rooftop cooling towers

How Does Tagup Use Machine Learning to Optimize HVAC Systems? FAQs for Operators

In deployments of Beacon AI for cooling optimization, the Tagup team has worked with a wide variety of individuals, teams, and organizations. As a result, we’ve heard all sorts of questions based on stakeholder goals and concerns.

This article reviews some of the most common questions we get asked. It will provide you insights on the value Beacon provides, what a deployment entails, how the technology works, and why you can trust Tagup with your data and equipment. 

Have a different question? Let us know what we missed and we’ll update this page!

Quantifying Value:

How long does it take to see savings from Beacon?

You will begin to see savings in a month or less. Beacon’s machine learning requires approximately two weeks to gain operational data and train its model. Beacon generally achieves savings even in this phase, thanks to basing our statistically-driven control strategies informed by physics-based models of HVAC operations.

What can I anticipate in terms of savings?

Beacon provides consistent savings in the 10-20% range, with peak savings as high as 30%. Check out our case studies to see what some current customers are experiencing.

Put some time on our calendar for a free, custom savings estimate.

How does Tagup calculate savings?

We define savings in terms of the total cost of consumables (energy, water, and chemical treatment). We account for the following line items:

  • energy used to run the chiller compressor 
  • energy used to run the cooling tower fan
  • energy used to run the pumps that circulate water through the condenser loop 
  • the water lost to evaporation and drift 
  • the water lost during cooling tower blowdown 
  • the cost of chemicals used to treat replacement water after blowdown 

To quantify expected savings from using Tagup’s optimization technology, we first model the counterfactual by using our models to predict what the incurred cost would have been if the system had been run using the baseline strategy (for example, a fixed leaving water temperature setpoint).

How do savings evolve over time?

Cost savings and emissions reductions will continue to increase over time as the machine learning software more accurately trains its models. As conditions change, your system will undergo ongoing optimization. Performance will only improve as Beacon ingests more operational and observational data.

Does Tagup work with energy rebate and incentive programs?

Yes, we welcome buildings to leverage available local rebates or tax incentives (like Section 179D) to ease the cost of making energy-efficient improvements. Tagup will support your team in generating necessary proposals or applications for funding. Here is a helpful link for finding energy rebate programs in your area.

How does Tagup help with regulations on building emissions?

Green legislation (New York Local Law 97, Washington HB 1257, etc.) and building emissions limits are coming, and annual fines for non-compliance can exceed $1MM. Commercial HVAC systems are responsible for the majority of building emissions, and Beacon is proven to reduce a facility’s greenhouse gasses by up to 30%. This helps you hit emissions targets and avoid potentially severe financial penalties.


What resources does Tagup need from me/my company to successfully deploy Beacon?

Beacon is deployed via a Tagup edge gateway or as a pure software integration with your building management system.

Access requirements are limited to just two areas:

  • Relevant data points from the cooling system, i.e. coolant temperatures, power meters, flow rates, status indicators, and other sensor data that is already available in the BMS
  • The ability to adjust setpoint controls (at least 1) to optimize for efficiency

For the initial deployment, we typically require up to a few hours of support from your IT department and/or BMS system integrator to establish and validate the successful transmission of data. 

For some systems, we will propose to add additional sensors. This is rare and is generally tied to opening up the possibility for an extended range of savings — for example, sewage credits that can be captured via the installation of a makeup flow meter.


Doesn't my BMS/BAS provide optimization capabilities? 

Building automation systems are made to oversee equipment operation for occupant comfort. Although they contain a lot of data that can be used for optimization, these systems are designed for deterministic controls that don’t factor in all elements impacting HVAC performance. 

Beacon is specifically engineered to optimize equipment performance for peak efficiency. It achieves desired energy and cost savings by integrating with your BAS and dynamically adjusting system controls based on the real-time evaluation of all pertinent data — something that cannot be achieved with human intervention.

What exactly is Beacon optimizing?

Beacon optimizes setpoints to maximize energy efficiency by balancing the workload on cooling system components (chillers, towers, pumps) in response to real-time, real-world conditions. Watch the video below to learn more about how Beacon works:

How does machine learning offer an advantage over fixed approach?

Fixed approach strategy uses the temperature of water leaving the cooling tower plus a fixed value, commonly 7℉. This control methodology only makes adjustments in response to weather, but does not consider factors like changes in load, variations in utility cost, or flow rates — all of which influence optimal behavior. Our machine learning algorithms can condense and process all relevant data for system modeling. Beacon considers all factors impacting system performance and produces optimized settings that are implemented many times throughout each day.

What BAS/BMS systems does Beacon integrate with?

Beacon easily integrates with any system that exposes equipment data via the BACNet protocol. This occurs via an edge gateway (mini industrial PC), or as a pure software integration. 

Beacon connects to Tridium, Schneider, Automated Logic, Johnson Controls, Siemens, and Trane systems, among others. 

Security & Trust:

My company has a strict cybersecurity policy. How does Tagup protect our data?

At Tagup, we understand the need to keep data secure and confidential. Tagup has implemented robust security policies that comply with industry standards and has undergone some of the most rigorous regulatory requirements to maintain data security.

  • TLS 1.2 protocols
  • AES256 encryption
  • Always protected with over the air patches
  • Validated by 3rd party audits
  • Robust end-user security tools
  • Redundant hosted software service

Visit our security page for in-depth details:

Will I have visibility into how Beacon is affecting my cooling system performance?

Yes. Tagup delivers email reports with a full breakdown of cost savings, emissions reductions, system performance, and other key performance indicators. If desired, operators can access a live dashboard with all sensor data and Beacon output.

Do I have to worry about Beacon damaging my cooling system equipment or affecting tenant comfort?

No. Any control parameter will only be changed within a safe range of values based on manufacturer recommendations or internal requirements, whichever is stricter. We welcome contact with engineers or operators to address any concerns.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for any questions specific to your site.

Ben Keylor
Ben Keylor
Sr. Content Manager
September 26, 2023