Category: Energy Consumption

Optimizing HVAC in the Growing Health Care System

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Hospitals and health systems have become a noticeably booming industry. New health care facilities are sprouting up everywhere, from huge downtown medical districts to local branches in smaller communities. Unfortunately, a hovering cloud of worry follows the excitement for these new developments—expanding or opening these new health care buildings is a very expensive process. There are several components necessary for successful construction, primarily because once these heath systems projects are completed they automatically transition into mission critical situations with no room for error. Because of these mission critical scenarios, extensive research on central plant equipment is necessary in order to determine the most reliable and resilient investment in air and waterside regulation and circulation.

Optimizing these HVAC components is one way to ditch the long term expenses while implementing a quality solution. Saving money on unnecessary utility charges will cut central energy plant costs while keeping the building at the required comfort levels. The newly published Energy Retrofit Guide builds on this concept and outlines ways to optimize outdated and inefficient existing facilities, boosting scalability as well.

tekWorx engineers evaluate, assess, and retrofit old systems to improve redundancy and improve system efficiency. Proper management of utilities and plant operations are critical to keep this thriving health care industry prosperous. HVAC optimization is a way to keep these buildings sterile, safe, and secure for not only the patients, but for the preservation of the equipment and technology as well.

To read about some examples on how health care systems have improved their energy consumption via HVAC improvements check out this article from greenbiz.com!

Sustainability: A Treasure Hunt for a Better Energy Solution

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When we hear the term “sustainability,” we automatically think of the trends that have been surfacing in our world over the past couple of years. Questions like “How can we make our world greener?” or “How can we save energy and resources?” seem to appear everywhere. Although awareness has been raised, the basic fixes like recycling and turning off lights are simply not enough to solve the problem. The real solutions for going green and industrial energy usage dilemmas can deceive us by appearing more complicated than they really are. Treasure hunts are one solution to these problems. As a strategy that helps to bring several skills into play, treasure hunts involve a team of employees working together to evaluate and assess the energy consumption in a facility. These different perspectives, knowledge, and expertise join together to create a customized energy efficiency solution.

An inevitable find in these commercial and industrial treasure hunts is the hidden cost of cooling. By recovering this wasted energy, companies not only become more energy conscious but also end up saving money (treasure) while going green—an ideal solution. Sustainability, energy efficiency, and treasure hunts go hand-in-hand and when done correctly provide major kWh savings, sparing the pain of expensive energy bills.

tekWorx reduces the energy usage for customers by optimizing chilled water plant production. tekWorx CEO® system not only helps the environment by controlling the amount of resources used, it also prevents unnecessary spending through its customized adaptive control algorithms. Check out our chiller plant evaluation forms to see how much energy your plant can save with a customized control system from our Approachable Expertise® team. We’re here to make our world (and your wallets) a little greener!

Energy Efficiency Means Budget Efficiency

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After a rough winter, many buildings have gone way over their annual energy budgets in order to address the unpredictable changes in weather patterns. Now, budgetary issues are at the forefront as summer is quickly approaching and heating up the energy consumption in chilled water plants. So what can facility managers do to decrease energy costs and get their budgets back into the black? Conducting an energy audit can help to evaluate the current utility expense of a central plant as well as to map out potential energy savings strategies. Energy audits help to outline where the inefficiencies are occurring, pinpointing key areas to focus on when preforming a retrofit.

While the retrofit of a chilled water plant may appear to bust the bank, depleting more funds rather than gaining them, the exact opposite is true when initiated correctly. Retrofits designed to provide a short term payback can boost energy savings, decreasing the total dollars spent on energy throughout the years. In addition, governmentally funded rebate programs and utility company incentive programs decrease the amount of time it takes in order to realize annual plant savings.

tekWorx specializes in chiller plant system retrofits. By implementing adaptive control algorithms, energy efficiency is increased in the long term while short payback periods get energy budgets back on track. By looking for the root causes of wasted energy, tekWorx flushes out the issues that are jacking up utility costs while still meeting the load requirements for the building. Through the use of an innovative PLC-based system, demand is continuously monitored and overall plant kW/ton is improved. To find out how tekWorx can help to increase the energy efficiency in your central plant, fill out our Chiller Plant Evaluation Form.

