The HVAC industry has put a lot of emphasis on fault detection over the past decade. It’s a good thing, but needs to be employed in the right context. It needs to be part of an overall strategy for operating your buildings, not the entire strategy. It can be especially useful in identifying mechanical failures that need a technician to resolve and can assist your entire maintenance group to prioritize the work properly.
The EnergyWitness fault detection uses a 10 point scoring system to make it easy to understand how well the equipment is operating. A score of seven may be lower than you want, but clearly isn’t as problematic as the box scoring a two.
Our fault detection reports score space comfort, tracking conditions during occupied hours. Actuator routines score the operation of dampers and valves. Bad scheduling is a leading cause of energy waste, and so schedules and occupancy status are evaluated. No matter what the issue being evaluated, the scoring system simplifies the assessment so it can be understood by technicians and management alike. A special Low Scores report combines all the FD scores for each piece of equipment into one master report that highlights the worst-performing equipment—the places that most need attention.
Each box being scored also is connected directly to the underlying BAS data. This allows technicians to easily review how it’s operating before heading into the field. If the data tells you a damper or valve is stuck, you head to the field equipped to resolve that problem on the first trip. If the data suggests it’s really a static pressure problem, then a visit to the VAV box may be a waste of time.
Another aspect of scoring system where all equipment gets scored is that you have a built-in measurement of good. Unlike some FD systems, good isn’t just the absence of bad. In EnergyWitness, you can see how well things are running and track fine tuning, so that goal of raising the average comfort score from 8.6 to 9.2 can be measured and accomplishments shown.