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When Approachable + Expertise Doesn’t Equal an Oxymoron

When you’re looking for an expert, you want to work with the Einsteins of the industry. But what happens when you get an Einstein who can’t explain their innovations or play nicely with your operators?

When it comes to chilled water systems, tekWorx offers a unique blend of Approachable Expertise®, increasing operational efficiency and reducing energy costs while partnering clients with pragmatic and available experts.

The tekWorx team of experienced engineers constantly delivers customized solutions and services, but their dedication doesn’t stop there. They pride themselves on being accessible and collaborative during all the phases of chilled water plant optimization projects, on plants small and large.

Our chilled water optimization process:

  1. Qualify & Quantify Through an online or on-site System Energy Assessment (SEA), our engineers thoroughly review your chilled water system’s infrastructure, operating history and equipment to provide a detailed energy payback analysis.
  2. Flexible Design & Installation We don’t believe a one-size-fits-all solution can truly optimize a plant. Instead, our team designs a solution utilizing your existing equipment and unique layout and tekWorx adaptive control algorithms to ensure continuous, real-time efficiency.
  3. Monitor & Verify Our work doesn’t end with system installation and startup. After comprehensive operator training, remote communication and monitoring capabilities allow our engineers to be available at all times.

tekWorx solutions are easily integrated into plants of all types – pharmaceutical sites, automotive plants, telecom centers, hospitals, college campuses and more – and all mechanical configurations.

See how we cut cooling costs by 40% and earned a $800,000 utility rebate for an auto plant, all while providing superior support and service.

For more information

To see tekWorx can put our Approachable Expertise® to work for you, contact us. For the most up-to-date news and events, follow us on LinkedIn.


How tekWorx Helped a Major Pharmaceutical Site Save $542,000

tekWorx recently worked alongside Allergan’s Global Energy team to optimize chilled water plant operations at their Irvine, CA manufacturing site. The makers of such well-known products as BOTOX®, JUVEDERM® and LATISSE® were struggling to meet an installed capacity of 6,300 tons due to hydronic issues and the load shedding required on high wet bulb temperature days.

Modifications had also been made over the years that caused system and equipment imbalances that negatively impacted the site’s energy profile. While a BAS control system was in place and functional, it did not provide any optimization.

After an initial assessment of the plant’s operating profile via data submitted in a Chiller Plant Optimization Evaluation, tekWorx engineers devised a customized adaptive control strategy that would allow the Irvine site to:

  • Maximize capacity using minimal kW/ton
  • Improve equipment utilization, thereby improving redundancy
  • Decrease manual intervention
  • Reduce equipment wear and tear

Because the site already had a functional BAS system, tekWorx took a pragmatic approach by integrating our supervisory CEO® with Allergan’s existing system instead of replacing it completely. tekWorx engineers converted the plant to a full variable flow, reset CHW supply temperature based on enthalpy, and implemented efficiency-based chiller sequencing to improve utilization and performance, all with minimal downtime.

The results

tekWorx solution enabled Allergan to minimize pump flow and power consumption, ensuring that the optimal set of equipment is always in operation. But what does that really mean for the bottom line? As you can see, the results speak for themselves:

  • 5 cents blended utility rate
  • $542,000 annual utility cost savings
  • $250,000 utility rebate
  • ~6-month payback
  • >4,700,000 kWh saved annually

The tekWorx results don’t end here. Check out our case studies for more happy bottom lines in a wide range of industries.

For more information

To see how tekWorx can put our Approachable Expertise to work for you, contact us with your chiller control and optimization questions. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for our most up-to-date news and events.

How Professor Pump Became a Guiding Force at tekWorx

You sometimes meet people and immediately understand their impact will be felt far and wide for years to come.

Our co-founder Burt Rishel was one of those people. He made his mark in design,Burt Rishel, Co-Founder engineering and writing while influencing those around him with his intelligence, heart and dedication.

A gifted engineer and a captain of the Army Air Corps, his first major achievement was as a principal designer for the CG-10A glider, which became the first Assault Cargo aircraft. Then
he found his true professional love – pumping systems –
which earned him the nickname Professor Pump.

