FDD Case Studies: Real-world Examples of Identifying and Resolving Building System Inefficiencies



Fault detection and diagnostics (FDD) has emerged as one of the most promising solutions where we look into real-world problems of spotting and fixing inefficiencies in building system. These cases are all about how FDD technology can uncover problems and lead to smarter, more efficient building operations. But what does implementing FDD look like in the real world? These case studies offer valuable insights into how FDD can make a difference in the world of facilities management. Let’s explore some enlightening case studies that demonstrate the tangible impact of FDD technologies.

The Science Behind FDD in Building System

At its core, FDD aims to quickly identify faults and deviations from normal operations in critical building management systems like HVAC, lighting, and electrical. Finding problems earlier allows you to fix them quickly which saves energy and preventive maintenance costs. FDD helps organizations improve their performance and reduce energy consumption by up to 30%.

But FDD isn’t just about cost savings. It also makes building more efficient for people and helps them be more productive. The science behind how FDD uses data analytics to find problems is interesting, but the big difference comes when it’s used wisely.

While FDD can be implemented internally, many organizations partner with dedicated providers like CIM that specialize in building fault detection and diagnostics. The right provider brings proven methodologies, deep technical expertise, and experience across building types. For most organizations, partnering with specialists accelerates FDD adoption and amplifies results.

Machine Learning Approaches in FDD

The rapid evolution of analytics and machine learning has unlocked new possibilities for automating the FDD process. Algorithms can now analyze massive amounts of data from building automation systems to accurately detect faults and prioritize corrective measures.

This not only eliminates the need for manual fault detection but also enables a level of precision and speed that humans cannot match. For example, a deep neutral network can look at data from thousands of sensors that measures like temperature, humidity, and pressure. It can quickly find equipment that’s not working well. The power of machine learning will be key in making FDD ubiquitous. But how does this translate into the real world?

Real-world Applications and Benefits  

Across industries and geographies, organizations implementing FDD have observed significant benefits. FDD makes a real difference in many industries and you can see the results in practical ways:

Commercial Real Estate:

  • A high-rise complex in Singapore used FDD to detect 250 faults in its first year, reducing complaints by 15%.
  • Office buildings leveraging FDD saved 11% in HVAC energy despite weather changes.


  • FDD optimization of chiller sequencing lowered HVAC energy use by 7.8% annually for a Florida hospital.
  • A California hospital preventively addressed 120 air handler faults, minimizing patient discomfort.


  • The University of Utah improved building ventilation rates by up to 40% using lab-based FDD.
  • Texas A&M detected 500 faults in its first FDD study, increasing equipment lifetimes.


  • Microsoft realized 18.5% lower electricity use over 6 years across a 10 million ft2 area using FDD.
  • Google data centers flag airflow anomalies to prevent computer shutdowns, improving uptime.


  • Macy’s identifies optimization opportunities across 150 stores using remote FDD to cut costs.
  • Best Buy reduced HVAC energy usage by 20-25% in over 100 stores by finding faulty VAV controllers.


  • General Motors saved $725,000 annually in an Ohio plant through FDD-enabled defect reduction.
  • FDD helped a brewery identify heat recovery opportunities, improving energy efficiency by 10%.

FDD enables substantial resource and cost savings across industries by enhancing building and equipment effectiveness. The numbers speak for themselves, FDD delivers immense value. Now let’s examine a specific case study for deeper insights.

In-depth Case Study: LONG Building Technologies on FDD

LONG, a leading building technology service provider, leverages FDD across its 150 million ft2 of real estate. Regularly scanning for faults has reduced complaints by 12% and slashed HVAC energy usage by 20-25% in managed buildings. By leveraging an IoT platform called HIGH to aggregate and analyze data from building systems, LONG has been able to automate fault detection across its portfolio. Machine learning algorithms rapidly parse thousands of data points to flag anomalies.

