How to effectively visualize and manage multiple pieces of equipment simultaneously
Central energy plants (chillers and boilers) are the most critical components of a building's infrastructure. Not only are they the most energy-hungry, they also have the biggest impact on internal conditions when things go wrong. The question is, how can you effectively visualize and manage a central energy plant, internal building conditions AND energy efficiency all at the same time?
Inefficiency or failure of major building infrastructure like chillers or boilers can be one of the biggest concerns a building owner has. The reasons for this include:
- Chillers and boilers are the most energy hungry pieces of plant within a building – small inefficiencies equals big energy waste and big energy expense
- Inefficient plant not only results in higher than normal energy expense, but usually goes hand in hand with premature wear and higher than expected maintenance costs
- Failure of these major pieces of plant usually affects all building occupants – mass complaints from tenants when things go wrong
- If the building is a data center, laboratory or houses food stocks – losses into the millions of dollars’ worth of lost transactions or spoilt stock can be easily achievable in a measly few hours
If any of these things goes wrong, the impact for a building owner can be much higher than simply replacing or repairing the failed piece of plant and angry tenants. The end result can include:
- Loss in rent as tenants move out
- Loss of credibility in the market leading to;
- Long vacancy periods
- Lower asset value
- Legal action taken to recover tenant losses
To be able to avoid these catastrophic outcomes, there is a need for visibility and control of major building systems so that indoor environment conditions can be controlled and tuned, energy efficiency can be managed and early intervention can be made when problems arise affecting tenant conditions.
The simplest way to do this is to implement a building automation system which integrates the central energy plant and other major plant and equipment in a building and takes control of all operation. If this is done well, all building subsystems will work together and provide feedback to the central energy plant to ask for more or less cooling/heating.