Category: Energy

Automotive Leader Reduces Energy Costs


In January, the Chrysler Technical Center Facilities Group received a $200,000 DTE Energy rebate check for reducing their central energy plants annual energy costs by approximately $1 million! The DTE “Energy Efficiency Program for Business” incentive provides rebates to DTE Energy’s electric commercial customers for retrofitting facilities with more energy-efficient equipment for HVAC systems or control operations. These customer incentives are rewarded to customers based on the first year of energy savings in kWh with $200,000 being the maximum rebate given out.

The Chrysler Technical Center is one of the largest facilities under one roof in the world and, at a staggering 17,000 tons, also holds one of the largest chilled water systems. The Chilled Water System Optimization Project’s primary objective was simple: reduce the annual 49 million kWh and the associated $3.9 million price tag while automating the previously manual system. A reduction of 12 million kWh/year in cooling hours, or roughly $1 million per year, was achieved utilizing a variable flow strategy that entailed the integration of modern PLCs, VFDs, a variety of DP sensors, water pump impeller trimming, and a proprietary control algorithm developed by tekWorx.

Congratulations to the CTC facilities group on their incredible achievement! For more information regarding tekWorx chiller plant optimization capabilities, check out Our Approach.

The Trouble with Temperature Control

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Delta, or ∆, is the word or symbol used to describe a difference between two related measurements. In the HVAC world, ∆ is used in reference to the difference between return and supply chilled water temperature. While the calculation to determine ∆ T is simple (T of return water less T of supply water), fluctuations in this number can have costly and complex repercussions in a chilled water plant.

Chiller plants are designed with the assumption that ∆ T will remain constant during the entire operating process. This ensures that the load is working efficiently to provide the necessary cooling requirements for the building or space. When the difference between return and supply water changes, the result can cause insufficient cooling loads. The common response to this condition is to bring on additional chillers in order to meet the load. As a result, there are circumstances where both pump energy and chiller energy unnecessarily increase to run two chillers. tekWorx hydronic and mechanical experts allows us to advise clients as to the most efficient chiller strategy. Depending on the facility, there are times when running two chillers is more efficient than one and vice versa. Further, tekWorx CEO® system unlocks the existing capacity in your plant so that you actually produce the cooling the chiller is designed to produce– that means you no longer have to bring on extra chillers before it’s time. For more information on how tekWorx can correct central plant ∆ T, check out Our Approach.

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.

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.