Phone and email support
See what's behind this chart.

A hot/cold call story

Room 248 on the fourth floor was reportedly blasting heat during a meeting.

Background: There are four units that serve room 248. EXC.AC4.248 and FPT.AC4.248 share one thermostat and EXC.AC4.248.2 and FPT.AC4.248.2 share another. The set points between these two systems are not coordinated. As you can see, AC4248.2 is set at 70F, while AC4.248 is set at 72F in the occupied period. As a result, overall room temperature is maintained, but one system is blowing cold air and the other blowing hot. Additionally, you can see on Feb. 14 that both thermostats are subject to occupant override.

IDS recommends that the control of the room be managed by a single thermostat, not two. Space temperature is within 0.5F between the existing thermostats so there will be no difference in comfort setting. Overall comfort will greatly improve because you will eliminate simultaneous heating and cooling.