Does your building need a lifestyle coach ?

Personal Trainer Exercise
Personal Trainer Exercise (Photo credit: katieklimek)
Most buildings have the energy characteristics of a coach potato... They are not "fit for purpose". They consume far too much for their level of activity, lack discipline and motivation to even aspire to higher performance; and worse, they have no idea what they look like.

Many readers who are hard-nosed engineers may read this gruesome metaphor and feel uncomfortable with it. But (I make no apology) it is why most buildings need a lifestyle-coach or personal-trainer, even if they would choose a better job-title.  So you know why you feel uncomfortable - Lets have a look at a quotation from : : The Benefits of a Personal Trainer..
If you're having a hard time getting motivated at the health club, or just don't feel like you're getting enough out of your exercise routine, consider hiring a personal trainer. More than just an instructor, a personal trainer can help you come up with the right workout plan to meet your goals. Whether it's losing a few pounds, toning up your... read more
Ok - if you ignore the "touchy feely" elements it doesn't sound so bad.

Our role at kWIQly is only to provide tools (very much like a sports hall, or fitness equipment manufacturer), but we need to serve these to a receptive audience i.e. an energy manager who just like a trainer "can help you come up with the right workout plan to meet your goals. Whether it's ...."

The role includes bringing skills and exercises, schedules and regimes to bear on known problems to rebalance life-style but it is "conducted by engineers".

It starts with an obvious further metaphor with a weigh-in and a good look in a mirror - to acknowledge the possibly overwhelming areas of "performance enhancing opportunity".  And it leads on to all sorts of performance monitoring diagnostics and remedial therapies..

Let's take a quick look at some "fitness" exercises that might establishing and maintaining on a regular basis might knock any building into shape:

Do we know what we are trying to achieve ?
A schedule of targets is an important start. Occupancy times, set-point temperatures i.e. the objectives.

Do we know what we need to overcome ?
Is the outside air condition known - the energy content is determined by temperature moisture content and to a lesser degree air pressure.

What is the basic control strategy ?
How much air must be delivered and in what condition, is it better to re-circulate air to retain heat or increase air-flow to enhance free-cooling?
What compensation strategy should be employed for delivered air - are we delivering air at a fixed temperature?
How should we compensate heating and cooling circuits - on a zone basis or directly where the core plant is?

What is the supply strategy?
Are we sequencing main plant effectively - so that it runs when it must and does not otherwise?

Are key control elements commissioned effectively?
Are we setting adequate dead-bands ? Are we using PID loops outside the proportional response range?

Is there a performance model ?
If we don't know how much we expect to consume, how can we ever know if we can do better !


These are just a few questions that leap to mind - even before we look at whether or not plant should be upgraded.  In reality if we upgrade plant before checking the basics, there is no way of knowing what it will take to do the job, or how much an upgrade can usefully deliver.

Finally, we need to acknowledge that buildings left to their own devices are like a coach potato - they will slip back into their old ways and that is exactly why they need a personal trainer.. to help you come up with the right workout plan to meet your goals!

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