The shopping mall encompasses a little over 40,000 square meters (about 470,000 sq. ft.) of retail and office space, and is roughly divided into two major zones, A and B. Zone A was undergoing significant reconstruction, involving too much physical movement for accurate testing. Zone B was a more viable candidate. It was physically stable with dedicated chillers. Therefore, it was decided that the energy optimization pilot test would be limited to Zone B.

Challenges

From the beginning of the project, the team faced a number of hurdles to overcome. At the outset, the client requested a third-party audit of test results and asked the State of New South Wales to undertake the task in keeping with their sustainability mission. The state’s Office of Environment and Heritage (NWS E&H) was commissioned as the official measurement and verification (M&V) consultant for the project.

A second major challenge arose from the fact that there was no dedicated electricity meter for Zone B at the mall. At their own expense, NSW Environment and Heritage worked around the problem. They set up a series of data loggers and plugged them into the mechanical switchboard connected to the various chillers, air handling units (AHU), and other pieces of mechanical equipment running on electricity in the HVAC system.

An additional challenge resulted from not having a dedicated electricity meter. This meant, there would be no historical record of energy consumption to establish a baseline against which savings could be measured. As a substitute for a historical record, NSW E&H decided to record 3-4 months of data from Zone B’s chillers and AHU, and use this as a proxy for historical consumption.

Auditors found the level of savings to be 4.8% over the baseline. Baseline was established when PEO was not in control of the BMS.

In parallel, while NSW E&H was establishing a consumption baseline, BuildingIQ’s PEO was connected to the Tridium building management system (BMS), and began to monitor building operations. BuildingIQ’s cloud-based solution was able to analyze Zone B’s thermodynamic behavior in response to outside

temperature and humidity. Thus, looking for patterns, the extensive learning process —inherent of Predictive Energy Optimization— began.
A final challenge was the limited amount of time the onsite facilities management team could devote to monitoring and improving energy efficiency. They welcomed the professional expertise and integrated teamwork BuildingIQ and BSA brought to the task, not only in terms of energy savings but in trouble shooting the performance of building operations.

Results

After four months of preparation and monitoring, PEO’s “control” capability was turned on for its trial run over the next couple of weeks — week 20 and week 21 of the Pilot. At the end of the two-week trial period, the auditors found the level of savings to be 4.8% over the baseline.

Baseline was established when PEO was not in control of the BMS. See Figure 1 below to see the savings data (PEO was no longer in control during weeks 22, 23, and 24.). For a shopping mall of this size, a 4.8% energy use reduction represents substantial economic savings.

Another result of major significance to the client was the content of the monthly technical reports, highlighting issues, opportunities, and anomalies found by the pilot’s team. Some mechanical issues undercutting energy performance were identified and the team made the appropriate recommendations. The onsite facilities team was able to address the problems. This close and interactive working relationship, becoming the eyes and ears of the building, is central to BuildingIQ’s 5i Platform. It became obvious to the on-site facilities team that an outsourced comprehensive solution was a much better option than just buying software and trying to analyze the data on their own.

Next Steps

This pilot test was just the beginning on the journey with this client. It points toward the larger potential for energy reduction using the complete BuildingIQ 5i Platform, involving both software and building management expertise with continuous interaction with the client. This approach is applicable to buildings of all types, from commercial and academic to government and medical. BuildingIQ has delivered meaningful energy savings to its clients with continuous engagement. As far as our relationship with BSA, we both agree that our platform meshes perfectly with their current suite of building services and we’ll continue to pursue joint efforts such as this pilot.

Figure 1 – Energy Savings from Pilot Test
Savings in weeks 20 and 21, when PEO was in control, is shown in green, averaging 4.8%. PEO was no longer in control during weeks 22, 23, and 24.

Pilot Test at a Sydney Shopping Mall

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