Enabling Continuous Commissioning through Building Management Systems
The use and application of energy efficient technologies within new and existing buildings is a growing global trend. However, if they aren’t being commissioned, controlled and operated in an efficient way, are they really making a valid impact on the energy efficiency of our buildings? Building Management Systems (BMS) are installed within large scale non-residential buildings to control and govern the operation of Heating Ventilation and Air-Conditioning systems (HVAC). BMS monitor and process large amounts of data during their day-to-day operation, while the potential usefulness of BMS to implement energy optimising strategies is typically left un-utilised. There is a growing need to reduce building energy demand. Continuous Commissioning (CCx) may offer the potential to achieve this reduction through the ongoing or periodical assessment of building HVAC operation. As CCx is a cyclic process, and because BMS already monitor and process data in their day-to-day operations, they offer a potential, low overhead means of running CCx processes in buildings. This thesis reports a research project which explores this opportunity to assess and improve building operating efficiency by identifying what data and functional capabilities are required of a BMS to facilitate Continuous Commissioning. A systematic assessment of existing research and standards has highlighted a gap in industry knowledge on the specification of data required to implement CCx assessments to HVAC. There was also no definition of what BMS capabilities were important to the Continuous Commissioning process. These research gaps inspired five secondary research questions around which a mixed-method survey was developed and implemented to bridge the gap between BMS and CCx. The research methodology integrated a standard questionnaire and the Delphi method to explore user perceptions and develop a consensus of BMS requirements. Three survey rounds were distributed to New Zealand based industry experts. Each round informed the following round, with an element of feedback provided through the compilation of the previous round’s responses. This process enabled the industry experts to agree or disagree with the proposed consensus or provide an alternative insight to the questions asked. The results of the surveys were compiled to establish a definition of the top five CCx assessments applied to typical HVAC systems, data point trending requirements and BMS functions important to facilitating Continuous Commissioning. These findings were used to create a guideline for specifying BMS to facilitate Continuous Commissioning and create a soft landing for assessing HVAC during the operation phase of a building’s life. The outcome of this research bridges the gap between the specification of Building Management Systems and the requirements of the Continuous Commissioning process.