Detecting Passing Valves at Scale Across Different Buildings and Systems: A Brick Enabled and Mortar Tested Application
Heating hot water distribution systems are typically used in commercial buildings to condition spaces to provide occupant thermal comfort. However, recent research shows significant distribution losses within these systems that drive down the overall hot water plant efficiency. This research focuses on detecting passing valves in reheat coils found in variable air volume (VAV) terminal units to reduce distribution losses. A passing valve allows hot water flow when the actuator on the valve is commanded to be closed. The fluid causes unintentional heating or cooling to occur, causing comfort and control issues, and wasting energy. We developed the passing valve detection algorithm using a framework based on the Brick schema and Mortar platform to ensure that the application is portable and can scale to many buildings. We applied the same application to analyze 1,335 VAV reheat terminal units in 20 buildings. The diversity found in these large datasets increases confidence that any building with VAV reheat terminal units with the required sensors and Brick data model can run our open-source algorithm with little or no modification. In aggregate, 5% of VAV units analyzed were categorized as having a sensor fault, 14% with potential passing valve fault, and 81% with no faults detected. However, there is a significant variation in the proportion of VAV units with a passing valve detected (1% to 83%) of each building’s analyzed units.