Category: Optimization

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!

Direct Control and Supervisory Control

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“Plant modifications”, “updates” and “conversions” are phrases that often make plant personnel nervous. Which modifications will bring about the greatest and longest lasting results? What do I have to give up to get the latest and greatest? How much is this going to disrupt the plant and my day-to-day? Will this really save energy?

tekWorx gets it. Working with complex systems that demand different automation techniques and design depending on client’s budgets, time frames, and permitted levels of disruption, tekWorx has seen it all and has you covered. Whether the system needs to be converted from manual operation to automated control or sequence updates need to be implemented for energy efficiency gains, tekWorx CEO® uses custom algorithms to improve any chilled plant’s operations.

In a world with emphasis on short paybacks, shrinking budgets, and long term environmental impacts, tekWorx engineers are practical and pragmatic experts and ensuring clients invest only in what they really need- both in engineering and equipment. As such, there are two overarching approaches in which tekWorx retrofits chilled water plants with its PLC based CEO® system.

When working with a plant that has no Building Automation System (BAS) or has a control system that is too outdated to produce the desired efficiency gains, tekWorx CEO® acts as a BAS for the entire chilled water plant; this is known as the Direct Control Engine. The CEO® then orchestrates all cooling related components (pumps, fans, cooling towers, valves, etc.), ensuring that the best combination of system components are being used to minimize kW per ton.

The second optimization approach is the Supervisory Control configuration, common when the existing BAS system (SCI, Siemens, ALC, etc.) is in good shape. In this set up, the CEO® and BAS coordinate over the plant’s BAS network to control and optimize the plant, sending real time data back and forth to ensure components are operating at maximum efficiency.

In either configuration, tekWorx uses a model to begin, but builds on that by using adaptive control algorithms that make adjustments based on actual system conditions to truly optimize chilled water production.

To find out more information on tekWorx CEO® and adaptive control for energy efficiency, fill out our Chiller Plant Evalution Form.

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.

“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.

tekWorx’s Clients Optimize November Sales

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The end of November officially marks the end of any retailing slump as Black Friday and continuous holiday sales kick into full gear. This November was particularly profitable for the automotive manufacturing segment, with the majority of automakers reporting positive results across the majority of available models. Two tekWorx clients, Chrysler and General Motors, lead thelist. The Chrysler Group’s November new vehicle sales were up 16%, making this the best November since 2007 and the 44thconsecutive month of sales gains. Similarly, General Motors reported a sales jump of 14% in November, making this the highest performing year of the last six. These record setting numbers can be partially attributed to an increased focus on the energy component of production.

In the past, automotive manufacturers were inherently pushing their plants to the limit for the sake of production goals, while energy efficiency was given much less consideration. tekWorx optimized the central plants for both GM and Chrysler that feed everything from the headquarters, to paint, engine, and assembly shops. tekWorx efforts not only significantly reduced consumption, but afforded six figured energy rebates. Encompassing millions of square feet of production space and producing millions of ton hours, even small energy savings can make an enormous financial impact in the industrial application.

To find out how tekWorx can optimize your central plant, fill out our Chiller Plant Evaluation form.