Automated Fault Detection for AHUs

Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system energy consumption on average accounts for 40% of an industrial sites total energy consumption. Building systems, of which HVAC is one, rarely perform as well in practice as anticipated during design due to improper equipment selection or installation, lack of commissioning, or improper maintenance.

AHU operations are typically supervised and maintained by either an onsite facilities team or an offsite third party contractor. The number of AHU’s in a typical large commercial or manufacturing site HVAC system often outnumbers those supervising and maintaining the system by 20 to 1. This means that routine mechanical maintenance is typically carried out only when necessary due to an end user complaint, a machine breakdown or a breached alarm limit.

Studies have indicated that 20 – 30% energy savings are achievable by re-commissioning Air Handling Units (AHU) in HVAC systems to rectify faulty operation. Studies have also demonstrated that continuous commissioning of building systems for optimum efficiency can yield savings of an average of over 20% of total energy cost.

Automated Fault Detection and Diagnosis (AFDD) is a process concerned with automating the detection of faults and their causes in physical systems. AFDD can be used to assist the commissioning process at multiple stages. 

IERG have worked in collaboration with i2e2 on the development of an AFDD tool since 2011. The beta version of this cross BMS platform, cloud based tool is now operational across seven commercial and industrial sites. To date, over €160,000 of energy savings have been idenfified by the tool and have subsequently been verified by site survey by the IERG team.


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