Once identified, faults are seamlessly dispatched to technicians via LONG’s Atom mobile app, which also assists with diagnosis and resolution. Post-resolution, the app compiles comprehensive reports that quantify the exact energy and cost savings realized from addressing each fault. A closer look reveals that LONG follows a multi-step FDD process:

1. Data collection: HIGH Building Data AggregatorTM pulls information from BAS and metering systems.

2. Detection: Faults are identified using proprietary analytics and machine learning algorithms.

3. Diagnosis & dispatch: Issues are automatically diagnosed and routed to technicians via the mobile LONG AtomTM app.

4. Resolution: Technicians are guided on resolving faults efficiently via the app.

5. Reporting: Comprehensive reports demonstrate savings from reduced equipment downtime.

This streamlined, data-driven approach allows the LONG team to optimize building operations continuously. The key takeaway? FDD creates immense value but its impact relies heavily on implementation strategy.

FDD in HVAC Systems

HVAC systems are prime candidates for FDD given their large energy footprint. Here are some common FDD applications in HVAC:

  • HVAC sensor sends data to cloud analytics which helps identify when equipment isn’t working well.
  • Algorithms pinpoint causes of thermal comfort issues, like frozen/leaking valves.
  • Models predict how well the chiller/boiler works so you can fix them before they break down.
  • Monitoring equipment run times and refrigerant levels to find leaks or problems.
  • Monitoring VFD harmonics to diagnose motor faults.

Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring (NILM) also offers a cost-effective software-only approach to HVAC FDD. Overall, a robust HVAC FDD strategy can generate 10-15% in energy savings.

Australian Innovations in FDD

The Australian FDD landscape offers unique perspectives. Local service providers leverage the climate and building stock to pioneer innovative approaches. For example, Nube IQ uses machine learning on data from building automation systems to rank equipment based on how serious the problem is, making it easier to figure out what needs to be done. They reduced HVAC runtime by 22% in an airport and saved 17% in energy for a commercial building chiller plant.

Coolair uses AI technology called COGNICA that can analyze signatures and control the HVAC system on its own, even predicting when there might be problems. It delivered 25-35% in energy savings for a luxury hotel. These examples highlight the value of specializing in FDD for specific regions. Australia’s FDD expertise offers lessons for practitioners globally.

Data-driven Workflows for Energy Efficiency

Data sits at the heart of successful FDD implementations. Analyzing datasets like equipment sensors, work orders, technician logs, and weather data can help identify energy saving opportunities.

The Microsoft Puget Sound campus leveraged its wealth of building data to optimize HVAC schedules based on occupancy patterns. This reduced runtime by 2,100 hours annually, delivering $190,000 in savings.

The Shanghai Tower keeps a close eye on its elevators in real-time and uses data to use them less when they’re not busy. This kind of data analysis, called FDD, reduced how much energy they use by 10%. These examples show why top organizations are putting money into data systems. The key to using energy more efficiently in the future is looking at lots of data in great detail.


The case studies and examples discussed clearly showcase the real-world impact of FDD technologies. When properly implemented, FDD delivers immense value through energy savings, operational efficiency, reduced costs, and enhanced sustainability. While the approaches may vary based on region, industry, and building type, the fundamentals remain consistent timely fault detection and diagnosis are key to unlocking energy reductions. As the adoption of FDD increases globally, its benefits will compound and strengthen the business case exponentially. For organizations yet to embark on this journey, the wealth of proven models and best practices lowers the barrier to leveraging FDD. It prioritizes FDD now to start maximizing savings both financially and environmentally.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some key benefits of implementing FDD?

FDD can result in energy savings of up to 30%, lowered maintenance costs through preventive measures, enhanced equipment lifetime, reduced occupant complaints, and improved sustainability.

How long does it take to see returns on FDD implementation?

While results vary, most organizations begin seeing measurable returns within 6-12 months after deploying FDD technologies. The savings then continue to compound year-over-year.

What are some prerequisites for adopting FDD?

Crucial prerequisites are investment in data infrastructure (sensors, meters, BAS), analytics software, dashboards, and training staff on leveraging the tools. Organizations must also institute a continuous improvement culture.

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