Early Results and Field Tests of an Information Monitoring and Diagnostic System for Commercial Buildings: Phase 2 Project Report

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Large commercial buildings generally do not operate at optimal levels of energy efficiency. Performance monitoring projects have shown whole-building energy savings of 20% or more through improved operation and maintenance (O&M) practices. The opportunity for O&M savings is related to many problems, such as the lack of initial commissioning and the lack of feedback available from controls systems on the performance of building systems and components. Even greater energy savings can be achieved with aggressive retrofits.

This report discusses Phase 2 of a multi-year, multi-institutional project to develop and demonstrate an Information Monitoring and Diagnostics System (IMDS). The first phase of the project was a detailed scoping study which included identifying both a group of innovative property managers for collaboration and their most important O&M problems. The key problem we identified is that building operators lack good information on major building systems. Phase 1 concluded that information tools currently in use in these buildings limit building managers' ability to assess their O&M practices in a comprehensive manner. We found systemic problems associated with the lack of feedback available from current Energy Management and Control Systems (EMCS). Today's EMCSs are designed for control, with extremely limited capabilities in sensing, archiving, data analysis, diagnostics, and data visualization.

Based on Phase 1 we defined the following objectives for the remainder of the project:

  • To save 15% of the energy used in a large commercial building by applying sophisticated monitoring and data visualization techniques, with generalized rules to identify and correct problems in various building system, and
  • To develop diagnostic tools and data sets which create a specification for a diagnostics system.

Year of Publication



Interim Report - there will be a Phase 3 report to be more broadly distributed. No copies of this report to be printed.


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