The objective was to demonstrate how BrightBox software could be used to quickly and cost-effectively validate correct baseline system configuration and operation, and develop and deploy optimized controls across a wide array of existing buildings. The planned approach was to deploy the BrightBox software at the Naval Support Activity Monterey (NSAM). This U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) site represents approximately 1.2 million square feet of space and contains over 25 separate buildings. No two buildings at NSAM contain identical HVAC systems, and the systems were installed anywhere from 1930 to the present. The systems at NSAM vary, from the simple (baseboard heaters coupled with operable windows) to the complex (multiple-chiller plant serving data centers operating 24/7, large central steam boiler plant). With the help of NSAM staff, a subset of NSAM buildings were identified to receive the BrightBox software, representing an interesting and relevant sample of the buildings on campus. The project objective was for software to be installed in these buildings and the impacts assessed to quantitatively and qualitatively judge the effectiveness of the installation.

Technology Description

The primary objective of the BrightBox software solution was to quickly and correctly develop and implement optimized controls for HVAC systems in existing non-residential buildings. The approach to accomplish this goal consisted of the following elements:

  • The BrightBox Optimization Platform, which is a computer modeling language and set of associated algorithms designed specifically for describing and solving complex building controls problems.
  • A software platform that created a user interface for the BrightBox Optimization Language, designed with HVAC system templates and objects for quick and accurate modeling.
  • A communication and data-acquisition interface to existing building control system hardware and software platforms.
  • A real-time operating system that gathers HVAC system performance data and executes the optimization solver at regularly-scheduled intervals.
  • AutoCx software that validates basic equipment connectivity and functionality, and control system setup.

Demonstration Results

Individual elements of the technology and deployment platform were successfully developed and tested, but key elements of the system were not able to be deployed to the subject buildings. The project successfully extended BrightBox software to handle chilled-water plant simulation and optimization, and also partially deployed AutoCx in one of the subject buildings. The project was not able to demonstrate real-time optimization of chiller-plant system controls.

Implementation Issues

Malfunctioning equipment in both subject buildings prevented the deployment of the optimal control solution.