Category: HVAC

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.

HVAC: Opening Our Eyes in Mission Critical Environments

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Imagine walking into a hospital and being asked the question: “What do you observe around you?” It’s a noticeably pristine environment filled with people hurrying around the building. There is the constant sound of beepers, ringing phones, and distant conversations of medical terminology. The air is open and sterile, carrying a sanitary scent. Despite these automatic observations, one of the most essential components to keeping this sterile, clean and sanitary environment is not so obvious. HVAC systems are an absolutely critical part to keeping our health care buildings successful and hygienic. These cooling components help to control the air temperature, air pressure, and humidification that is necessary to overall success.

The tricky part of this mission critical scenario is energy efficiency. How do systems have the possibility of saving any energy when a constant, meticulous setting is required 24/7? The systems do have to be constantly working in order to maintain the desired temperature and settings, but reducing the amount of unnecessarily burned resources is a solution. In order to successfully monitor energy and air quality, each building needs to be evaluated to improve system efficiency. Optimization in these health care systems will not only help to improve redundancy and ensure reliability, but help to increase financial savings on wasted resources as well.

Meeting the demand of energy efficiency and reliability in a delicate mission critical scenario is challenging but attainable. tekWorx will evaluate your plant and establish a system energy assessment to create a unique, customized energy solution. Even after this adaptive control solution is in position, tekWorx engineering experts are always available, keeping a close watch on your installation and continuously monitoring to ensure system efficiency.  This is one way we can continue to help the health care system successfully grow in a safe, clean, and environmentally friendly way.

Check out our results page to see how tekWorx has worked to increase annual plant savings, helping an impressive list of companies become truly energy efficient.

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!

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.

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.

Section 179 Tax Deduction Set to Expire

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The final countdown has begun for the expiration of the Section 179 Deduction on December 31, 2013. Though discussion of yet another federal extension had been circulating the outcome was still unclear. While the tax provisions outlined in the deduction have notoriously been applied retroactively, some members of the industry rely on the write off, depreciation, and tax incentives each year to make new capital expenditure purchases for their business. Consequently, they were leery as to whether these such extensions would continue into 2014. With upwards of $2,500,000 granted to qualifying large business, the HVAC industrywas placed on their toes.

UPDATE: Thankfully, Section 179 has been restore to original limits for 2014, allowing industries to take a sigh of relief and continue to invest in their infrastructure.

Regardless of the Section 179’s continuance, retrofitting current facilities results in capital expenditure savings that help cushion businesses for other investments. tekWorx specializes in retrofitting current chiller plants using clients’ existing facilities enabling the system to run more efficiently and saving valuable resources to be spent on other investments rather than energy usage. To find out how much money your company could save with tekWorx, 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.