There is a gap between how buildings are designed and how they operate. For one thing, designers may not be focused on operability during the design process. Secondly, technology is playing a greater role in more complex buildings today, but it may not perform to expectations.
These were among the observations by Darryl K. Boyce, P.Eng. ASHRAE’s 2019-2020 President, at a luncheon address at the 2019 Annual Conference.
Importance of data security
“Technology is not evil,” Boyce said. “We can have unrealistic expectations, and technology can be misused.” Additionally, technology can provide a large amount of data/information that can be overwhelming to control technicians.
“Operators are being overwhelmed,” said Boyce. “Generally, they do not have the skills to operate today’s buildings and are not properly trained. At building turnover, operators are rarely properly oriented.”
When green buildings do not operate as intended, the result is ‘performance slippage’When green buildings do not operate as intended, the result is ‘performance slippage’ – the energy consumption is much higher than modeled targets. This can be because buildings were designed with systems that are beyond the capacity of building managers to operate. It could be that systems are complex and require several years to refine and understand. Finally, there is a correlation between performance and level of commissioning.
One solution Boyce suggests is to include a building operations team representative throughout the design process. “The design should reflect the capabilities of the people operating the building,” says Boyce. “As a result, we will not be leaving operators wondering ‘How do I make this work?’” An effective turnover and orientation training process are critical.
Boyce said ASHRAE should work with building owner-operator organizations to develop strategies to prepare the operators to effectively operate the building through enhanced training and effective use of building automation and analytical and other operational tools.
“We should also engage with building operators at the Chapter and Society level to improve our understanding of their problems and develop educational and training programs to reduce the gap between design, construction and operations,” Boyce said.
“Facilities management must adopt technology more quickly and far more deeply,” he added. “It must move beyond technology to monitor space utilization and energy consumption. And we need to focus on using technology, data and analytics to enhance the workplace experience.”
ASHARE is the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, a professional association seeking to advance HVAC&R systems design and construction. It has more than 57,000 members in 132 countries.
‘Building for People & Performance - Operational Excellence’
The theme focuses on overcoming the challenges associated with the efficient operationDuring his inaugural presidential address, Boyce announced the Society theme will be ‘Building for People & Performance - Achieving Operational Excellence’. The theme focuses on overcoming the challenges associated with the efficient operation and performance of buildings.
“People must succeed within the buildings we create,” says Boyce. “ASHRAE is committed to preparing building professionals through learning opportunities, engagement and adopting better practices. These are the steps needed to achieve effective operational performance and operator experience.”
Boyce is special advisor to the vice-president (Finance and Administration) at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.