ENERGY FACT: THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ESTIMATES THAT STANDARDS ISSUED
BY THE END OF 2013 WILL REDUCE CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS BY 1.8 BILLION METRIC
TONS THROUGH 2030.
If an air-handling unit at one of
your facilities stops working, how
soon will you know about it?
In many buildings, occupant com-
plaints are the first indication that it’s
too hot, forcing FMs to backtrack to the
However, facilities retrofitted with
remote HVAC monitoring could conquer
the problem more quickly – the air
handler’s sudden demise may trigger an
alert to the facilities team, or a metering system may notice a sudden drop
in energy consumption from the faulty
Could a remote HVAC solution
complement your maintenance program?
Read on to examine how this software
suite can improve your operations.
Investigate Your Options
If you already have a BMS, it likely
came with some basic power meters that
the HVAC monitoring system can use to
capture data, explains Jeramy Freeman,
national business development manager
for Schneider Electric. Smaller buildings
without BMS installations can use smart
room controllers and metering to collect
data. Critical facilities, such as hospitals,
data centers, or military installations,
usually have sophisticated system monitoring equipment installed that allows
easy integration of the HVAC monitoring
But collecting this much data is a
means to an end, not the end in itself.
Your ultimate goal is enabling off-site
troubleshooting and control, not just collecting numbers and measurements.
“Automated fault detection and diagnostic solutions are ideal for analyzing
historical trends to determine energy
waste and pinpoint mechanical inefficiencies and the root causes of comfort
issues,” says Freeman. “Equally important is the ability to take immediate action when HVAC energy consumption is
out of anticipated limits. It’s possible for
remote analysis and automatic correction
to be performed, but currently it’s more
typical for control actions and day-to-day
immediate corrections to be performed
locally by the building management system and service personnel.”
Data from a Distance: Remote HVAC Monitoring and Analysis
Alarming and notification capabilities
for sudden spikes are available with some
products, while others include remote
diagnostics that can help narrow down or
even fix problems from afar. Other packages can export data into CSV or Excel
formats for industry-specific requirements, notes Paul Rauker, vice president
of systems and controls at Daikin Applied.
“A retail development may want to see
what weather conditions were vs. sales,”
3 Best Practices
Though specifics will vary by installation, most users want to keep an eye on
maintenance needs and comfort issues,
particularly temperature and humidity,
Rauker says. In addition to environmental factors, consider these three tips
to optimize your use of remote HVAC
1) Pick a sensible measurement interval. Some products are capable of measuring close to real-time. Others make it easy
to compare with utility records by using
the same 15-minute k W demand interval
that utilities use for billing, Freeman says:
“By metering and recording in a similar
fashion to the utility, it’s possible to reconcile utility bills to catch any potential
2) Start small, then scale your analysis gradually. HVAC systems can yield
an overwhelming amount of data. Instead
of taking on all of it at once, Freeman
recommends first focusing on root-cause
inefficiencies, energy and equipment use,
and fault identification, then continuing to monitor and analyze remotely to
ensure cost savings are sustained and
systems remain in good working order.
This also provides users with recom-
mended projects and their ROIs, which
demonstrates a need for funding to make
“The value of big data is your ability to
extract and analyze it and come out with
a value-added action or information that’s
valuable for both the end user and third-party technical service personnel,” adds
Rauker. “You don’t want to overwhelm
people with data and then expect them to
3) Build on your data for bigger and
better savings. “Advanced opportunities
exist for customers who know their building’s energy performance and ability to control it, such as utility rate negotiations and
taking advantage of incentives and demand
response opportunities,” explains Freeman.
Janelle Penny janelle.penny@buildings.
com is senior editor of BUILDINGS.
RETROFITTING REMOTE HVAC MONITORING EQIUPMENT complements existing maintenance programs by
alerting FMs to malfunctioning equipment and analyzing energy consumption data.