Lead Performer: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory – Richland, WA
Partner: NorthWrite Inc. – Portland, OR
DOE Total Funding: $300,000
Project Term: June 1, 2016 – November 30, 2017
Funding Type: Small Business Vouchers Pilot

Project Objective

NorthWrite Inc. delivers services to owners of small commercial buildings, using a cloud-based service to monitor, control. and optimize building operations. The objective of this project is to enable NorthWrite to implement three sets of algorithms that provide fault detection and diagnostics for small commercial buildings:

  • Algorithms developed for the Smart Monitoring and Diagnostic System (SMDS) for commercial packaged air conditioners and heat pumps (commonly referred to as rooftop units, or RTUs)
  • Additional fault detection and diagnostic algorithms for RTUs and other equipment
  • Selected algorithms from the Retro-Commissioning Sensor Suitcase developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for identifying opportunities for implementing energy-saving measures in small commercial buildings

The work will involve characterizing the algorithms in terms of sensor data required as inputs and the outputs of the algorithms, validating algorithm performance through tests on two specially equipped and instrumented representative RTUs set up for this purpose at PNNL, revising the algorithms if found necessary in testing, and assisting NorthWrite in implementing the algorithms in the cloud. PNNL will also support NorthWrite by providing technical support interpreting unexpected results and other technical issues during initial commercial deployment in their cloud hosting environment.

Project Impact

NorthWrite provides owners of small commercial buildings a cloud-based service to monitor, control, and optimize building operations, which saves energy and reduces operating costs for the owners while ensuring that occupant comfort needs are consistently met. NorthWrite has had a longstanding desire to add a new suite of diagnostic capabilities to its service offering by incorporating a number of diagnostic algorithms published by PNNL. When NorthWrite is able to provide these improved services, its customers will realize even greater energy savings in their small commercial buildings.


DOE Technology Manager: Marina Sofos
Lead Performer: Michael Brambley, PNNL

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