Preventing winter HVAC issues with seasonal commissioning

6th December 2023

The winter months bring new challenges for those responsible for commercial building services. Seasonal changes in temperature affect thermal comfort, but cold snaps can also put extra pressure on HVAC plant, increasing the risk of operational issues. When pipework and components are pushed to their limits, hidden problems will be exposed.

The seasonal commissioning process aims to mitigate the risk of unplanned events by applying stress to building services under controlled conditions. Seasonal commissioning is required during the design phase and the first year, or when heating or cooling technology has been upgraded, for example, replacing fossil fuel systems with a heat pump.

Real-time monitoring vastly improves seasonal commissioning outcomes, ensuring that HVAC meets its potential and risks are minimised.

Seasonal risks

During winter, the focus is on heating requirements, checking optimal space temperatures, heating plant flow and return, energy consumption and BMS trends. Performance data performance is monitored against design setpoints, providing an opportunity for systems to be fine-tuned or recommissioned.

Data from real-time monitoring is key to measuring success, but qualitative data can also provide valuable feedback from occupants about the effectiveness of systems controlling environmental conditions, such as thermal comfort, ventilation and lighting.

Thermal comfort is not the only focus, however. Many industrial operators require very specific temperature control – data centres are a key example, where inadequate cooling often leads to catastrophic and expensive downtime. Huge losses can also occur in pharmaceutical environments, manufacturing facilities and food storage locations if HVAC systems are faulty or control strategies fail.

Online data monitoring

Our BG50i package is designed to support the seasonal commissioning process and help FMs achieve ‘soft landings’ outcomes.

BG50i incorporates real-time corrosion monitoring technology – which provides an efficient and instantaneous alternative to sampling and corrosion coupons – combined with industry-leading water treatment. Benefits include:

  • 27/7 online data and corrosion monitoring by the UK’s leading experts
  • Readings taken every 15 minutes with direct client-access to Hevasure dashboard
  • Instantaneous notification of unplanned events and out-of-range readings
  • View trends and recommendations
  • No waiting for lab results
  • Streamlined processes
  • Provides greater control and transparency
  • Interventions and alterations can be site specific and pro-active, rather than reactive
  • HVAC equipment that works better, lasts longer and meets building demand.

Integrated collaboration

Real-time reports and integrated systems help to streamline the seasonal commissioning process by facilitating close collaboration between all key stakeholders, including designers, contractors, mechanical engineers and FMs. With so many parties involved in the process, loss of building knowledge is inevitable – in our experience, this is one of the most common reasons that the soft landings process breaks down.

By closely monitoring key parameters and sharing them through regular training, FMs can ensure HVAC plant is working efficiently and cost-effectively, whatever the weather.

For more information about BG50i, click here.