Energy Efficiency Important As Ever

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As the United States Senate begins voting next week on a bill focused on energy, House Committees are looking to address issues that will boost energy efficiency in buildings, industries, and federal agencies. Energy efficiency remains a hot bed topic in governmental regulation and with businesses looking to decrease their energy costs. Globally, residential and commercial buildings account for 35 to 40 percent of total energy usage with commercial buildings consuming considerable energy in their HVAC systems, lighting, water heating, and other building automation systems. Worldwide retrofits aimed at decreasing energy consumption are expected to grow as an investment category from $68.2 billion in 2014 to $127.5 billion by 2023.

The primary use of energy within commercial buildings is in cooling production, 29 percent of which is consumed by chillers working to cool water temperatures to acceptable levels. Focusing on reducing the energy usage in equipment components, such as chillers, as well as in the overall systems will not only increase energy efficiency but improve profit margins in the process. tekWorx specializes in reigning in these energy guzzlers to optimize chilled water plants. tekWorx uses various innovative techniques to ensure the best combination of system components are being used to reduce kW per ton. By taking a holistic system approach and optimizing not only the chillers themselves, but the existing equipment within the central plant, overall cooling operations are drastically improved. To find out more on how tekWorx can optimize your chiller systems, check out our Results page.

DTE Energy Technical Seminar

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DTE Energy (Detroit Energy) is one of the nation’s largest diversified energy companies and focuses on rewarding those commercial customers making strides in energy efficiencies through financial incentives, resources and guides, and project financing assistance. DTE Energy’s Efficiency Program for Business also hosts seminars throughout the year with specific topics including energy consumption, cooling systems, efficient lighting installations, and information on new construction codes. In these seminars, experts share their experience and strategies relating to energy projects and the utility incentives they received to help offset capital costs.

On Thursday, March 6, 2014, DTE technical seminar will focus on cooling system optimization. tekWorx GM, Mike Flaherty, is featured at the event and will be sharing tips for optimizing chiller plants and how the CEO® system earned a major automotive plant DTE’s maximum energy rebate, $200K.

This event takes place at the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus. To see Mike and other experts share their experience with utility rebates, register here.

Demand for Smarter HVAC Systems

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Technological advancements have increased the need for increased accessibility and interconnectivity in all aspects of our lives. Now this drive in the demand for intelligent products that provide convenient ways to access real time data has made its way to the HVAC marketplace. This movement draws away from standard mechanical components and toward electronic components that provide greater energy conservation, comfort, and reliability to the user. The greatest focus, however, is on the need to saveenergy. The emphasis on intelligent products in the HVAC field underscores the importance of improving building response capabilities, monitoring green building initiatives, and ultimately keeping operators in control of their systems.

As a part of this foray into smarter HVAC units, tekWorx CEO® provides a PLC based system that utilizes adaptive controls to continually optimize chiller plant efficiency. The plant-specific algorithms work with any existing BAS and provides operators with exactly what they’re looking for in high-tech developments: a product with proven results. The sophisticated CEO® continually accesses plant data points and makes adjustments to reduce overall energy consumption in the facility’s central plant. The CEO® is conveniently accessible on any computer so adjustments can be made outside of the operator room – even at home. For more information on how tekWorx can make your central plant smarter fill out our Chiller Plant Evaluation Form.

Energy Expenditures Add Up for Large Hospitals

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It should come as no surprise that hospitals are among the largest consumers of energy in the country. Operating continuously throughout the year with a large fluctuation of employees, patients, and visitors passing between rooms full of energy intensive medical equipment means energy costs add up quickly. The greatest operating expense lies in the sophisticated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems that control the temperatures and air flow throughout the buildings and in the temperature sensitive operating rooms. According to a 2007 study, there were approximately 3,040 large hospital buildings in the U.S. averaging 644,300 sq. ft., and requiring regular HVAC maintenance and scheduled repair. Of these, 612 utilized chilled water over forced air for their cooling needs. The total kWh for these facilities was a staggering 13 billion, or approximately 21,757 thousand kWh per building. At an average electricity rate of 79₵/ kWh, the energy expenditures per building were enormous. With seven years of inflation and rising energy costs, those numbers have only continued to grow.

