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❌ 1. When room temperatures reach setpoint at different times every morning, which of the following should you do?
My Answer: Change the thermostat setpoints
Correct answer: Program the controls system to optimize start times based on zone performance and outside air temperatures
Explanation: Buildings are dynamic and perform differently in varying conditions. When digital zone data is correlated with other factors, central control systems can optimize start times so room temperatures reach occupied setpoints at the appropriate time.
❌ 2. What can you do when peak demand charges are driving up your utility bills?
My Answer: Program the controls system to reset the supply air temperature based on zone performance
Correct answer: Program your thermostats to pre-cool in the mornings and minimize demand in the afternoons.
Explanation: By pre-cooling your building in the morning, you can maintain comfort during hot afternoons while setting terminal units at minimum.
❌ 3. What can you do to save energy when the ambient temperature is at setpoint for most of your thermostats?
My Answer: Raise setpoints on thermostats
Correct answer: Program the controls system to reset the supply air temperature based on zone performance
Explanation: When most thermostats are thermally satisfied, the supply air temperature can be reset based on demand requirements.
❌ 4. What can you do when adjacent thermostats have setpoints of 62F and 80F?
My Answer: Program duct-static pressure resets
Correct answer: Program reasonable minimum and maximum setpoint limits and/or send periodic reset commands to thermostats
Explanation: When adjacent thermostat zones have extreme setpoints, they can fight each other and waste energy. By limiting the setpoint range and/or resetting the setpoints periodically, conflicts can be minimized.
❌ 5. If a VAV box has separate actuators for heating and cooling, how should you program unoccupied setpoints?
My Answer: The unoccupied setpoint should be set low (e.g. 60F) to avoid heating zones during unoccupied times
Correct answer: Implement a deadband with separate heating and cooling setpoints so the VAV box remains at minimum for an appropriate temperature range (e.g. 60-80F).
Explanation: Single-setpoint thermostats may inadvertently call for heating or cooling if utilized improperly with terminal units that have separate heating and cooling actuation. Deadband thermostats allow for separate setpoints for heating and cooling so the VAV box can minimize demand when ambient temperatures are between the two setpoints.
❌ 6. If you have VFDs on your AHUs, what data points will allow you to optimize your duct static pressure?
My Answer: Outside air temperature and supply air temperature
Correct answer: Zone temperature, thermostat setpoints, and branch pressure
Explanation: With temperature, setpoint, and branch pressure data, your DDC system can know the demand requirements for each zone and adjust variable frequency drives (VFDs) to optimize the fans on the air handling units (AHUs).
❌ 7. If room temperature doesn’t reach the setpoint, what is the best course of action?
My Answer: Nothing, since the space has been repurposed over the years, the zone’s HVAC capacity is now undersized
Correct answer: Assess trend data (setpoint, room temperature, and branch pressures) to determine the root cause of the issue
Explanation: There can be several reasons why a zone underperforms. By assessing the trend data, the root cause of the problem (e.g. calibration, stuck damper, undersized capacity, etc.) can often be understood before action is taken, which helps avoid wasted expense. Automated diagnostics platforms like SMARTPneumatics enable building operators to assess all their zones on a regular basis so they can keep their building commissioned over time.
❌ 8. Your local utility offers you a check to participate in their Auto-Demand Response program. What is the best way to participate in their program?
My Answer: Manually switch off central fans and pumps to reduce demand.
Correct answer: Program your thermostats to increase setpoints on during demand events. With pre-cooling and zone control, occupant comfort can be assured.
Explanation: It is important to ensure occupants remain comfortable through demand events, so incorporating smart thermostats and zone control in a demand response program is essential.
❌ 9. What control strategies are not viable or underutilized when a central DDC system does not have terminal unit data or control?
My Answer: Night-time setbacks
Correct answer: All of the above
Explanation: Without zone data, central DDC systems do not have sufficient information to fully implement strategies like supply air temperature resets and optimal start/stop. Without remote control or programming capabilities, night-time setbacks are not possible.
❌ 10. What percentage of HVAC energy use is wasted when a building has legacy, non-communicating thermostats?
My Answer: 10-20%
Correct answer: 20-30%
Explanation: Most buildings save 20-30% of their HVAC energy use when all control strategies are implemented using communicating, programmable thermostats, like the Wireless Pneumatic Thermostat system.