ITEC Instructor Nasser Dollah gives us a comprehensive walkthrough of their ICONICS unified visualization dashboard, complete with examples of how he’s used it both from a building management standpoint to identify problematic equipment and save on energy costs, as well as from a training standpoint to give the students hands-on experience with how to efficiently operate buildings and facilities.

Video Transcript

[0:00] Dean Tallman, CIO of IUOE

So we've got a demo now from Nasser, where he's going to narrate some of the screens that we've built recently.

[0:16] Nasser Dollah, ITEC Instructor

I'd like to just start off here by talking a little bit about the monthly peak demand chart here. And what's nice about this is we're able to see on a monthly basis, what our peak demand levels are looking like. And if they are high, or they are low, it really takes us back to the equipment, because that's the whole reason for this system is being able to maintain energy and comfort and looking at the different charts here to be able to do that. And this would really show us if a chiller is being turned on too early or being turned on during the day or a large piece of equipment. So, we have a constant view of what our peak demand is doing. The other graph here which is giving us a screenshot of the deviation of setpoint into different areas, which would be the administrative area, the dining areas, and dorms, and so forth in the lobby. And that's a real big help. Because look at that; if we start to see some major deviations, what we'll do then is we'll go over to the comfort screen here and then we'll first look at the different space temperature--I'm sorry--percentages of space comfort in this area here. And if it's really deviating a lot, then we'll go into the different spaces and look at that. But another nice option to this screen here is the CO2 parts per million This really helps us out here when we're bringing in the amount of outside air, because that's really where the cost of energy comes in. The amount of outside air, whether it's cold air or warm air, it either has to be heated and either way, it's going to cost BTUs, which, in turn, costs kWs. So, by looking at this here, and looking at it right now, which we're well below, you know, between 800 to 1000 ppm, which is telling us here, we could probably shut down on our outside air dampers quite a bit, to be able to save some of that energy. So these are some big money savers right here for us, and also comfort, being able to see what our comfort levels are.


Then the next thing we'll do is we'll go into the different floor plans after looking at this here, which is the percentage of space comfort. Sometimes, you know, if we're pretty much all in the green, which we are a lot of times, we might not have to go through all the different floor plans. But if we do have a big percentage of too cold or too hot, then as we go through the floor pans, we'll go through the first floor here and click on our layers and look at the deviation from setpoint here. And as you can see, we're in the lobby area that looks pretty good in the lobby area. But once we go into the administrative areas over on this end here, we can start to say to ourselves, you know, we're deviating quite a bit from what the actual setpoint is. The setpoint is, you know, the zone temp is 66 degrees, so that's a large deviation there. And then from there, we can, if we want, if we have other problems in other floors, we can easily go into the other floor plans and look at the second floor. And look at those deviations, which we have quite a few in the colder zones, and we can go to the third floor also. But from there, we're going to actually go to the VAV summary. And if we are having a problem in one of the areas,we can go to that VAV box and this one here, 130, which is showing us that it’s really warm in the area. And then what we'll do there is that takes us right to the piece of equipment. And that's where I was saying to start off with, this helps us with the operation of the equipment, energy wise, indoor air quality wise and comfort wise. So we might go to this piece of equipment, we might have an issue with the blower, we might have an issue with fan belts. We found through this a couple of times that we actually had an issue with a variable frequency drive. And by going through the sequence I just went through, it took us right to the issue of that drive. Also, you can have, you know, on the list of items, bad filters, dampers might be sticking, or outside air dampers might be sticking. You might have a bad actuator, bad sensors. So, this has been very, very helpful with that part of it.


Another item that we can go to is, you know, after looking at our VAV summary, take us right to the air handling unit because we might not only have a problem at the VAV box itself, but if it's an entire area, we might have a problem at the air handling unit itself. So, this is really showing us that the unit is running at 100%. We've had issues where we're looking at the fan speed and wondering why it's sitting at 20% and the area's not meeting setpoint, and that's where we were able to find an actual VAV box that had a problem. We were able to find an actual variable frequency drive that was a problem on the unit itself. So, in that sense, it really helped us a lot.


Now going down into the summary, digging deeper into the summary itself, and going into an air handling unit here. All these items that I walked through with you already, I actually use in the classroom setting too, as far as peak demand and for them to understand what peak demand is, and how you actually are able to watch your peak demand and how you can alleviate peak demand all together. And then taking them into the different floor plans and so forth and if you have a sensor problem. I use a lot of this in the classroom, but this is one screen that is very helpful in a classroom setting, especially when I'm teaching indoor air quality, air testing and balancing, and controls. I use it in all three classroom settings. With this screenshot here, I'm able to show them the basic ventilation cycle of the exhaust dampers, the return dampers, and the outside air dampers. Showing them how exhaust dampers and outside air dampers might be working proportionally together, or if you're having a pressurization issue in the area, you might be bringing in, sending out a little bit less exhaust, bringing in a little bit more outside air to make that area more positive. So, energy wise, you're not bringing in any cold air or pulling in any hot air because if that area is in a negative, now you're actually bringing in that 90-degree air into that 72 degree air that you're trying to maintain. So with this here, we're able to really troubleshoot the building, and I actually use it in a classroom setting. I'm actually able to show them the frequency drives and how they work in conjunction with each other. The fan, the actual chilled water coils, the hot water coils, and actually showing them where the sensors are in all the different areas. The discharge air sensor, the return air sensor and being able to read temperatures and show them what I'm bringing in and actually what the leaving temperatures are. So that's been very helpful in the classroom settings.

[9:25] Dean Tallman, CIO of IUOE

He really likes that system.

[9:28] Zhi Wei Li

Well thank you Dean.

[9:29] Dean Tallman, CIO of IUOE

But just quickly, it just shows you, all this analytics and all the data we're talking about today, this is actually people taking action based on it. Maybe you find a bad fan belt, maybe you find a bad filter, things like that. So, it's really, again, it's where the digital world meets the physical world. And thank you very much.