Energy Efficient Operations Manual

The B3 / SB 2030 Energy Efficient Operations Manual (B3 EEOM) is founded on the notion that a building is operating efficiently only if each significant energy consuming device or system uses only as much energy as needed to perform its intended function. For instance, lights and air handlers only run when the building is occupied, and the services of those systems are therefore needed.

It is well-documented that most energy-consuming devices can use more energy than is necessary to perform their intended function, and that this energy waste can (and often does) go undetected. There are two approaches to managing energy consuming devices for energy efficiency:

  • One approach to preventing this waste is to perform sufficient preventative maintenance to ensure that no operating inefficiencies occur. In most cases, this approach is not practical, because it is too complex and takes too much time and skill.
  • The other approach is the basis of the B3 Energy-Efficient Operation Manual. This approach is to accept that the avoidance of excess energy waste through preventative maintenance is not practical. The focus is instead upon devising and scheduling the performance of inexpensive diagnostic tasks that will ensure that any significant energy-wasting malfunction will be detected soon after it occurs.

 

Choosing which energy consuming devices to check

To make the process of ensuring energy-efficient operation practical and cost-effective for a specific building, the diagnostic tasks should be selected based upon the energy-consuming devices in that building that are most vulnerable to significant energy-wasting malfunctions.

The ideal method for selecting tasks is to begin with a detailed energy allocation that lists the energy-consuming devices or systems in rank order of their annual energy consumption. Diagnostic tasks are then devised for the operating features of the largest consumers that are vulnerable to energy-wasting malfunctions.

This process of devising a building-specific list of diagnostic tasks requires considerable skills and resources. Recognizing that many projects will not have the resources available, the B3 EEOM has devised generic diagnostic tasks for the energy-wasting malfunctions most commonly found by people doing commissioning projects in existing buildings. They are designed to ensure the energy-efficient operation of timer controls on air handlers and mixed air controls (see Fig. 2). A third task is to ensure the energy-efficient operation of timer-controlled lighting. Additional modules are under development, and will be deployed on the web application as they become available.

Annual Excess Energy Cost Due to Inefficient Operation

Figure 2 – Annual Excess Energy Cost Due to Inefficient Operation (Data courtesy Center for Energy and Environment)

The Energy Efficient Operations Manual in Practice

The manual has been deployed as a sophisticated web-based application. This application enables four key functions:

  • Development of a set of tasks that are customized for a particular building
  • Assignment of those tasks to particular individuals within the building staff, and automated notifications to those individuals when tasks are due
  • Scheduling of the tasks, intended to occur at intervals that are appropriate for a particular building and device
  • Provision of an overall view of task status, to enable the process to be managed by a facilities manager or other appropriate staff.

The website includes the ability to attach supporting information like zone maps, photographs, control system screenshots, and additional detailed instructions to particular tasks. The intention is to make the process of performing the tasks and discovering energy waste as simple and quick as possible.

The website is password protected. To enroll a building and get started, contact Garrett Mosiman: operations@b3mn.org.

To access the Operations Manual web site, go to operations.b3mn.org.
 

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