Breaking Ground: How Building Tune-Ups Can Save Energy and Money
In the July/August 2021 issue of Breaking Ground magazine, McKim & Creed Regional Manager Chris Martin, Jr., PE, outlines the benefits of building tune-ups and provides insights on how building tune-ups optimize building performance, reduce energy consumption, and save money.
Just like car tune-ups, a building tune-up allows engineers to evaluate buildings and their performance holistically. That is what engineers at McKim & Creed, Inc., did when they were called to Western Carolina University (WCU) to address an over-pressurization issue. The project morphed into a complete building tune-up that explored such issues as:
- Matching space usage to equipment operating schedule, or are we over-cooling?
- Adjusting supply fan speed to precisely meet the demand, or what’s driving our fan speed?
- Adjusting supply temperature to precisely meet demand, or what’s driving our cooling?
- Economizing, or why not use free, cool, dry air instead of mechanical cooling?
- Resolving air pressurization issues, or why do the doors blow open?
- Optimizing chiller operation, or why does our chiller run only 30 minutes?
“What appealed to us about a building tune-up is that it is more focused on the building automation systems,” explained David King, energy manager at WCU. “Instead of creating a lengthy report, we said, ‘Let’s document what we need to do now and what we can get to later.’ Our number one goal was to resolve the pressurization issue, but our overarching goal was to improve energy efficiency and improve overall building performance.”
The tune up reduced energy usage by 15 percent, saved almost 400,000 kWh in the first 12 months and resulted in a 95 percent return on investment with a simple payback of just over one year.
To read more about how building tune-ups can optimize buildings to save energy and money, click on the image above.