Operational activities during occupancy include:
At the conclusion of the construction project, the facility will be operating at a high performance level. Maintaining and improving this level of performance requires effort and may not happen with business-as-usual approach. Proactive measures not only prevent a decline in building performance, but also enhance performance and help to assure that the project benefits persist.
Documentation Review/Update is an action item that commonly falls to the bottom of managers priority list. A well-maintained and accessible building documentation library expedites and lowers repair costs. Systems Manuals, as described in the Acceptance Phase discussion, are foundational resources for maintaining building performance, seconded by Operation and Maintenance (O&M). The O&M manuals produced by many vendors and equipment manufacturers include multiple models and options, which, if not marked for the buildings specific equipment, can waste appreciable time finding detail information for repair. Other characteristics of system documentation include vendor contacts, performance curves for fans and pumps, spare parts lists, maintenance requirements, start-up requirements, and troubleshooting requirements.
A frequently overlooked documentation requirement is associated with systems that are controlled by microprocessors. In addition to the previously listed items, maintain documentation of software/firmware revisions, configurable parameters, and tested software backupís. Passwords and access codes need to be available for trained operators. For those software systems that undergo recurring revision, it is recommended that training and tools for software back-up and recovery are available.
Enhance the Operation Component Of O&M
There is a difference between an Operation & Maintenance (O&M) Plan and a Preventive Maintenance Plan (PM). By incorporating operational and control checks into the PM program operators will monitor and maintain the proper settings for the facility. Procedures for documenting and investigating parameters that are out of tolerance will help to keep the documentation updated and facilitate an ongoing awareness of building system performance.
Ongoing training of operations staff serves as both a motivator and a means for persistent building performance. Unless operators and managers have the right knowledge and skills, it will be impossible for the building to perform optimally over time. The Building Automation System is one of the most powerful and underutilized systems in buildings. Ongoing training for maximum utilization of the BAS trends and alarms will help building operators identify performance enhancement opportunities and spot system derogation.
With training on BAS data trending and data analysis, a System Performance Monitoring program can be implemented. Couple the system level performance monitoring with Utility Monitoring and Building Benchmarking to create a three tier performance monitoring program that provides the high level tools for improvement goals. Energy benefits of any additional improvement strategies can be measured and early detection of problems and equipment failures will be noticed. Building Benchmarking tools such as EPAís Portfolio Manager are available as well as automated Energy Information Systems (EIS) to facilitate energy consumption analysis.
Together, these persistence strategies can be considered Ongoing Commissioning (Ongoing-Cx). Some building owners add additional continuous monitoring sensors as either a stand-alone system or an enhancement to their BAS trending. Some owners take advantage of third-party services that install instrumentation and remotely monitor the facility systems.
Re-Commissioning generally costs less than initial effort since much of the planning and documentation is readily available. Triggers for re-commissioning include change in building use and increases in energy consumption, complaints, or equipment failures. With a building practicing the persistence strategies discussed here, re-commissioning becomes a review and validation of the operating practices and provides an opportunity for enhancing operator training, documentation, monitoring practices and items that can be difficult to budget.