You've got a basic understanding of the relative EUI of several or all of your buildings, you're watching your main meters and you may have identified one or two buildings that need a deeper review. What next?
Let's work with what you have:
- Lighting control system data may be available to help understand the impact of the lighting to the building's energy consumption.
- Sub-metering zones or individual circuits with kWh meters or amperage loggers can help understand how lighting, plug or equipment loads are affecting the building’s energy consumption.
- Building Automation Data is the Rosetta stone that can tell us how your HVAC equipment and industrial processes are related to energy consumption, how they are combined and scheduled to cause peak demand situations, and whether or not small scheduling changes can help to reduce energy during off-peak hours.
If the buildings that need more attention are equipped with any of the industry standard Building Automation Systems (BAS) from Johnson Controls, Honeywell, or the less popular and proprietary middleware solutions such as SkySpark, SiteSage, etc, we can learn a lot more about how your buildings are performing. At first we'll do a baseline review to make sure all sensors are calibrated, and then we can focus on building startup patterns, occupancy modes, and specific energy asset performance profiles. The answers to most questions, and the opportunity for tangible energy savings all lie in the data.
We don't need to look at every building, and we can focus on certain asset classes within a building. This isn't an all-or-nothing proposition; we tune our work to your budget and resources, and we let the data lead us to the logical Next Step of where the largest energy savings opportunities may be hiding. In our work, it's usually the case that a Soft Start review of several buildings at a facility points to a small subset of those buildings that need the extra attention. If you're starting from zero, it makes sense to first look at those buildings with the higher EUI. Even then, knowing your region and building types, we can further refine the effort to look at specific subsystems.
What's the Process?
Using a representative sample of your building automation data (one month or more), we disaggregate the sensors from the trend files to meta tag each to its functional role. We also group the sensors to their respective assets.
Once the sensors are tagged to their roles and assets, we can combine their data with known asset values like motor speeds, fan sizes, etc, to calculate whether the assets are operating to expectation, and to the industry standard best practices defined by NIST APAR, ASHRAE and AEE, as well as to your expectation of what it should cost to operate your building. For large assets like boilers and chillers, we'll create a cost-to-operate model that uses your BAS data to drive the calculations and see how those assets compare to the theoretical models.
Not really! We are committed to ROI of under one year, and we can deliver O&M savings opportunities that are on the order of 3 to 7 pennies per square foot depending on what's available from the BAS. According to BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association International), the average operating costs for commercial space is $2.12/ft2. If there's a 5% savings to be had with simple O&M adjustments, that's worth $0.11/ft2. So we know your math requires that building energy intelligence must be well below this threshold. Yes, we put CEM eyes on your facility in an aggressive way to learn how your facility is being operated, but once into a steady-state mode of Consistent Commissioning, only the exceptions to what has been prescribed and implemented will rise to the forefront in the form of weekly or monthly reporting that quickly isolates the conditions that warrant attention.
AEI Next Step is your scalable way into that steady-state world of Consistent Commissioning. Our commitment is to a triple bottom line proposition - lower energy costs, lower maintenance costs, and a more sustainable energy economy. If you operate a facility that engages the public such as a school or library, ask us about the fourth bottom line proposition of community engagement.