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Most heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems operate with one or more faults that result in increased energy consumption and that could lead to system failure over time. Today, most building owners are performing reactive maintenance only and may be less concerned or less able to assess the health of the system until catastrophic failure occurs. This is mainly because the building owners do not previously have good tools to detect and diagnose these faults, determine their impact, and act on findings. Commercially available fault detection and diagnostics (FDD) tools have been developed to address this issue and have the potential to reduce equipment downtime, energy costs, maintenance costs, and improve occupant comfort and system reliability. However, many of these tools require an in-depth knowledge of system behavior and thermodynamic principles to interpret the results. In this paper, supervised and semi-supervised machine learning (ML) approaches are applied to datasets collected from an operating system in the field to develop new FDD methods and to help building owners see the value proposition of performing proactive maintenance. The study data was collected from one packaged rooftop unit (RTU) HVAC system running under normal operating conditions at an industrial facility in Connecticut. This paper compares three different approaches for fault classification for a real-time operating RTU using semi-supervised learning, achieving accuracies as high as 95.7% using few-shot learning.

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Publication history

Received: 16 June 2022
Accepted: 30 June 2022
Available online: 26 October 2022

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© The author(s) 2023

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The articles published in this open access journal are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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