The Power Pirates

July 19, 2010

The Power Pirates

by Kevin Box

Optimum Start is a powerful tool that learns how to save energy without sacrificing the comfort of the building occupants.  Unfortunately, in a dynamic environment, you can’t simply “set it and forget it.” 

Over time, zone controls can learn good, as well as bad behaviors.  One or two “rouge” zones could be calling for cooling much sooner than what should be considered normal.  Air and/or water flows or other mechanical issues may have these areas starved for cooling.  They have now learned to come on at 2AM to be satisfied on schedule.  More than likely, these zones are never fully “satisfied” and their dissention can spread up through the ranks.  Zone use can change as well.  Converting a conventional office or classroom into a computer lab, without modifying the HVAC service, can cause similar problems.  It could also be as simple as a thermostat in a bad location or one that’s well out of calibration.  Left unchecked, a couple of these power pirates can stage a full scale munity, enlisting air handlers and chillers in their midnight plundering.



This Zone has learned that it can only cool-down by 2.7 degrees/hour.  Not optimal!

Look first at your central plant trends for early starts to know you have a problem.  Then, go to the air-handling unit trends to see which ones are starting earlier than normal and subsequently, requesting the plant.  Then, check the zones served by these AHU’s for Optimum Start “learning disabilities”. 

If you have a CARE for Energy contract with ALC, our team can track down wasteful facility problems using time-lapse videos of your BAS.  Think of it as an energy security camera focused on your building to detect the BTU Burglars when you’re not at home.

Contact your Automated Logic dealer for more details and other ideas on how to fortify your facility’s defenses against the ravages of the ”Power Pirates”.