What We Learned From Analyzing 18 Million Rows of Commercial Buildings’ HVAC Fault Data

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Conference Paper

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To achieve ambitious decarbonization goals it is critical that buildings operate to their full potential. Commercial HVAC systems, however, experience a wide range of operational faults, adversely affecting energy consumption, occupant comfort, and maintenance costs. Analytical tools such as fault detection & diagnostics (FDD) software identify and help diagnose these types of sensing, mechanical, or control-related faults. While significant energy savings has been documented for FDD, along with limited-scale studies on technical capabilities, there is a lack of empirical data on faults being reported by FDD tools. With FDD deployment accelerating significantly over the past decade there is an opportunity to gather and analyze data on commercial HVAC operational problems at an unprecedented scale. Such data could address many questions such as: [a] What faults are most commonly reported?; and [b] How does fault reporting vary by time of year and other possible drivers? A recent study into FDD fault reporting amassed the largest U.S. dataset of commercial HVAC air-side fault records, drawn from multi-year monitoring across over 60,000 pieces of HVAC equipment. The results of this study provide granular data on fault reporting for over 90 unique fault types. In this paper we provide an overview of the research process and highlight key findings and lessons learned. This study presents an extraordinary level of detail on FDD fault reporting characteristics across many climate zones and building types. Armed with these new insights, commercial building industry stakeholders can make better informed decisions when designing, configuring, and operating commercial HVAC systems


ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings

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