Building Performance Tracking Can Thwart Gas Leaks

by | Nov 14, 2011

Building performance tracking is useful not only for tracking energy use but for improving indoor air quality, ensuring ventilation rate compliance and even preventing dangerous gas leaks, according to a new handbook by the non-profit California Commissioning Collaborative.

The Building Performance Tracking Handbook aid that building performance can help identify and address system performance and safety problems more quickly than they would be otherwise, preventing those problems from turning into liabilities. At the University of California, Davis, an energy information system (EIS) drew staff’s attention to a spike in natural gas consumption at some student housing, which the university quickly identified as due to a gas leak in the laundry area.

The CCC said building performance tracking is essential because of the interactive, complex nature of modern HVAC and lighting systems, which can require frequent attention. Over time, sensors can slowly become uncallibrated and building use often changes. As staff adjust control sequences of various systems, this can impair the way that the systems work together.

Building performance tracking helps to reduce energy costs as well as complaints from occupiers, by helping operators to gather and analyze the huge amounts of data generated by building systems, and allowing them to benchmark building performance. For building owners, this can increase property value as well as net operating income.

Tracking systems also improve the long-term savings that building owners can expect from energy projects, the handbook said. For example, even when efficient equipment is installed, it is not always optimized. A tracking system can detect this.

The 86-page handbook is accompanied by case studies from:

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