Friday, June 9, 2017

Monitoring-Based Commissioning (MBCx)

Shawmut Design and Construction recently delivered a monitoring-based commissioning (MBCx) program to one of our museum clients. The program by Panoramic Power uses clip on meters that take current readings every 10 seconds and sends them wirelessly to a local hub. Data is then sent off-site to their servers to be processed and displayed on a customizable dashboard. We're now able to remotely view the equipment and add rules to alert us if there are any opportunities for increased efficiency or indications of potential problems.

The images in this article show our work on some Multistack chillers. We’re monitoring all three phases of each of the three modular chillers in the museum. The image below shows the installed clip on sensors and the one above shows Chuck checking the amperage on his handheld meter to double-check the readings. A screenshot from the dashboard is included at the bottom, which shows how each of the three modules performed during the day. This information is available real-time and stored for long-term data analysis.

Once the sensors were installed and mapped, we added rules to alert us of any potential issues. We’re checking if any of the compressors are short cycling, if we’re not rotating through the three chillers to spread out the run time, if we have an overly high electricity draw from any one chiller, etc. The program is set up to automatically send a work order through the building’s computerized maintenance management system anytime an alert is triggered. We’re tracking chiller electricity consumption versus outside conditions and using the museum’s electricity tariff to show the cost to run the chillers on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. We are also monitoring the chilled water pumps, fluid coolers, and other components so we can a full picture of chiller plant efficiency and track the overall kW per ton. There are similar sensors on other equipment throughout the museum, from air handling units to computer room air conditioners.

Monitoring-based commissioning is now a very accessible technology. It is cost effective and can quickly pay for itself through energy savings. Clients not only save money, they also get increased reliability as MBCx allows for predictive maintenance to correct potential issues before they become a problem. Definitely something worth considering for complex buildings and anything with critical use equipment.

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