Hurst Mechanical Makes Energy Savings a Reality for Local Retirement Community

By GREENSTAR | 02/21/2013

The building management and residents at Clark Retirement Community in Grand Rapids, MI, are feeling good for a multitude of reasons.  They’ve partnered with Hurst Mechanical (Belmont, MI) to make a commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability and the pay-off has been more than they imagined (or asked for).
The journey began when Hurst Mechanical performed an energy benchmark for Clark Retirement Community (Clark) in early 2012.  The 106-year-old building scored 12 out of 100 on the ENERGY STAR rating scale.  Mike Ignatoski, Clark’s Director of Capital Projects and Facilities, was already taking steps to make changes to the buildings, but was surprised to find out how much room Clark had for improvement. 
Hurst Mechanical performed a comprehensive energy audit to identify the major systems in the building that were contributing to Clark’s low ENERGY STAR score.  Led by Cheri Holman, LEED AP O+M, Energy Reduction Manager at Hurst Mechanical, the team had to produce a return on investment in five years. The outcome was a plan that asserted that time and money spent now would reap remarkable benefits in the future, saving the company a projected $1.2 million over a 15-year period on utility costs.  Holman says this estimate did not even consider the potential and highly probable rise of utility prices in the future.

From Rags to Riches

Since the project’s kick-off in April 2012 to Clark’s most recent energy evaluation in November 2012, Clark’s ENERGY STAR score improved drastically to 25 out of 100.  The combined energy savings has already exceeded Hurst’s original projection.  In just seven months and with the project still underway, the combined electric savings soared to $92,214.  At this rate, Holman expects that after the final numbers are tallied, Clark will ring in at a substantially improved 40 out of 100 ENERGY STAR rating.

Three Elements to Success

The foundation of Clark’s success story is Hurst Mechanical’s engaged, educated team.  Hurst is progressive in their approach to integrating equipment that conserves energy and enhances their customer’s bottom line. To reach Clark’s efficiency potential, Hurst implemented three major system upgrades: 
1.    A new 390 Ton McQuay frictionless technology chiller that operates without oil;
2.    A new Tridium Web-based energy management system with demand control ventilation capability; and
3.    Forty new VFD’s (variable frequency drives) for all the major fan and pump motors.
Clark’s progress can be traced in large part to its new McQuay chiller, which not only reduced maintenance costs and power consumption, but also receives the largest incentive for chiller equipment from Consumers Energy, the facility’s energy provider.  As a result of the aggregate energy conservation initiative, Hurst Mechanical expects a 20 percent reduction in gas and electric usage combined.

Sustainability as a Way of Life

Hurst’s and Clark’s sustainability efforts have become much more than simply replacing equipment. Clark is currently entered in the 2012 ENERGY STAR National “Biggest Loser” competition.  (Winners will be announced on April 23, 2013.)
Clark’s staff and residents have also formed a “Green Team” dedicated to ongoing sustainability. Hurst has been instrumental in coordinating with this team to train Clark’s maintenance staff on the new control system and to organize Green Team and resident events.  “There is a significant amount of savings to be gained from behavior modification,” Holman says.  On April 17, they are partnering to host a Green Awareness event that will showcase Clark’s energy efficiency accomplishments and provide presentations and booth displays to educate attendees on sustainability.
Follow Hurst’s progress on the Clark Retirement Community project on the Hurst Mechanical Blog . Hurst was also recently featured on the front page of the Grand Rapids Business Journal : “ Clark Retirement Community takes proactive approach to sustainability .”