Curtin, Jonathan M. (2007-08). The Development and Testing of an Automated Building Commissioning Anlaysis Tool (ABCAT). Master's Thesis.
More than $18 billion of energy is wasted annually in the U.S. commercial building sector. Retro-Commissioning services have proven to be successful with relatively short payback times, but tools that support the commissioning effort in maintaining the optimal energy performance in a building are just not readily available. The current work in the field of fault detection and diagnostics of HVAC systems, its cost, complexity and reliance on improved sensor technology, will require years until it can become the mainstay in building energy management. In the meantime, a simplified system is needed today that can be robust and universal enough to use in most types of buildings, address the main concerns of building owners by focusing on consumption deviations that significantly affect the bottom line and provide them some assistance in the remediation of these problems. This thesis presents the results of the development and testing of an advanced prototype of the Automated Building Commissioning Analysis Tool (ABCAT), which has detected three significant energy consumption deviations through four live building implementations. The ABCAT has also demonstrated additional functional benefits of tracking the savings due to retro-commissioning efforts, verifying billed utility data in addition to its primary function of detecting significant consumption faults. Although similar attempts have been made in FDD at the whole building level, the simplification, flexibility, robustness and benefits of this new approach are expected to exhibit the characteristics that will be desired and desperately needed by industry professionals.