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Retro Commissioning HVAC systems with IoT Saves Energy

Varying Occupancy

You may have heard of the term Retro Commissioning but what does that actually mean and how can IoT be used to save energy?

Retro Commissioning is a process whereby Commercial M&E and HVACR systems are returning equipment settings that have drifted out of the original since the handover and building testing and commissioning phase, back to its optimal operational specification.

What savings are possible?

By implementing a a proven retro commissioning programme, operating cost savings could be between 25 to 40 percent depending on the benchmarking of the property’s current operating costs.

The benefits are obvious: Energy savings, improved equipment life, less maintenance, and much more. Also since Covid-19 with varying occupancy and an increased focus on Indoor Air Quality there is an even greater need to revisit the building operations and M&E systems to match the needs of the occupants.

Why is retro-commissioning such an important strategy for re-commissioning a building and saving energy?

There are multiple benefits, not limited to:

  • Improved mechanical system and equipment operation beyond routine operation and maintenance,

  • Optimised HVAC control strategies and sequences of operation of the mechanical HVAC system.

  • Improved equipment performance leading to longer life spans, more reliability, and fewer repairs.

  • Lower energy costs to operate the systems.

  • Matching M&E and HVACR systems usage to varying occupancy.

  • Improved temperature and humidity control for occupants.

  • Improved indoor air quality by reducing infiltration through the building fabric, and ensuring outside air intake is sufficient.

  • Reviewing air balance in occupied areas for proper air circulation and net positive indoor air pressure.

  • A preventative maintenance plan and an ongoing re-commissioning plan.

Whats involved with IoT monitoring based commissioning?

During a building survey, the purpose is to identify Energy saving Retro Commissioning opportunities, thereafter our IoT specialists will install SmartIoT monitoring equipment such as IoT enabled sub-utility meters, battery powered temperature and humidity sensors, occupancy sensors and IAQ sensors and perform trending using the facility’s control system using periodic remote access by the our IoT team.

The IoT specialist team will identify the as installed drawings and see if they match the current equipment settings as well as any changes to floor and HVAC layouts, then perform data recording and trending to verify the anticipated results of retro commissioning processes over a typical 12-month period.

Occupancy monitoring

The workplace has changed totally since Covid, especially with hybrid working and the need for Improvements to ventilation systems based on Indoor Air Quality. By displaying real-time occupancy data, you can understand and control how your space is being used.

You will know how many people are on each floor or in certain areas, and you can even see which specific desks are occupied or vacant, making capacity management easier than ever. This can be used to direct employees to underutilised floors or empty desks.

This enables physical changes to be made to high consuming systems to only heat/cool those areas being occupied and potentially also shut-down zones/areas or whole floors. Additionally ventilation systems can be changed (assuming dampers are in place) based on reduced air quality

Graphic showing office utilisation

It’s easy to analyse the flow of utilisation over the course of the day to identify peak hours where indoor air quality may be most at risk, and you can set up alerts to manage the management of staff in the safest way possible.

Occupancy patterns that emerge over time can give you real insight into usage trends across your office, and show you how much space you really need going forwards.

Remote Monitoring also documents activities and Energy Saving measures implemented, then updates the list of findings, updates the utility cost savings, and recommends the frequency of continuous re-commissioning.

The wide range of available IoT devices — enhances the capabilities of facility managers to do monitor-based commissioning effectively

By installing high quality IoT monitoring equipment that doesn't need to connect to a buildings IT network makes it much more secure. Sensors to monitor utility meters, temperature and humidity sensors, building pressure meters, valve and damper position transducers in the building systems can be remotely accessed by the owner’s facility manager, and a IoT Monitoring contract allow for periodic and ongoing trending and lead to a long-term strategy of re-commissioning at the facility.

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