KL University: Technical monitoring during commissioning leads to additional energy savings and multiple benefits

A gap between predicted and actual building performance is often identified. The Karl Landsteiner Privatuniversität for Health Science (Austria) implemented a technical monitoring process that checks the performance of the technical systems and therefore enables to identify deficiencies during the early operation phase.

Fact sheet

  • Company: Karl Landsteiner Privatuniversität for Health Science
  • Location: Krems
  • Country: Austria
Benefits

  • 61,000 kWh and 5,400 EUR energy savings per year
  • 9 tCO2eq/year emissions avoided
  • Multiple non-energy benefits

What makes this site special?

The Karl Landsteiner University in Krems, Austria, offers a comprehensive range of integrated medical and health sciences degree programmes in line with the requirements of the Bologna model. The institution is also known for its translational and clinical research into selected areas of health studies and human medicine.

In March 2017 a new two-wing building was inaugurated in their Krems campus in Lower Austria. The site offers space to over 600 students, researchers and employees on an area of almost 4,600 square metres. The newly constructed university building fulfills a dual function as an administrative office and an educational institution, containing auditoriums, classes and seminar rooms and laboratories of various sizes.

The EUR 25 M building, owned by the federal state of Lower Austria, is equipped with a reversible ground source heat pump providing hot and cold water for room heating and cooling, a compression chiller as a backup system for cooling, as well as several air handling units and a photovoltaic system on the buildings’ roof.

Useful energy is provided by space heating/cooling systems such as thermo-activated building components and floor heating, as well as via the air ventilation units. Annual energy consumption adds up to 542 MWh. It is important to highlight that the operation of all systems is supported by a building management system (BMS), operated by an external company.

KL University
The KL University implemented a technical monitoring process that checks the performance of the technical systems and therefore enables to identify deficiencies during the early operation phase.

The technical monitoring was implemented to ensure optimum building performance and identify potential areas of savings

A gap between predicted and actual building performance is often identified in new buildings (known as the “performance gap”). Because of this, the KL University opted to implement a technical monitoring process to check the performance of the technical systems and identify deficiencies early in the operation phase.

This quality management service started right after the building was handed over from the constructor to the building owner. The main objectives were to detect deficiencies related to the BMS as well as to identify potential energy efficiency improvements from the very beginning. This way, the University made sure to meet their energy performance targets, and to secure a good indoor environment. As the project assesses the performance of the BMS, it is an addition to the energy monitoring infrastructure already implemented. The table below reflects the main stakeholders involved:

Stakeholder Action
(1) Building owner Initiated the commissioning of the service
(2) Facility Management Contract Partner: responsible for the building operation
(3) BMS Constructor Implementation of warranty claims and organization of data transfer
(4) ESCO Provision of the QM service: Functional performance tests, comfort survey

Four performance tests and a user survey were carried out within the first year of operation. An online platform enabled the facility management team to constantly supervise the operation of the systems. Any anomalies and deficiencies found were passed on to the BMS contractor, which enabled him to correct the faults within the warranty period.

The performance tests were based on the execution planning and the parameters set during commissioning by the BMS installer. The operational data retrieved by the software was handed over once a week by the BMS, with the online-dashboard being updated automatically, which meant potential savings could be easily acknowledged. The identified faults were evaluated based on the actual operational data and instructions were issued in order to fix deficiencies.

The technical equipment analysed is reflected in the table below.

Type of system Power source
Heating
  • Ground source heat pump
  • Floor heating
  • Thermo-active components
  • Heating coils AHU
Cooling
  • Ground source heat pump
  • Compression chiller
  • Thermo-active components
  • Heating coils AHU
Ventilation
  • Central air handling unit
  • Common areas
  • Laboratories, offices and study areas

The results

In cases such as KL University’s, energy savings and emission reduction may seem low, but it is important to highlight that these are additional to those identified by the already implemented energy monitoring infrastructure:

Energy CO2 emission savings
Baseline (kWh/a) Savings (kWh/a) % kg/a
Heating 337,000 21,700 6 2,100
Cooling 154,000 20,500 13 2,000
Electricity 112,000 18,800 16 5,200
Total 603,000 61,000 10 9,300

Although total energy cost savings are estimated at 5,400 EUR per year, the technical monitoring process identified additional potential savings (not related to energy), including:

  • Fluctuations of the duct pressure in the ventilation system could be reduced by conducting performance tests, which result in less stress for the ventilation system and an expected prolongation of the system’s life expectancy.
  • Some lighting sensors were found to be out of order, increasing consumption in areas of the building. Their replacement would ensure optimal operation.
  • Some of the temperature sensors do not provide useful data as they are not placed in the rights areas. Their reallocation will deliver useful data for the building management system in the future.
  • The performance tests highlighted that some of the newly installed energy meters did not provide reliable data. Their recalibration will provide reliable data for the energy management system in the future.
  • The optimisation of the control parameters of the heat pumps leads to a reduction of the switch-on/switch-off processes, which causes less stress for the system and a prolongation of its useful lifetime.
  • The temperature of the air supplied, especially during summer, did not comply with initial system design and was adapted accordingly. This results in cost savings due to reduced cooling needs.

Proactive analysis of energy management systems leads to better chances of not only identifying energy savings but also preventing disruptions and stepping in before problems escalate. It also means the infrastructure can be fine-tuned so the system performs as it should. Furthermore, the software used is quite innovative, scalable and reduces energy use from the beginning of the building’s life. This means that future renovations would not be needed, or at least could be postponed, as energy savings are ensured from the start resulting in an earlier reduction of CO2 emissions.

Text: CREARA (Madrid)
Project leader/content provider: e7 Energie Markt Analyse GmbH (Vienna, Austria)
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