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Content Areas

The curriculum is currently being developed by the project team with guidance from the Industry Advisory Board. Proposed content areas include:


Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are the prime domain of building operators and an area of significant savings opportunity through systems integrations and control adjustments. While the market has made broad progress in implementing lighting retrofits, savings from HVAC projects remain challenging – a gap that BuildingCoach seeks to address through teaching and coaching participants in optimization and re-tuning measures for central plants, air-handling units (AHU) and packaged rooftop units (RTU), and variable fan drives (VFD).

Conditions-based Maintenance and Repairs

BuildingCoach’s emphasis in this area will be placed on identifying failed or deteriorating equipment from BAS data sources, and participants will be instructed and coached in common HVAC diagnostics for troubleshooting and optimization.

Tuning and Advanced Sequences of Operation (SOO)

Covers both tuning of equipment/systems and introduction of advanced sequences of control, such as dynamic resets. Tuning instruction and coaching will include teaching operators how to identify in BAS data the need for sensor calibration and for control loop tuning. Participants will gain familiarity with the PNNL Building Re-tuning (BRT) method, including CUNY BPL’s materials and BRT Playbook and PNNL’s automated retro-commissioning (AIRCx) tool. 

Electric demand/load management

Grid interactivity is emerging as an important new aspect of building operations as distributed energy resources become an increasingly significant resource for operational revenue as well as grid reliability. While demand response is important, much shorter duration ancillary services will play a more important role. The BuildingCoach curriculum will introduce and support PNNL’s Intelligent Load Control (ILC) tool for automating implementation of dynamic load control with interval meters and meter data tools.


Commissioning for new/retrofit systems

New and retrofitted systems both bring operational requirements that must be established in specifications, tested for in commissioning, and understood and confirmed by operators, to establish ongoing and monitoring-based commissioning. Operators participating in the BuildingCoach program will learn to look for and interpret performance specifications for common HVAC retrofits – a learning area that is frequently neglected.

Interpretation of Data Representations

Interpretation of trended data via time-series and other visualizations is a key skill area in need of development. While the current generation of BAS will perform this function, each manufacturer’s set-up and formats vary in detail, presenting a difficult training challenge. To address this issue, the BuildingCoach program will require data extraction/export to a standard format that will be used for teaching purposes. Learned skills can then be more readily transferred to the participants’ own BAS interfaces.  

Soft Skills

As well as technical topics, the BuildingCoach curricula will emphasize critical thinking and communication skills, in particular documentation and execution. The program will introduce soft skills via practical exercises about systems, projects, building/project documentation (plans, specifications, control sequences of operation, performance targets), tuning, and programming logic. 

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