ActiveBAS Introduces an Intuitive AI HVAC Technology

In the dead of summer or winter, anything you would hate to live without is your building’s HVAC system.

Particularly, HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. For a building, an HVAC is the cornerstone of its mechanical system. It maintains thermal comfort for building occupants and ensures the indoor air quality doesn’t deteriorate.

A factsheet by the Australia Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment reports that an HVAC system accounts for approximately 40 percent of a building’s total energy consumption. Energy-effective modifications can, positively, lower this percentage.

This is the very motivation that, to date, HVAC units have undergone a great deal of modifications. We have prepared this guide to introduce you to a “revolutionary” HVAC technology that utilizes Artificial Intelligence (AI) to lower your energy bills and make your dwelling more fit to live in.

AI, at its heart, is a transformative go-to tool that, if integrated into HVAC systems, can improve their performance and make them highly comfortable for occupants. AI-controlled HVAC systems work on data-driven optimization models that maintain the temperature and humidity of the premises to the levels recommended by the federal government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Reactive vs. Predictive HVAC Maintenance

To name, reactive is when a machine works on the sidelines and responds immediately when a failure occurs. A predictive machine, on the contrary, follows a rather active approach to predict failure and prevent it from recurring.

Predictive maintenance utilizes sophisticated technologies to inspect your HVAC and avoid unexpected breakdowns or scheduled downtimes. NASA reports that this mode can reduce the annual HVAC maintenance costs by up to 50 percent. However, despite their practice-based report, and other similar studies and demonstration programs, most facilities still operate in a reactive mode.

A common reason building owners cite for this is that predictive maintenance requires high cost, time, and effort. However, as mentioned in the HVAC Maintenance and Energy Savings guide by Facilities Net “The C-suite (senior executives) rarely has facility experience and (it) does not fully understand the need for maintenance. To many who establish and control budgets, maintenance is (merely) an overhead cost.” Owners should instead think of maintenance as a Quality Assurance factor that is critical to avoid unexpected costly fixes down the line.

Still like other overhead expenses, maintenance costs must also be reduced. This will not only increase your profit potential but also enhance your business value. Predictive HVAC maintenance is the most optimal technique that follows a data-driven model to keep your system running at low cost.

Data-Driven Predictive Control for Building Automation

Data-driven approach, by definition, refer to the analysis of a building’s empirical data without explicitly knowing its physical behavior. Data-Driven Predictive Control (DPC) is a broadly recognized model-based technique that utilizes artificial intelligence to improve the performance of building controls. Such systems might appear expensive at first sight, but as a report from ScienceDirect concludes, they last longer providing energy curtailment with an average error rate of 3 percent. The size and energy systems of commercial buildings are comparatively complex, and hence DPC systems are an ideal option for them. Besides just optimizing a building’s HVAC system, they facilitate property owners in a host of applications, including:

1. Demand Response Programs (DRPs)

Demand response refers to the changes customers make to reduce or shift their electricity during peak periods. Utilities particularly design Demand Response Programs (DRPs) offering financial incentives to incite energy users to do so. This helps them maintain system reliability and prevent blackouts or outages.

EnPowered is a rising energy management organization and a DR aggregator in Ontario. It manages a pool of load reduction resources from a variety of customers across the province.

In 2019, EnPowered competed along 22 competitors and earned a prominent position in provincewide DRP. For commercial building HVAC systems and other operational equipment, it has developed a predictive control API. The API can analyze price spikes in advance to help customers save up to 93 percent of their energy costs during peak demand periods.

2. Emergency Repair Prevention

As the name suggests, emergency repair prevention involves implementing measures that eliminate the need for emergency repairs. Such applications evaluate the system performance to identify errors and spring into action to optimize it in real-time.

KGS Buildings is a private SaaS agency globally recognized as a leader in developing Automated Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) software. FDD is a smart cloud-based clockwork that you can connect to your existing BAS for real-time system analysis and optimization.