At tekWorx, our approach to chiller plant optimization allows chiller plants at critical facilities like hospitals to lower unnecessary energy consumption up to 50% by ensuring each piece of equipment is running at its most efficient point. This significantly reduces operating bills at such client projects as Bayfront Medical Center and Jackson Memorial Hospital (Florida). Using an adaptive control system, tekWorx continuously monitors critical system parameters in real time and automatically adapts online operations. The result; a lot less kWh, lower maintenance and training costs, and better control of overall operating costs. For more information on tekWorx successes in chiller plant optimization check out our Solutions page.

“Green Branding” Spreads Across Campuses

The newest trend to hit college campuses has nothing to do with current pop culture news and everything to do with energy efficiencies. Environmental considerations and sustainability initiatives have made their way into university recruiting campaigns with “green branding” in an effort to appeal to the generational importance of “green”. Campuses are increasingly highlighting their environmental credentials to attract prospective students. These branding strategies have spread to every facet of the university, from campus efficiency in buildings to student involvement in recycling management during sporting events.

Among those greening their campus facilities are Ohio University, Tennessee Tech University, and the University of North Carolina. These universities along with many others have consulted with tekWorx to optimize their chiller plants as a means of reducing the campus energy footprint. Focusing on a campus-wide cooling system has a dramatic impact on energy consumption as 20-30% of power and operating costs are associated with these areas. In addition, lower energy costs and reduced capital expenditure via tekWorx CEO® helped these colleges save “green” in more ways than one. To learn more about tekWorx recent involvements on campuses check out our Case Studies.

Retrofitting the Better Buildings Challenge

In 2011 the Obama administration initiated the Better Buildings Challenge, a directive to reduce commercial energy consumption by 20% and to nationally reduce energy by $40 billion by 2020. Unfortunately, finding such savings can be incredibly difficult for buildings when energy hogs remain hidden in faulty lighting, AC, thermostats, furnaces, switches, and fans that malfunction or are altered by human activity. The Better Buildings Challenge has propelled itself back into the spotlight with the recent opening of Seattle’s Bullitt Center in April of 2013. Designed to be 83% more efficient than is typical for a building its size, the Bullitt Center is (self) described as the world’s greenest building. The building works to restore the “natural environment” via solar panels, occupancy sensors, energy emissions, and natural lighting. Regrettably, this architectural marvel does little to provide a roadmap for the energy personnel at existing structures.

Luckily, tekWorx has a successful solution for retrofitting existing facilities. Although an often overlooked area, significant savings are tied to analysis of the chiller plant operations. With at least 30% of all energy costs derived from a building’s cooling system, utilizing tekWorx’s adaptive CEO® system allows facilities to cut their central energy plant costs by as much as 50%. As an added bonus, tekWorx uses a plant’s existing equipment and BMS systems generally eliminating the need for additional capital investments.

To find out how tekWorx can help optimize your central plant and surpass the Better Buildings Challenge reduction goal, fill out our Chiller Plant Evaluation form.

Ohio Scores High in Energy Efficiency in 2013

Every year the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranks cities and states in terms of energy usage and savings to score the states’ consumption rates, denote improvements, and outline policy initiatives. For 2013, tekWorx home state ofOhio ranked 18th overall with pronounced recognition for its energy improvement implementations. One contributing factor was the capital city of Columbus. The city scored a new rating as the 19th most energy efficient city in America thanks to strict adherence to utility policies, appliance standards, building codes, and vehicle policies.

As a company located in Ohio and focused on commercial energy efficiencies, tekWorx also works to advance the state of Ohio’s energy efficiency. Through mechanical and hydronic evaluations, utilization of existing plant equipment and adaptive control technology, tekWorx strives to reduce energy in Ohio and beyond.

For examples of tekWorx energy reductions check out our Case Studies into energy efficiency.