Continuous Optimization

Building Tune-Ups

While a building may perform as intended immediately after it has been built, the truth is that like anything else, a building’s systems degrade over time. By continuously monitoring a building’s performance and regularly making minor tweaks and repairs, it can be possible to keep a building performing at its best. These tweaks may take the form of adjusting setpoints or finding faulty sensors, or sometimes it means updating controls programming to reflect the latest standards of controls logic (particularly ASHRAE 36).

A History of Optimization

UBC has a long history of employing this continuous tune-up strategy in its buildings. The program was first formalized in 2010 when the Building Tune-Up Program was piloted as a joint effort involving Energy & Water Services (EWS), Building Operations, Project Services, and BC Hydro.

Round 1: Continuous Optimization

After a successful Building Tune-Up pilot in 2010, the program was rolled out in four phases across campus over eight years, under the title “Continuous Optimization” (C.Op). By the time that BC Hydro retired this first version of the program, UBC had enrolled a total of 66 core academic buildings in C.Op. These early stages of the program proved extremely fruitful, with total annual savings of around 14,000,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity and 40,000 GJ of thermal energy.

Round 2: Real Time Energy Management

BC Hydro’s second iteration of the Continuous Optimization Program in 2018 recognized that modern building controls systems are capable of generating tremendous amounts of data. They aimed to give customers a way to leverage that data, turning it immediately into energy conservation actions. UBC Piloted this next iteration of C.Op, called the Real Time Energy Management (RTEM) option, in two buildings. While savings were moderate, this phase of the C.Op program paved the way for more widespread use of data analytics on campus, and especially EWS’ use of SkySpark.

Round 3: Smart Recommissioning

Since 2019, UBC has had 29 buildings, both core academic and ancillary, participate in C.Op. Under the most recent program rules, a building which had already previously gone through the C.Op could do so again, provided it met some basic criteria. In this iteration of the program, EWS puts a small group of buildings through the program, aspiring to complete the study and implementation within the same year. This is largely made possible by leveraging SkySpark, with its ability to store and recall huge amounts of data for each building. By diving into the platform, a consultant can do in minutes what may have taken hours in C.Op Round 1.

C.Op By the Numbers

Number of buildings participated:  85
Total floor area represented:  933,016m2
Total annual electrical savings:  > 16,000,000 kWh
Total annual thermal savings:  > 50,000 GJ