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How HVAC Digital Twins Optimize Facility Operations

Practically every Head of Facility Operations would agree that managing their operations is an intricate balancing act – one that is becoming progressively more complex and demanding as technology and market conditions evolve. Achieving business goals for higher energy efficiency, enhancing occupant comfort, and maximizing asset value while tackling the challenges of complex systems, constrained budgets, and skills shortages are not sustainable through traditional facility maintenance approaches.  Factor in rapidly evolving expectations, accelerated in part by the pandemic, and it’s safe to say that ensuring long-term prosperity in this sector hinges on creating the most proactive, agile, sustainable, and resilient buildings possible.

Digital Twins

Performance and maintenance strategies need to be more digital and remote to be successful.

Schneider Electric believes that reducing complexity and balancing facility managers’ competing challenges can best be accomplished by deploying more digital and remote technology. With maintenance services moving away from the conventional reactive, scheduled, and hands-on approach to more remote, automated, continuous, and proactive strategies, forward-looking companies seek digitally-enabled services to help them achieve their goals. As most organizations face increasingly constrained budgets and continuing skills shortages, digital tools to streamline maintenance and improve building performance could be the best or the only viable strategy to ensure facility management targets are met.

Leading research and consulting firm Verdantix agrees. Their report, Schneider Electric Leverages Digital Twin Capabilities To Enhance Facilities Optimization, examines how the high-tech building asset performance monitoring and maintenance features in EcoStruxure Building Advisor can empower facility operation teams to achieve business goals including, streamlining maintenance, reducing energy and carbon footprints, improving occupant comfort, and extending asset life.

The benefits of digital twin technology, now available for the building sector

Once considered, cutting-edge innovations, such as virtualization and cloud-based data analytics are now widely used to optimize intelligent building management and control. Schneider Electric believes next-generation technologies, like equipment-level digital twins that enable automated fault detection and diagnostics (FDD), deliver a step-change in automation and effectiveness in maintaining HVAC systems in buildings.

With thousands of facilities across the globe and a broad range of building classes, the digital twin of EcoStruxure Building Advisor is the most advanced and proven platform for automated fault detection and diagnosis of HVAC systems. Unlike a rules-based framework that is complicated to set up and difficult to maintain, the digital twin technology (offered in EcoStruxure Building Advisor) is simpler to implement and more sustainable over a building’s lifecycle changes. Through automation and continuous monitoring of all key BMS system data points, EcoStruxure Building Advisor identifies issues and facilitates proactive maintenance, helping to extend asset life and reduce reactive servicing and repair. Further, it continuously learns and improves the accuracy and quality of diagnostics to generate more actionable insights, contributing to superior energy savings and improved occupant comfort. For enterprise customers with a global portfolio of buildings who want to harmonize and benchmark maintenance and facility optimization, EcoStruxure Building Advisor’s digital twin can be deployed for any building type, agnostic to the BMS running the buildings’ HVAC system.

Addressing the growing need for remote and proactive maintenance

Advanced digital connectivity, monitoring, analysis, and software tools now enable more effective and efficient implementation of proactive maintenance strategies. When executed appropriately, proactive maintenance is an efficient approach to finding hidden inefficiencies, reducing breakdowns caused by underlying equipment conditions, and trimming capital and operating expenses. EcoStruxure Building Advisor is structured to enhance a building management system’s (BMS) operational performance so facility managers can remotely and proactively oversee all their maintenance processes, including:

  • Continuous equipment monitoring and performance management
  • Predictive maintenance with automated workflows for facilities teams
  • Revitalizing the value of BMS servicing through a data-driven approach

Energy-efficient buildings are the first step toward achieving an enterprise’s sustainability goals. EcoStruxure Building Advisor has consistently enabled users to achieve energy savings and meet their sustainability goals; in the last three years, exceeding 52GWh and resulting in $20M in cost avoidance by leveraging the digital twin technology. New energy efficiency regulations call for the use of FDD technology. The 2021 International Energy Conservation Code states, “New buildings with an HVAC system serving a gross conditioned floor area of 100,000 square feet (9290 m2) or larger shall include a fault detection and diagnostic (FDD) system to monitor the HVAC system’s performance and automatically identify faults.”

Request a demo to understand how EcoStruxure Building Advisor’s digital twin and FDD capabilities provide new use cases and value propositions to intelligent building management.

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