The objective of this project was to demonstrate that at least 30% of a Department of Defense (DOD) building’s Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) and plug load annual energy consumption can be saved through continuous diagnostics and controls, while empowering building stakeholders to engage in proactive energy-conservation and sustainable behaviors. The findings and performance assessments from the demonstration provide information that can help the DOD to reevaluate its building operation policies, practices and guidelines, by engaging the whole military installation community, especially building occupants, in energy conservation measures and by engaging facility managers through user-friendly interfaces that support preventative measures to ensure energy conservation and occupant comfort.

Technology Description

The team deployed two distinct technologies during this demonstration project. The first technology, Intelligent Dashboard for Facilities Manager (ID-F), targeted building facility managers and allowed real time diagnostics for BAS systems with features like benchmarking, fault detection, and diagnostic or energy anomaly detection. As an extension of traditional Building Automation System (BAS), ID-F allows a deep performance tracking of building systems. Having a better view of their building’s performance, facility managers can avoid system failures, diagnose incorrect sequences of operations, and improve occupants’ comfort.

The second technology, Intelligent Dashboard for Occupants (ID-O), targets building occupants, allowing them to manage and control their electrical appliances. Through features like energy feedback, automation, reminder and targeted recommendations, occupants were made aware of their appliances’ energy consumption impact and were invited to change their behavior and to engage in more sustainable practices.

Demonstration Results

To assess the potential for deployment of the technology at military installations in furtherance of DOD energy goals, three sets of parameters were measured in relationship to targeted expectations:

Energy Savings – Although the success criteria was achievement of more than 30% reduction in annual energy consumption, only 10% reduction in overall energy use was realized. However, since overall energy use had been reduced for part of the test bed during the previous demonstration (EW-201336), this result understates the impact of the technology. While the target for plug-load reduction was also 30%, only 24% was actually achieved.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction – Although the success criteria was achievement of more than 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, only 10% reduction was realized. (Note that the methodology used for measuring GHG was aligned with total energy measurement.)

User Engagement Toward Sustainable Practices – All of the qualitative objectives of the demonstration were achieved: Occupant engagement was high at 85% participation, sustained positive behavior changes occurred, and satisfaction increased. Facility managers identified enhanced fault detection. And, all participants reported the system was easy to use and beneficial.

Implementation Issues

The demonstration validated and quantified the effectiveness of the technology in a military environment and confirmed the hypothesis that collaboration between facility managers and occupants in the control of building energy systems can reduce energy waste and increase user satisfaction. Together, the technologies behind the ID-F and ID-O dashboards provided a user-friendly, integrated platform for monitoring, analyzing, and modifying the operation of building systems and their associated energy use both in real time and over time.

The technology succeeded in identifying and exploiting multiple opportunities to adjust the scheduling of operations for building systems to the schedules of building occupants, by optimizing thermostat, air handling, and electrical base load settings during times of low and dynamic occupancy. The technology also succeeded in identifying and correcting system design and operational problems, thereby detecting equipment inefficiencies and faults and empowering predictive rather than reactive repair and maintenance strategies.

Prior to system installation, assessment of the existing BAS infrastructure of meters and data points led to hardware upgrades and equipment re-commissioning. Such improvements are inherently beneficial and should be independently cost-effective; so the process of evaluation should be considered a positive external attribute of the technology adoption process. Nevertheless, expenditure of time and money is required to prepare properly for introduction of the ID-F technology, otherwise deployment will not produce optimal results. Since the extent of required activity cannot be determined in advance, this aspect of technology introduction remains a consideration in overall evaluation.

At scale, for deployments with more than 120 occupants, the Return On Investment (ROI) for the ID-O technology is projected at 20%, with payback expected in less than 5 years. Since the dashboards are intuitive, training is straightforward, customer support is minimal, and user acceptance is high.

In conclusion, the technology did not meet its energy reduction targets but succeeded in meeting its user satisfaction goals. The savings in energy use and associated cost were substantial, despite being less than anticipated. Overall, the technology performed as designed and accomplished all of its complex missions, although with less impact than hoped for.