HMI, User Interface, Diagnostics, Controls, Energy
A new generation of Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) for building automation systems is needed to allow facility managers to leverage the potential of advanced controls and diagnostics. In this paper we will describe a design process and the end product, a novel HMI prototype. This novel system is an integration of advanced algorithms, an underlying software architecture, building equipment, and the human operators that use it. Recent developments in building controls and diagnostics techniques promise to improve occupants comfort while minimizing energy consumption. Advanced diagnostics algorithms can not only detect equipment failures and anomalous behaviors but also estimate the energy and comfort impact of faults. New sophisticated control schemes regulate a building based on past and future conditions rather than a static model. They can also automatically adapt to equipment failures to maintain the highest comfort given the available resources. There are several hurdles that must be overcome to effectively deploy these techniques. The perceived algorithmic difficulty of these approaches and the absence of proper tools to leverage them create a gap between what we know is computationally possible and operators in the field. One of the biggest problems is that current Building Management Systems (BMS) are not designed to natively support these advanced capabilities. As a part of the Department of Energy (DoE) sponsored Energy Efficient Building Hub (EEBHub), a team led by UTRC prototyped a new HMI that natively supports a variety of advance features. Within the EEBHub, several academic and industrial teams are experimenting with new technologies to reduce the energy footprint of buildings. In collaboration with these teams, UTRC integrated novel diagnostic and control techniques with building automation infrastructure to better understand the possibilities of a new HMI for building applications.