How Automated Fault Detection and Diagnostics Can Empower Today's Building Operators

Entropy, does it often ruin your day?

It's 8 pm, near closing time, the night before black Friday – one of the most lucrative days of the year. And just like last year, and the year before that, you get a call from one of your store managers. “The HVAC is broken and it’s only been in the low-60’s all afternoon”. Entropy has struck again!

Entropy, defined by the Second Law of Thermodynamics, is about the natural order of things to decay, to become more disorderly.

Unfortunately, we would argue heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) rooftop units (RTUs), the work-horse of small to medium size commercial buildings, are more susceptible to entropy than other building systems because of neglect. They sit on a roof, unsupervised and out of mind until something breaks. To make matters worse, RTUs typically don't have the highest quality components. Their low cost is the very reason they condition over 69% of the nation’s commercial floor space.

As a building operator, the responsibility of dealing with that RTU the night before black Friday falls to you. You call the service provider and they say they can fix it tomorrow around 9 am. That’s too late! Your company needs that store comfortable when the doors open for business. Despite your loathing of it, you are at the mercy of needlessly high HVAC repair. Adding insult to injury, RTUs in disrepair can drastically increase your energy bills. Unfortunately, ignoring your HVAC system isn’t an option because uncomfortable customers and employees is simply not acceptable for a successful business. So does your relationship with your HVAC assets always need to be reactive and stressful?

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