Category: PLC

tekWorx Empowers JCI Client to Slash Operating Costs 68%

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BAYFRONT AT A GLANCE

  • 480-bed private hospital
  • 75,000 ft2
  • Over 3,000 employees
  • (4) York chillers
  • 2,575 tons installed cooling capacity

APPROACH

  • Convert plant to Integrated Primary/Secondary® design
  • Reconfigure tertiary pumps to alleviate system pressure problems and eliminate wasted energy
  • Add VFDs to all building pumps to eliminate wasted pump energy
  • Design and install PLC based adaptive control algorithms to ensure maximum chiller loading, optimal control of all CHW pumps and proper balance of cooling towers and chillers

IMPLEMENTATION

  • CEO ® system connected directly to JCI Metasys system via BACnet IP protocol, allowing tekWorx to gather real-time data on temperatures, flows, etc., and to fully control all plant equipment
  • Failover sequence developed and implemented to address control redundancy
  • No plant downtime during the course of this project
  • All major equipment remained in operation during commissioning

RESULTS

  • Manually operated system operating at 1.1kW/ton is now a real-time adaptive control system operating at .75 kW/ton
  • System experiences much less wear and tear
  • Operators are now freed up to perform other important tasks
  • CEO® User Interface has provides the staff with better insight into the system for diagnostics and trouble shooting

To learn more about this study and to see how tekWorx can help to optimize your plant, visit www.tekWorx.us

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.

HVAC Retrofit Best Practices

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Replacing an HVAC System can become an expensive and time-consuming process with heavy potential for disruptions to normal building operations and can consume endless amounts of time if not done correctly. When putting a plant upgrade strategy together around retrofitting chilled water systems, there are 8 factors that executives should consider to ensure optimal results. tekWorx incorporates these best practices into every retrofit situation, fully addressing each factor’s influence on the overall success of the project, including in-kind replacement, new technologies, flexibility, the big picture, and program approval.

In-kind Replacement

It can be tempting to replace an outdated HVAC system with a new model that matches the criteria of the old system- if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However, this approach may not solve the cooling production issues seen in the plant. During an HVAC system’ s useful life, a building can change dramatically as building space gets used for different functions than originally intended, and the size of the work force and computing equipment occupying the space fluctuates. Any retrofit strategy needs to take into account the current needs of the facility and, from a cost perspective, addressing these needs while utilizing the greatest amount of existing equipment. In doing so, a favorable payback can be achieved.

New Technologies and Flexibility

Technical updates designed to increase energy efficiency are being launched on a daily basis. From high-efficiency chillers to VFDs, everything promises better energy performance. One of the greatest advances in HVAC technologies has been BAS networks that orchestrate all aspects of the chilled water system, limiting unnecessary tweaking and manual labor.

The Big Picture and Program Approval

Companies tend to fall into the human behavior trap wherein they develop tunnel vision, focusing on a specific issue or portion of the chilled water production that seems to be causing the greatest problem. While understandable, other projects and factors affecting the cooling system operation are important to review. A simple way to do this is via an energy audit; energy audits often bring forth the real culprit of inefficiencies and shouldn’t be particularly expensive or time-consuming processes. Done well, these audits touch on the funding components and support retrofit projects holistically rather than patching components together to keep the system running.

tekWorx Approach

tekWorx takes these critical factors and more into consideration for every client. In-kind replacement is a thing of the past since tekWorx focuses on the current needs of the building and the best ways to increase overall energy efficiencies. New technologies such as PLC-based systems work with customized algorithms and VFDs to ensure that the best combination of system components are working to meet load requirements. tekWorx also places heavy emphasis on favorable paybacks (< 2yrs.), utilizing energy incentives through utility companies and government programs.

To find out how much tekWorx can save in your chilled water plant, fill our our Chiller Plant Evaluation Form.

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.