In The News

My Vacuum Robot Story– a CBCP’s Excursion

Major Characters & Roles

“The Owner”

Obviously, it would be my Wife and the Mom, since she did all the cleaning normally, routinely (and
tirelessly), including both managing the in-house crew, which includes her and me, and while we
were outsourcing, when I was super busy traveling the world working and making big salaries;
especially since after the RW (Remote Work) call or most recently the HW (Hybrid Work) call. By
working from home, she is also the “Occupant”, or “Occupier”, and, as always, the CFO of the
Family, or the “High Earner” (these days). While, behind the scene, in fact, it was me who bought
this $1,000 plus AI Robotic Vacuum (floor) Cleaner – I looked into the trend, general housewives’
love for washing machines, dish washers, and fancy vacuum robots, did the research, made the
procurement, and financed (paid in full) the purchase, although I never talk about it.

“The Opener” (& “Operator” and the “IT Guy”)

That would be my teenaged son! Since Mom prefers independence (financially, achievement wise,
and literally everything!), he became the go-to guy she relies on, and labeled as “smart”, “handy” and
tech savvy. He opened up the box and set it up – once it (the robot) started humming and running
and sweeping the floors, success was claimed and words of praise were poured in; furthermore, he
downloaded the App to his phone and set it up for controls. Since we (nobody) want to download
once again on another person’ smart phone, and even if doing that, still need to set up a different
account or share the same account (or whatever the hesitation and/or clumsiness/possibility), he
became the only one with the app and (on what relates to the robot) we have to go through him!

The By-Stander & Ultimate Beneficiary

(who benefited from the “Lessons Learnt Workshop” and continuous education and training (from me, on this case study; I also offered to the others (the Wife and the “Operator” Son), but they never got it or willing to listen!) That would be my younger son, and who hadn’t turned into a teenager yet; if this incident happened now, it would probably be a different case, since he just turned a teenager!

The AEE Member, CBCP, QA/QC Agent, Quiet Observer, Action Taker & Everything Else

That would be me, the House’s only Commissioning Agent (CBCP), and O&M Supervisor “hidden”.

The Phenomena (Issues Log)

  1. Since I’m also an Energy Analyst and have established a house utilities bills monitoring and
    analysis program, I could see the electrical bills made a bump since the robot came home.
    The robot also has charging options and controls scenarios/sequences that coordinate and
    only charge it during off-peak demand hours to save costs and respond to the potentially
    “smart” grid, which the “Operator” and I eventually set up, after the incident, and is basically
    an hourly schedule.
  2. As observant as me (as a CBCP), after the glorious and hyped beginning days of the Robot’s
    inception, I noticed the work appeared to be somehow turn sloppy, since some dusty freckles
    or crumbs were never picked up! I started wondering about its vacuuming power and the
    actual extent of effectiveness; while since I was also on other thousands of things each day,
    this annoyance was in my back burner, of low priority; and after all, I bought it home.
  3. There was a red light showed up at the docking station sometimes, then not there the other
    times, and then it was there lit steadily all the time.
  4. Long story short, then One Day, I could not stay on the sideline anymore, I stepped in. I
    grabbed the manual and started studying the parts and “who is who”, the sequences and
    controls, the O&M (Operation and Maintenance) procedures and trouble-shootings (of errors
    and common issues), and it turned out our problems experienced were multifold and fatal!!!!
    Basically, the in-robot dust collecting bin (“Dustbin”) was completely clogged, with packed
    and hardened dust, particles, hair, and whatsoever; it could not collect any more dust, so it
    was only running around, “pretending” to clean. This $1,000 plus robot is “supposed” to
    clean, self-vacuum to Dock’s Disposable Dust Bag, mop the floors, and self-wash the mop,
    etc. While I really cannot “blame” the Robot, with what the general Public (the other three)
    did/do, and I can only see the lack of commissioning (Cx), systematic training, and when
    O&M up-keep is missing, what and how bad it could lead to. Yes, we (they) did a
    “spectacular” start-up, in general laymen’s eyes, while we never had a fully functional
    system, nor full performance, not even talking about the life-cycle (performance, and ROI).

    The Awe
    In my AEE energy engineer’s eyes, this “little Monster” (the Robot), gobbles all the energy (pure
    electricity) and humming around upon its own pleasure, while doing nothing, literally, anything! while
    the whole society (the House members) are all happy and fine with it!!!! What an illusion and

    The Outcome & Current Status
    As I checked this morning, the Dustbin is clean, the floors were mopped right last night, the schedule is only to operate on Thursday and Sunday nights, and the Clean and Dirty Water Tanks are both filled and within limits, while I do need to order more Disposable Dust Bags (made in China), since we are on the last one. I did my on-line research and sourcing for spare parts and dust bags, and they appear to be reasonably priced and have plenty vendors, options, OEMs, and channels. The actual procurement process and performance is still to be experienced and seen.

    Words of Wisdom
    Things are seldom what they appear to be, so QA/QC are always needed. Combining a QC (CBCP)
    mind with an AEE Energy Professional’s further trained and developed 6th sense, human intelligence stands up with the help of AI, leads the World and makes it a better place, for All, especially our loved ones (the general Public, AKA, those 3), and our societies. After all, it’s never the Robot’s fault.

    Once you’re certified as a CBCP, your firm could apply and be certified as a CBCF (Certified
    Building Commissioning Firm)!

About the Author

Song Deng, M.S., P.E., C.B.C.P., C.M.V.P., C.E.A., R.E.P., AEE Hall-of-Fame
Inductee Technical Advisor, Bee®
Song, the CBCP/CBCF Board Chair and a CEA Board Member, formerly served as an Associate Director at the Energy Systems Lab of Texas A&M University, where he directed an internationally leading group of researchers, engineers, technicians and graduate students implementing building energy efficiency projects with an annual R&D/consulting budget over $8 million. He was the lead Principal Investigator for a comprehensive energy management program on the Texas A&M university campus, for which cumulative savings exceeded $90 million over a period of 17 years. Teamed with Dr. W. Dan Turner, the two personally walked through and assessed more than 600 buildings and campuses globally during the past three decades, leading cutting-edge data-driven energy conservation and asset/resource management programs resulted in measured and documented avoided costs and energy savings over $300 million. They co-developed DOE/AEE’s MCBCP® certification course and AEE’s CBCP® International & Domestic certification courses. Song is also on World Bank’s roster of energy efficiency experts.
In 2010, Song and Dr. Turner co-founded the Theory of Nodal Partners, which reflects their view of
today’s world, IT, infrastructure, energy and utilities’ supplies, transportation, storage and consumption, smart grid of everything, interplay and readiness. Currently, as the Technical Advisor at Austin, TX-based Bee (Building energy efficiency,, Song consults and lectures worldwide in the scientific fields of monitoring & platform-based life-cycle building commissioning, master planning, asset and resource management, ESPC, UESC and PACE independent 3rd party M&V and integrated quality assurance, energy efficiency, O&M, sustainability and resiliency, smart buildings/campus/grid, CHP, TES, district-, micro-, and nano-grids, big data analytics, blockchain, quantum, and portable nuclear and hydrogen theories, and fog intelligence.