Identifying Early Morning AHU Operation as a threat to 6 Star rating

March 1, 2023

It is typically difficult to pinpoint opportunities for optimisation in highly efficient highly rated buildings. But with the power of PEAK's continuous intelligent monitoring and advanced Rules Engine, opportunities are still available to drive efficiency.


Rated Hour is a key factor in determining the all-important NABERS Energy Rating for an office building. Usually, the office space operating schedule runs between 8am and 6pm, with the space needing to reach optimum comfort level by 8am when tenants typically start their working day. To achieve this, air handler units are often started in advance to cool the space. However, starting the units unnecessarily early can impact efficiency of energy consumption.


With optimum start control, the duration can be variable and be limited to a maximum of between 60 and 90 minutes, saving at least 30 minutes of operation every day. NABERS allows and acknowledges optimum start without penalising on Rated Hours. One particular 6-star NABERS-rated office building had all of its air handler units (AHU's) running from 6am, with a few starting as early as 5:45am.


PEAK's continuous monitoring generates alerts on the early operation of equipment. The platform created an alert triggered by the AHU’s operating from 5:45 am, to which the on-site Facilities Manager promptly reviewed the corresponding chart to confirm the unnecessarily early morning operation. She then created a linked Action for the contractor to investigate, before an optimum control strategy was implemented with pre-start duration limited to less than 90 minutes.

This pick-up is significant as the building is already highly optimised and 6-Star rated, with tuning opportunities typically difficult to locate. Optimum start control has positive implications for both energy saving and NABERS ratings. The win is a great example of an operational inefficiency picked up the PEAK Platform’s FDD capability.