Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Gibbons Engineering Group were pleased to attend the H&V News round table meeting last week, where the concept of continuous commissioning of buildings was discussed. We don't want to spoil the surprise for H&V News readers who will see the full write-up in a forthcoming issue, but we did leave the event asking ourselves what we consider continuous commissioning to be and how this directly affects our business within a HVAC services team.

We believe continuous commissioning means making sure fans, motors, pumps and air handling systems are operating in the most efficient way. That's efficient both in terms of providing the right level of comfort to building occupants, while at the same time consuming the least amount of energy and having the smallest impact on our environment.

To us, this means an ongoing process of measuring, checking, validating and of course servicing during a HVAC system’s operation. It also means continually looking at new technologies to see what impact these could have on the operation of HVAC plant.

Let's look at an example, taking a fairly typical commercial building with a mechanical ventilation system using fans. Our engineers work with the building manager and establishes that the building has maximum occupancy during the day and just a few people working at night. The building has been fitted with inverter drives and the commissioning records show that the fans were able to deliver the specified maximum air requirement when they were installed. At night, the fans continue to run at full speed even though the building is under low occupancy. A simple sensor connected either to the building management system (BMS) or directly to the drive would allow the inverter drive to receive an auto signal. This would reduce its speed accordingly, ensuring the correct conditions are achieved for a time of low building occupancy.

So what impact does this have? Let's assume the user was able to reduce the speed of the fan by just 20% - they would be saving half of the power previously being consumed. A significant reduction for a relatively small change.

This situation is not untypical for our specialist engineers to find when carrying out surveys of fans within plant rooms. Often the ability to accurately speed-control a motor is negated during the commissioning/setting to work process but this can have the biggest effect on operation over its service life.

The process of ongoing measuring, monitoring, checking and servicing ensures original commissioning parameters are sustained and for us this defines what continuous commissioning is all about. It's what we do every day!

If you have any HVAC systems issues we can help with, call Andrew Knight on 07850204915, email or you can visit our HVAC Services page for more information.


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