Abstract

Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems consume over 5 quads of energy annually, representing 30% of energy consumption in the U.S. commercial buildings. Additionally, commercial refrigeration (R) systems add about 1 quad to commercial buildings energy consumption. Most HVAC systems operate with one or more faults that result in increased energy consumption. Fault detection and diagnostics (FDD) tools have been developed to address this national issue, and many tools are commercially available. FDD tools have the potential to save considerable energy for an existing commercial rooftop unit (RTU) and refrigeration systems. These devices can be used for both retro commissioning and, when faults are addressed, continuous commissioning. However, there appears to be multiple market barriers for this technology. Although there are efforts to develop FDD tool standards, currently there are no standards and methods to define functions, capabilities, accuracy, and reliability of FDD tools in the field. Moreover, most of the commercial FDD tools have not been verified in the field independently. This paper presents a comprehensive approach for bringing HVAC FDD tools into the mainstream. The approach involves demonstrating ten commercially available FDD tools installed at ten different sites, independent testing and evaluation of the FDD tools, communication with various stakeholders, identifying and assessing market barriers, creating a process evaluation methodology, and assisting utility companies in developing incentive programs. The preliminary baseline results from the case study demonstrate how the use of an independent monitoring system (IMS) can be used for ground-truth in evaluating FDD tools in the field.

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