NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY CAMPUS CONTROLS ASSESSMENT
In 2016, the University faced several challenges related to the age, use, and maintenance of their campus-wide building automation systems. They had three different controls manufacturers across campus of various ages and technology, sometimes with multiple in a single building. The Owner also had differing strengths in their relationships with their service vendors. And they had internal challenges related to training, operating procedures, and documentation. This left many questions of how to invest to improve control over the campus, and who should take the leadership role.
B2Q was hired to provide a third-party engineering assessment of the hardware and software of the system, as well as the ways it was used by various stakeholders within NU. We interviewed all key leaders within the Operations, Construction, Energy, and Commissioning Groups. We also surveyed the individual building technicians for their feedback. Finally, we interviewed the service vendors and compared NU�s campus to peer institutions and to the overall market. And we benchmarked their costs paid for controls against typical industry averages.
We provided a report with (20) different recommendations to improve the system and its use. Our recommendations included technological improvements, such as upgrading certain aging equipment, adding a new third-party user interface to integrate the underlying systems, improving and enforcing design standards, improving graphics and trend logs, and converting subsets of buildings from one vendor to another. We also included operational recommendations, such as changing which group had management responsibility for the controls, improving communication between Operations and Construction, and upgrading service agreements with their vendors. We provided NU with an objective plan from a trusted advisor and the buy-in gained in the process of developing the plan helped them take action to start to implement key aspects.
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