Professor Pump first founded Systecon, and then helped launch tekWorx in 2000. He loved designing pumping systems and helping companies operate more efficiently. His work took him across the country, serving as a consultant for the chilled water systems at the Denver International Airport, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Institutes of Health.

A prolific writer of technical articles, he also wrote two influential books: “HVAC Pump Handbook” and “Water Pumps and Pumping Systems.”

“At tekWorx, we are indebted to our co-founder, friend and inspiration. His knowledge made us a pioneer in the field. His mentorship molded us. His customer-first focus motivated us,” says Managing Partner Mike Flaherty.

Burt passed away in August 2013, leaving a legacy that all of us at tekWorx strive to live up to every day.

For more information

Discover the next generation of Professor Pumps. Contact tekWorx today with your energy-saving questions and see how we can partner together to achieve an effective chiller plant optimization solution. Plus, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for our most up-to-date news and events.

How to Combat Higher Energy Prices – Today and Tomorrow

2017 is shaping up to be a volatile year in electrical prices.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is predicting higher prices for electricity, driven by higher than expected natural gas prices. Natural gas prices could soar because of rising exports to
Mexico and production that’s predicted to fall for the first time since 2005.

Natural gas generates more electricity in the United States than other fuel sources, making it a key driver in pricing. Other significant factors that could affect the variability of natural gas prices include:

  • Natural gas supply realignment – reserves fell below five-year averages at the end of 2016 after being near all-time highs through most of the year
  • Changing weather predictions – lower heating demand could check natural gas price recovery in the short term

How you can save on energy costs

With surging prices, it’s now even more crucial to find energy savings where you can. At tekWorx, we provide energy-saving solutions – for any size plant, any mechanical configuration and any control system.

In fact, our proven optimization solutions can cut energy costs up to 50%. Learn more about our larger chiller optimization or our smaller chiller optimization solutions and put the Approachable Expertise® of tekWorx to work for you.

For more information

Contact us with your energy-saving questions and see how we can partner together to achieve a comprehensive chiller plant optimization solution. Plus, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn  for our most up-to-date news and events.


Chillin’ in the New Year

As we kick off 2017, tekWorx and our clients have a lot to celebrate. We’ve worked together to implement chilled water optimization solutions that have cut energy usage and amped up cost savings at their facilities. Here are the highlights:

2016: At a glance

Nissan upgraded their cooling efficiency at a critical vehicle assembly plant without manufacturing downtime using tekWorx innovative hydronic design and adaptive Control Engine Optimization® solution. The result: Cut energy costs by 40% with a 2-year payback.

For UNC’s Charlotte campus, Ameresco requested our hydronic expertise and an adaptive Control Engine Optimization CEO® system that exceed the original kW/ton reduction targets. The result: Cut cooling costs by 30% under performance contract.

Year in and year out, you can count on Approachable Expertise® from our team of highly skilled engineers who will design, install and support your unique chiller plant solution.

New year, new products

Cut out handwritten log sheets and get the technology that self-diagnoses any problems for you.

Our clients can expect 2017 to bring them even stronger result
s with our new chiller optimization technology tools and resources. First up, ChillerCheck®  ̶  our smart, efficient and fast way to root out refrigerant leaks or fouled coils and tubes that turn into major energy hogs:

  • Collects and analyzes key chiller parameters
  • Determines if the chiller is operating within specs
  • Provides real-time alerts and suggests corrective action
  • Calculates the inefficiencies’ cost impact

Did you know? Chillers can lose up to 30% efficiency and still appear to operate adequately.

For more information

We hope 2017 is a fantastic year for our clients and we look forward to creating efficiencies for our current and new customers alike. Contact us ith your next project request and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the most up-to-date news and events.


COACH™: Integrated Chiller Control and Optimization In One


tekWorx recently announced the successful completion of multiple installations of COACH™, an integrated chiller plant control and energy optimization system scalable to plants with as few as two chillers.

Using tekWorx CEO® adaptive control technology to control chillers, pumps, and towers, the COACH ™ continuously optimizes total plant kW per ton. The field-configurable package includes a 17” touchscreen and BMS/web gateway in a NEMA 12 enclosure.