Copper Tree Analytics is another veteran when it comes to “repair prevention.” Kaizen FDD is a Fault Detection and Diagnostics platform by the company, renowned for several features, including:

  • System-centric reporting 
  • Key Performance Metrics (KPIs)
  • An actionable insight management portal

3. Power Demand Prediction

Power demand forecasting is a significant factor in the planning and optimization of modern power systems. Such applications use AI-based algorithms to analyze your electricity consumption patterns and tailor the system to implement energy-saving features.

Verdigris is a tech company committed to making buildings smart and environmentally responsive. They have helped a plethora of customers save money by providing useful insights into the energy administration of their building.

Verdigris APIs help owners compare their building’s HVAC, and other energy end uses to CBEC standards. The APIs analyze building data to make power demand predictions and provide improvement suggestions that lower utility bills and enhance comfort.

4. Automated Modeling

Automated modeling is an AI-based process of generating intuitive models for complex physical systems. Modelica is a well-established modeling and simulation language developed by a non-profit organization, “Modelica Association.” 

The language is used to illustrate complex building models such as HVAC, control, and plumbing systems to help owners analyze their building’s behavior before and after a fault occurs. Commercial businesses particularly use Modelica to design efficient building systems that help them achieve a higher comfort level while maximizing energy savings.

Modelica Association has also developed an extensive open-source library, “Modelica Standard Library,” containing more than 1500 prepared models for commercial building owners.

5. Equipment Rating

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sponsors an equipment rating system to discriminate tech-savvy energy products. Such efficient HVAC equipment offer year-around benefits, including:

  • Reduced operating expenses
  • Better environmental control
  • Enhanced tenant comfort

Augury is a well-established provider of predictive maintenance solutions for commercial and industrial sectors. Its comprehensive Machine Health platform uses AI to identify equipment malfunctions and generate actionable insights to help you eliminate them.

6. Cost Analysis & Management

Analyzing your building’s energy costs is critical to ensuring sustainable building operations. Not only that, it keeps your costs down, but it also enables you to calculate key metrics across your portfolio.

Aquicore is a leading commercial real estate software agency focused on helping building owners make their energy meters efficient. Aquicore’s Analytics & Reporting is a smart tool that utilizes advanced AI technologies to help organizations make well-informed decisions for better results.

Building owners can track the performance of their portfolio assets from a single user-friendly platform, without having to reconcile databases manually.

EnerControl: The Best Data-Driven Predictive Control Tool

Veritably, artificial intelligence-controlled HVAC systems are a great way to edge forward towards unmatched comfort and convenience. ActiveBAS is at the forefront of developing smart energy management solutions that use adaptive AI to help building owners track, analyze, and optimize their energy use in real-time. EnerControl is one smart tool by ActiveBAS designed to help you gain control over your building’s mechanical equipment.

Once you launch EnerControl, it wades through your energy management system and implements real-time HVAC optimization techniques to make it smart and energy-efficient.

If you’re looking to make your building smarter, contact ActiveBAS to learn how we can help you smarten up your building at no-upfront costs.

References:

HVAC-HESS. (2013, September). Factsheet:HVAC Energy Breakdown. Retrieved June 7, 2021, from: https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/energy/files/hvac-factsheet-energy-breakdown.pdf

NASA (1994, December). Predictive Maintenance Program. Retrieved October 12, 2020, from: https://llis.nasa.gov/lesson/849

Facilitiesnet HVAC Maintenance and Energy Savings. Retrieved October 12, 2020, from: https://www.facilitiesnet.com/hvac/article/HVAC-Maintenance-and-Energy-Savings–10680

BEDES-Building Energy Data Exchange Specification, U.S. Department of Energy. Equipment Rating. Retrieved October 12, 2020, from: https://bedes.lbl.gov/bedes-online/equipment-rating

Science Direct (2018, September) Data-driven Model Predictive Control Using Random Forests For Building Energy Optimization And Climate Control. Retrieved October 12, 2020, from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306261918302575