A New Guide for Commissioning Air Handling Systems: Using a Model Functional Test
Functional tests are a set of detailed instructions for building commissioning that demand extensive HVAC system knowledge to write and perform. Understanding the energy use implications and theory behind the test procedures, estimating the costs and benefits of doing a particular test, implementing the tests correctly, and resolving problems require years of field experience. As part of a large research project now underway, a practical guide is being developed that communicates this knowledge. This paper presents the components and intended use of the Functional Testing Guide and Model Functional Test for Air Handling Systems. A series of model functional tests, starting at the outdoor air intake section and proceeding through the air handling unit, distribution system, and terminal equipment and ending at the exhaust air discharge point, are provided for many commonly installed air handling system configurations. The model functional tests contain advice for tailoring the test procedures to specific system configurations, desirable and undesirable testing outcomes, a calculation appendix, references to other resources, and examples of completed test forms. The guide is an educational resource, with background information that clarifies the principles behind testing configurations and results. The functional tests have been selected from an extensive commissioning test protocol library compiled by Pacific Gas and Electric in 2001. The guide also includes a design guideline for the selection of control and monitoring points and a design intent documentation form.