What a Difference FDD Makes (at Stanford)

Alison Farmer, kW Engineering
Leslie Kramer, Stanford University

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In the past decade, Stanford University has upgraded (or is currently upgrading) the HVAC control systems in 18 lab facilities, and has constructed several major new lab buildings. With each successive project, the Facilities Energy Management team's approach evolves to incorporate new methods to optimize building performance and maximize energy savings. After a context-setting overview of Stanford's energy management programs, this presentation will focus on the use of automatic fault detection and diagnostic (FDD) tools in a growing range of project types on campus from 2017 to today. The presentation will describe Stanford's overall deployment model for data analytics and highlight the successes (and challenges) of using FDD in a variety of use cases in lab buildings on campus:

  • Enhanced commissioning for retrofit projects (Varian Physics, McCullough Materials Science, Lokey Chem-Bio)
  • Recommissioning for existing labs (Spilker Nanoscience, Sapp Chemistry Teaching)
  • Post-occupancy verification for new construction (Bass Biology)
  • Incorporation in Cx process for new construction (Chem-H).

For each use case, the presentation will emphasize the benefits and issues specific to the use of FDD in lab buildings, along with illustrative examples of the impact of using these tools to save energy and optimize operations at Stanford. The conclusion will tie together the lessons common to all applications of FDD in labs.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe at least one deployment model for automatic fault detection for a campus of buildings;
  • List four different project types which can benefit from the use of controls analytics;
  • Summarize at least three lab-specific applications of FDD; and
  • Discuss the ways in which lessons learned from Stanford's energy programs and FDD projects could be applied to other campuses.


Alison is a former research astrophysicist who is dedicated to saving our home planet by bringing energy efficiency to lab buildings. Her work focuses on energy analysis and on design and commissioning of HVAC control systems. She serves as Secretary of the Board for I2SL and led the development of I2SL's new Laboratory Benchmarking Tool. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in physics from the University of Cambridge in England and a PhD in astrophysics from Caltech.

Ms. Kramer focuses on improving the energy efficiency of Stanford University buildings through large-scale building energy retrofits, retro-commissioning projects and efficient building design. She also manages the Energy Retrofit Program which provides financial incentives for smaller scale energy-saving project related to lighting, IT, motors, and lab equipment. Leslie has over 25 years of energy efficiency-related experience. Prior to joining Stanford University, she worked as an energy consultant and managed large contracts with the California Energy Commission, the City of San Francisco, PG&E and the California Office of Energy Assessments. She has a multidisciplinary background in mechanical engineering and energy policy and has worked on almost every aspect of energy management, both on the supply side and the demand side. She has a B.A. degree in Engineering from Brown University and a M.A. degree in Energy and Resources from U.C. Berkeley.


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