Category: tekWorx

Automotive Leader Reduces Energy Costs

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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.

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!

Scalability: The Importance of Weighing the Best Fit for Energy Solutions

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Finding energy solutions that will be worth the time and effort can be intimidating. A successful search requires a smart, realistic, and curious approach. It’s easy to fall into the advertising traps of the cheapest, most convenient, or most heavily promoted products. Despite these tricks, however, it’s important to remember that just because the shoe fits doesn’t mean you should wear it.

An essential factor to consider while searching for this perfect fit is scalability, a factor indicative of a smart, long-term investment. It’s bad enough buying something that’s overpriced or whose inner-workings are unclear, but discovering a recent investment will soon be outdated or inefficient faster than initially planned is even worse. This is especially significant when it comes to HVAC systems and those in sensitive mission critical situations. Retrofitting central plant equipment in mission critical conditions means, in most cases, the system would be required to be temporarily shut down. Many of these plants do not upgrade their equipment or do small fixes that don’t really impact the bottom line. Finding scalable solutions that can be successfully implemented is a major challenge—after all, time is money!

tekWorx CEO® perfectly embraces this need for scalability by providing a strong plant optimization solution in a short implementation time. tekWorx has developed and patented a proven system integration approach that limits and/or eliminates the amount of time the plant would have to be out of service to optimize its chilled water system. tekWorx proprietary Integrated Primary/Secondary system® addresses sensitive application environment’s inability to shut down while recovering lost capacity and delivering effective energy optimization.

Check out our client results to see how scalability and downtime have been effectively addressed to provide energy solutions to major Fortune 500 Companies.

Issues with Primary and Secondary Chiller Plants

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An energy efficient design is the last thing on a property owners’ mind during the construction of a chilled water plant. Typically, the chief concern revolves around keeping construction costs to a minimum, ignoring future utility costs and energy efficiency considerations that are critical once a building is fully functioning. Due to this altered focus, chiller systems have historically been built using the classically inefficient “primary/secondary” (P/S). This configuration simply makes sure the building doesn’t run out of cooling on the hottest day of the year and gives no consideration to the expense of this strategy.

With respect to energy, one of the greatest causes for concern with these P/S systems is what is known as blending. Blending occurs as the chilled water combines with warmer water, thereby decreasing the temperature of the return water into the chiller. Because the chillers outputs are spec’d based on a designated temperature set point, energy is being wasted as the system fights to maintain its set point with the influx of warmer water.

To combat this issue, tekWorx has developed an “Integrated Primary/Secondary” retrofit design (IPS®) that brings valuable primary energy benefits to existing primary/secondary systems. Depending upon the specifications of a system, the IPS® substantially improves flow and reduces blending. The IPS® requires minor mechanical/piping changes and control system modifications, keeping the overarching facility infrastructure intact with minimal interruption to the current cooling operations. To see how tekWorx IPS™ can improve your ∆ T, fill out our Chiller Plant Evaluation Form.

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.

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.

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.

Cold Weather Doesn’t Stop Healthcare Need for Optimization

With the arrival of fall temperatures many companies are turning up the heat! As a company that focuses on chiller optimization you may think tekWorx is preparing to hibernate for winter, but you’d be wrong!

Many tekWorx clients require cool temperatues year round, in particular healthcare organizations. Operating rooms are required to maintain a 60 degree temperature and the storage of tissue samples used to diagnose patient illness require cold storage for preservation. Because tekWorx focuses on customized solutions that automatically fluctuate depending on building need to conserve as much energy as possible, operating room and tissue samples stay cool year round. Not to mention energy costs are significantly reduced!

Want to learn more on how tekWorx Approachable Expertise can help your industry with energy efficiency? Contact us or fill out our Chiller Plant Evaluation Form!