“Traditional optimization systems require a BAS to execute the control function, and the combined cost and complexity is simply impractical for smaller and mid-sized plants,” said Mike Flaherty, tekWorx GM. “Integrating the control and optimization functions not only reduces implementation cost but allows our typical 20 to 50 percent saving rage to be realized in these smaller facilities. ”

Built on an industrial-grade PLC platform, the COACH™ uses adaptive control algorithms to maximize plant efficiency in real-time with no ongoing manual tweaking. Fully interactive HMI screens, data logging, trending and alarm handling ensure the COACH™ is both user-friendly and metric-driven.

About tekWorx

Founded in 2000, tekWorx is a leader in chilled water plant optimization. Using proven adaptive control algorithms, tekWorx solutions ensure the most efficient combination of plant equipment is operating at its most efficient point. The tekWorx CEO® solution often eliminates any need for new equipment or plant expansions.

For more information on tekWorx, please visit us at

How Demand Control Ventilation Can Reduce Energy Costs


In spaces that have widely varying levels of occupancy, demand control ventilation can reduce energy use and costs.

This is especially true in spaces that are unoccupied for significant stretches of time-think churches, large auditoriums, and even offices and retail spaces to a large extent. Despite that fact, most HVAC systems are designed to bring in the same level of outside air and do so continuously, a significant waste in respect to both energy and money.

To combat such inherent inefficiencies, demand control ventilation strategies can be implemented to bring in outside air only when needed. In a nutshell, demand control ventilation relies on the fact that humans produce carbon dioxide. Demand control strategies therefore hinge on installing sensors to measure carbon dioxide levels-when levels rise, more outside air is brought in and, you guessed it, when levels fall, the amount of outside air brought in is reduced.

While it seems simple, demand control ventilation strategies can seriously reduce energy costs due to the fact that outdoor air has to be conditioned by the HVAC system and less air, then, has to be moved. Something to think about!

Replace Oversize Motors to Reduce HVAC Energy Consumption

oversized energy hogs

Many commercial and institutional facilities are equipped with more motors operating in their HVAC systems than is realized. Famous energy hogs, motors therefore offer great opportunities to make a significant impact on a facility’s energy usage.

One notorious cause of energy inefficiency within HVAC systems is a mismatch between the motor’s rated horsepower and the load it is driving.  While most of these systems use induction motors because of their known reliability and efficiency, like chillers themselves, these benefits drops off significantly when operating under part-load conditions. Properly matching motor horsepower to system load requirements is a simple way to realize major energy savings.

In order to assess this situation in your plant, you’ll want to conduct a survey on HVAC system motors to identify those that are significantly oversized for their application. The goal of the process is to develop a comprehensive list of applications that use motors, including information on the motor horsepower, the load it is driving, and the age and rated efficiency of the motor.

With this data, you can determine which motors in your plant are candidates for replacement, the end result of which provides you with two major benefits: improving the operating efficiency of the system and a quick payback via the efficiency gains you’ll see from an appropriately matched duo.

VFDs: More Than Just A Pretty Face


While managers most often cite energy management as the reason for installing a VFD, the technology offers other significant benefits, including reduced motor and drive maintenance and longer motor life.

To appreciate some of the lesser discussed benefits, compare and contrast a motor’s start-up process with that of a VFD. When a motor starts, the current it draws is typically much greater than the current it draws at full load. During repeated start-stop cycles over the motor’s operating life, this in-rush current leads to overheating and and stress of the motor’s windings. Ultimately, this can lead to motor failure.

On the flip side, VFDs control motor start-up by initially applying a very low frequency and voltage to the motor. The voltage and frequency are ramped up at a controlled rate, greatly reducing the in-rush current. This extends the motor’s life by not overheating and stressing the motor windings as significantly.

Finally, VFDs reduce maintenance costs associated with the motors and associated electrical components (cables, contacts, connectors,etc.) By regulating the in-rush current, VFDs prevent  the pitting, corrosion, and insulation breakdown associated with overheating the motor.

Motors and Drives and VFDs, Oh My!

old motor

We’ve come along way from rusty old motors. Recent developments in the design of motors, drives and other related components have opened the door to new savings opportunities. Take a look.

