MSCA GreenSTAR™ Crockett Facilities Services Implements Energy-Efficient Measures to Help Federal Building Achieve ENERGY STAR Certification

By GreenSTAR | 02/28/2014

Crockett Facilities Services and Boland developed a real-time energy management dashboard customized for the customer.

Going green and saving energy continues to be the focus for government agencies, which are committed to promoting environmental stewardship and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Their goal is to minimize energy consumption without sacrificing building performance, and to achieve ENERGY STAR certification by meeting strict energy performance standards set by the EPA.

A 50-year-old 500,000+ square foot federal office building in Washington, D.C., recently met this goal, with the help of Crockett Facilities Services, Inc., a premier facilities operations and maintenance contractor headquartered in Maryland. Recognized by the Washington Business Journal as a top 10 mechanical contractor and top 25 women-owned business, Crockett Facilities Services provides on-site facilities management to government customers in eight states and mobile HVAC service throughout Maryland, D.C., and Virginia.

The green-conscious building owner challenged Crockett Facilities Services to analyze the building’s energy consumption, identify and implement measures to reduce utility usage, and control fluctuating office temperatures to increase tenant comfort. Crockett Facilities Services was up for the challenge.
 

Building Challenges
As is the case with many government facilities, some of the building’s mechanical equipment was outdated and in need of upgrades. Complicating this was the realization that certain components were obsolete, so replacement parts were not available. Most of the HVAC equipment was operated manually as it was not networked or controlled by a building energy management system (BEMS). Tenants manually adjusted thermostat settings in the building, resulting in varying temperatures throughout and HVAC systems running when the building was unoccupied at night. Five hundred-ton chillers, cooling towers, condenser water pumps, and hot water pumps could only be turned on or off, so they were continually operating at 100% capacity, even when only 10% of capacity was required. In the garage, exhaust fans and lights were running 100% of the time even under unnecessary conditions. All of these factors caused excessive energy usage as well as unnecessary wear-and-tear on equipment.


A Networked Solution
Leveraging more than 10 years of facilities maintenance experience in managing more than 15 million square feet of commercial and government buildings, Crockett Facilities Services went to work. In a partnership with Boland, a D.C.-based energy services company, and a local Trane representative, Crockett Facilities Services created a comprehensive, innovative building energy management system for energy efficiency. Energy simulation software was used to identify energy conservation measures (ECM) and to prioritize them based on energy savings.

Many changes were implemented to control and track energy usage and performance.

-          1,050 fan coil thermostats were connected to the BEMS. Crockett Facilities Services programmed temperature set points for all thermostats after analyzing the optimal temperatures for when the building is occupied and unoccupied, resulting in consistent comfortable office temperatures, satisfied tenants, and a 50% decrease in customer HVAC service calls. In addition, this ECM significantly reduced the issue of simultaneous heating and cooling associated with the fan coil units (FCUs) and central air handler units (AHUs). This produced an 8% decrease in kWh per year.

-          Variable frequency drives (VFDs) were installed on the chillers, cooling towers, and hot water pumps. Condenser water VFDs were repaired and put into use. With VFDs, the motor control was changed from constant to variable speed, enabling the equipment to operate at partial loads, thus decreasing the power requirements and saving operational costs. Likewise, the chiller plant was reprogrammed to optimize system operation, including energy efficient sequencing, condenser water temperature set point optimization, and enabling the free cooling system to run at optimal efficiency using outside air to chill the water, thus saving energy. The hot water system was networked to the BEMS to ensure energy efficient sequencing as well as ease of operation and tracking of water temperatures. Energy consumption decreased by approximately 45%, further reducing wear-and-tear on the units and increasing life expectancy by around 30%.

-          The garage exhaust fans and lighting controls were also added to the BEMS. This equipment was programmed to operate on a schedule, running only during business hours or as needed. A light measuring sensor was installed to gauge the amount of natural outdoor light and determine when supplemental lighting would be needed. Garage fans were programmed to operate with CO sensors so fans only operate when conditions warrant. Equipment run time has reduced, decreasing kWh per year by 280,000.
 

Energy Monitoring Dashboard
Crockett Facilities Services and Boland teamed up  to customize the real-time energy management dashboard and monitoring system, which networks the HVAC equipment, lighting, and electric and gas meters. With the BEMS, both Crockett Facilities Services and the customer can view, monitor and analyze the building’s energy consumption in real-time. The system recalculates and displays the building’s current ENERGY STAR score based on the real-time energy usage. Additionally, the system generates an alarm to the Crockett Facilities Services building staff when energy consumption is above normal levels, or when room temperatures are outside the acceptable range, so they can research and correct these issues quickly, ensuring that energy-saving goals are achieved. Ultimately, this BEMS design enables Crockett Facilities Services to proactively identify issues before they adversely impact the customer, and help to significantly reduce the number of service calls made.

The BEMS was designed for ease of use and quick, intuitive interaction. Unlike those with cumbersome drill-down menus, this BEMS has tabs similar to website designs, making it easy to navigate, and view the status of all equipment, energy efficiency, energy usage, settings, and equipment programming.

Now that the monitoring capabilities are in place, the energy efficiency analysis will be ongoing. Boland will work with Crockett Facilities Services to provide a quarterly report, analyzing load profiles, demand curves, energy consumption comparisons and recommendations for operational changes, repairs, or additional improvements. This will help ensure that the building operates in peak performance and continuously improves its energy savings.
 

The Result – ENERGY STAR Certification
All of these proactive measures have paid off – the government facility received its ENERGY STAR certification one year ahead of its goal. Its rating increased from 52 in April 2012 to 82 in December 2013, far surpassing its goal of 76, indicating that the building performs better than at least 82% of similar buildings.

Most importantly, the continuous monitoring of the facility’s systems enables Crockett Facilities Services to proactively respond to issues before tenants are even aware of problems, ensuring complete customer satisfaction. As Kevin Horihan, Crockett Facilities Services Project Manager, explains, “It’s a win-win. We save our customer money with lower utility bills, and the tenants are always comfortable. This system is a great example of how to provide better customer service.”


Significant, Successful Savings
As a result of these energy developments, Crockett Facilities Services has decreased overall energy usage by 1,919,042 kWh annually. This represents a significant energy savings of 17.7% annually.

 

For more information about this GreenSTAR case study or the MSCA GreenSTAR program, log-on to www.mscagreenstar.org or contact Barbara Dolim at bdolim@mcaa.org or 301-990-2210.

 

 

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