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Engineering with Automated Fault Detection and Diagnostics


Large commercial buildings are equipped with dozens of air handling units and hundreds of terminal boxes that maintain acceptable indoor air quality and occupant thermal comfort. Building operators are typically buried in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system data, and mostly react to occupant complaints, equipment/component failure or various levels of building automation system alarms.

Automated fault detection and diagnostics, or AFDD, serves as a promising solution to process the big data flowing from the BAS and efficiently monitor the HVAC system operation with limited manpower.

In this article for Consulting-Specifying Engineer, Jiajun Liao, PhD, PE, PMP, CEM, LEED AP BD+C, GBE, and Victor Saeh, LEED AP BD+C, CxA, CEM, PCC, educate readers on how automated fault detection and diagnostics works, along with its benefits; explain different fault detection and diagnostics methods and AFDD tool capabilities available in today’s market; and discuss the future development of AFDD in HVAC systems — and challenges down the road.

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