Right-size: Seems simple but studies show that 55% percent of applications use oversized motors, even though drives and other components, such as gearboxes and driven fans, pumps, and compressors, must be the right size for the load. A motor operating at 80-100 percent of full-load current at design voltage will operate most efficiently so take note.

Upgrade: The Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992 set higher efficiency standards for motors sold in the United States after 1997. Manufacturers continued to develop motors with greater efficiencies, and in 2001, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) recognized this effort by establishing a better-than-EPAct rating, NEMA Premium. These motors have more iron and copper, closer tolerances, and smaller air gaps. Since a motor’s operating cost far exceeds its first cost, replacing a pre-EPAct motor with these higher-efficiency models can yield a payback period of three years or less. Hot damn.

Timing belts. New synchronous, non-slip belts require less tension, meaning a longer bearing life. More impermeable to water and also more stable, these belts eliminate re-tensioning. Further, improved tooth designs allow deeper tooth seating, and taper lock-shaft adapters offer more shaft sizes for the same size sprockets. Their shorter axial dimension results in less overhang because the belt centerline is closer to the bearing, reducing misalignment.

VSDs: Permanent magnet motors with VSDs offer more energy-efficient options for cooling-tower fans than the traditional induction motors coupled to the fan via a right-angle drive. VSDs direct connection between the motor to the fan can eliminates up to six bearings, depending on whether the drive. This not only reduces the need for bearing lubrication and gearbox oil changes, but significantly lowers maintenance costs.

Checklist: Deciding Whether to Upgrade or Replace Building Automation Systems


Once your current building needs have been evaluated, the next logical step is to calculate whether an upgrade or replacement will allow these needs to be met more efficiently.

1. He loves me, he loves me not:  It may sound silly, but compiling a list of the pros and cons for a replacement and for a new BAS will help you flush out the major implications for each BAS track.  Some food for thought:

  • Ease of new(er) system operation
  • Training time- in dollars AND hours
  • Maintenance expectations


2. Take it easy:  How easily can the upgrade be implemented? An easy upgrade path should ensure the level of functionality will be met. Lots of ‘well, you won’t be able to…” or “now you’ll have to” may mean a new system is the more efficient outfit.
3. Take it to the limit:  Evolution in the building automation field has brought immense changes to BAS capabilities. The tradeoff of  increased system performance at a lower cost has been that made many older but perfectly functioning systems are now obsolete. Many of those systems simply are not compatible with the architecture employed in new system designs, making an upgrade a clumsy option.

4. It’s not me, it’s you: Finally, it’s useful to evaluate the relationship with the vendor that supports the existing system. Vendor issues weigh heavily in the decision-making process, but be careful not to confuse the lack of vendor support with poor system performance.


Whether you want to upgrade or replace, tekWorx can work with any BAS system to ensure your chiller plant is operating most efficiently.  It doesn’t matter if it’s old or new, tekWorx CEO® can either replace you outdated BAS or work in a supervisory role if your BAS is in perfectly great shape.

Replacing v. Upgrading Your BAS Network

to be or not to be
To replace or not to replace…

Wondering whether it’s more practical to replace your existing building automation system or to upgrade it? Consider three major points in favor of biting the bullet and replacing your BAS.

  1.  Moore’s Law: Holding on to your old system may limit its ability to perform.  New systems have expanded capacity, capability and can streamline data readings from multiple interfaces into a single, comprehensive system. Wireless technology has helped to reduce installation costs while increasing system flexibility. New systems are often less expensive than their dated counterparts once were and much more user friendly.
  2.  In-house Integration: Depending on the life of your other functioning equipment, replacing your BAS with a newer system may allow a more robust interaction among instruments. Upgrading an existing system may bring system features and facility needs into closer alignment, but will never be as close as that of a complete replacement.
  3.  All Good Things Come to an End: Eventually, your BAS will become obsolete-the trick is to determine whether it already is. Evaluate whether the system has some life left or whether it’s best to reset the clock now before the compatibility window has been shut.

    tekWorx CEO® can optimize your chiller plant by either becoming your plant’s brand new BAS, or by simply acting in a supervisory manner to coach your existing system to operate more efficiently.