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January 4, 2024

Optimizing Aquarius: Energy Efficiency & Comfort Case Study

This is a case study of the transformative journey of Aquarius, an iconic office building showcasing sophistication and innovation. Before Spectral’s involvement, challenges lurked within its confines—excessive energy consumption and persistent occupant discomfort. This case study unveils the strategic solutions implemented to revolutionize the building, resulting in a remarkable 45% gas savings and enhanced occupant comfort. Dive into our insights, exploring the potent strategies that propelled Aquarius into a new era of efficiency and comfort.

Building name: Aquarius

Type: Office Building

Gross Floor Area: 9.957 m²

Year Built: 2002

Energy Label: A

 

HVAC Systems

  • Gas Boilers
  • Chillers
  • Air handling units with heat wheels
  • 4-pipe induction units for space conditioning

 

Energy Use Intensity (heating) without BRIGHTER: 123 kWh/m²/year

Energy Use Intensity (heating) with BRIGHTER: 67 kWh/m²/year

 

Problem

Merin faced several pressing issues with the Aquarius building. High year-round energy consumption and frequent thermal discomfort complaints from occupants were the primary concerns. These challenges could be attributed to several key factors:

Lack of Oversight: The building control system lacked high-level oversight, resulting in simultaneous heating and cooling from different systems within the building.

Open-Loop Control: The control system operated without feedback from zones, relying on predefined static parameters. These parameters were often overly conservative, impacting the building’s energy efficiency.

Manual Overrides: Numerous manual overrides had been introduced to the system in an attempt to resolve thermal comfort complaints. These overrides led to unpredictable system operation, including unnecessary weekend operation.

Reactive Control: The control system followed a reactive control paradigm, lacking predictive elements. For example, it initiated heating at the same time every morning, regardless of external factors like outdoor temperature or irradiance. These parameters were also set conservatively, leading to energy wastage.

 

Solution

To tackle these challenges, we started by augmenting sensor coverage with additional temperature, humidity, and occupancy sensors, ensuring a more comprehensive understanding of the building’s dynamics. We also deployed advanced monitoring and fault detection systems to swiftly identify and rectify issues arising from faulty BMS sensors or parameters that hindered system performance.

Our optimization efforts focused on refining the building’s control mechanisms, with a keen eye on schedules, setpoints, and sequences of operation. We introduced a sophisticated model to learn the building’s thermal behavior. By incorporating weather forecasts, our control algorithms evolved into predictive tools. For instance, they adeptly gauged the ideal time to initiate heating in the morning, efficiently mitigating unnecessary energy consumption.

 

Optimal Startup Time

 

Results

We eliminated off-schedule and off-season consumption, as well as unnecessary energy use due to overly conservative parameters and overrides, resulting in a gas savings of 45%. Improved sensor coverage, early fault detection, and our algorithm focused on maintaining comfort during office hours, improved occupants’ comfort and therefore significantly reduced occupant complaints.

Learn more

Are you prepared to learn more about optimized building control and its transformative impact? Explore our in-depth white paper to discover how building management may be used to its fullest potential. Download our white paper now to learn the strategies that can help your buildings achieve unmatched future performance and adaptability.

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Dmitry Surugin

Product Owner

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