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Automated Optimization vs. Analytics: What’s the Best Path to Optimization?

Analytics packages seem to have it all. At first glance, integrated dashboards provide a snapshot of operational processes, metrics and key performance metrics (KPIs).

Unfortunately, analytics as an actual cost reduction tool in chilled water systems are limited unless a human takes action on this information to adjust operations. Optimizing the efficiency of dynamic systems, such as a chilled water plant requires action, ideally continuous action, that does not rely on manual intervention.

The optimization spectrum


The various levels of efficiency improvements

Of the four basic levels of efficiency improvements in use today, optimization and analytics are the most discussed. While they are complementary, they are not the same. Analytic and model-based strategies simply suggest edits, not action. Without automation, analytic software cannot optimize dynamic settings like a chilled water plant.

tekWorx automated optimization

The Approachable Experts™ at tekWorx can help your team go beyond analytics to optimize the efficiency of your dynamic system.

Our automated optimization solutions maximize the use of your existing mechanical equipment and controls to significantly improve plant performance. Using adaptive algorithms to continuously analyze real-time process variables, key control parameters are automatically adjusted to minimize plant kW/ton without any human intervention.

For more information about the differences between chilled water plant efficiency improvement models, download our “Go Beyond Analytics to Optimization in Chilled Water Systems” white paper.

Discover the differences in chilled water plant efficiency improvement models in our Go Beyond Analytics in Chilled Water Systems white paper

Learn more about our CEO®  family of solutions

Discover how tekWorx puts our Approachable Expertise® into action by reading our online case studies. Then contact us to discuss how we can work together to improve the energy performance of your unique plant.  Whether you’re looking for a self performance solution or a comprehensive, commissioned solution, we have your optimization needs covered.

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Implementing Energy Solutions that Don’t Jeopardize Your Plant’s Operations

Pharmaceutical manufacturers require 100 percent reliability in their chilled water plants to maintain product quality, ensure the validation of test results and eliminate manufacturing downtime.

Having the “correct” plant chiller sequencing set once is simply not enough to meet ongoing operational demands. On a daily basis, increased loads occur, weather conditions vary and unexpected maintenance issues happen. That’s why continuous, automated optimization is key.

Pharma facility directors can reduce energy costs even in the most demanding environments by tapping into tekWorx engineering expertise and adaptive control algorithms.

Pragmatic optimization solutions

At tekWorx, pragmatic solutions and proven chilled water plant optimization technology help companies minimize plant kW/ton while maximizing the use of existing equipment and limiting implementation downtime. Our CEO® solution, which utilizes the Niagara 4® platform, uses adaptive algorithms to continuously analyze real-time process variables and then automatically adjusts key parameter values for real optimization.

Easily integrated with any BAS, any mechanical configuration and any equipment make/model, the CEO® is the leading choice for effective, operator-free optimization.

Allergan chilled water plant optimization results

tekWorx recently worked with the Allergan Global Energy team to optimize their Irvine, CA, manufacturing site’s chilled water plant. While producing popular products such as BOTOX®, JUVEDERM® and LATISSE®, the company struggled to meet an installed capacity of 6,300 tons due to hydronic issues and the load shedding required on high temperature days.

After an initial assessment, the tekWorx engineering team devised a customized adaptive control strategy enabling the site to:

  • Maximize capacity using minimal kW/ton
  • Improve equipment utilization, which in turn improves redundancy
  • Decrease manual intervention
  • Reduce equipment wear and tear

The team integrated the CEO® solution with Allergan’s BAS to improve utilization and performance – all with minimal downtime. This pragmatic solution yielded tremendous bottom-line savings:

For more information

Discover how we put our Approachable Expertise® into action for other pharmaceutical companies by reading our online case studies for GSK and Merck. Then contact us to discuss how we can work together to reduce your energy and operating costs with no downtime.

5 Steps to Communicate the Value of Your Energy Program

You’ve implemented an effective corporate energy program that’s lowered operating costs – probably in the 35-50 percent range. You’ve achieved significant cost savings, while also helping the environment by reducing your energy consumption.

But the work isn’t quite done yet. Now it’s the time to communicate both the program details and the results. You might be saying to yourself: “Talking about our results isn’t really my job, and there are other priorities on my plate.”

Don’t overlook the importance of putting the spotlight on the program’s accomplishments. An annual energy program communications plan results in significant advantages such as:

  • Gaining senior executive support
  • Sharing positive news with key stakeholders
  • Raising energy management awareness
  • Motivating employees to help with energy efficiency

There are five important steps to create a plan that will achieve these goals, according to ENERGY STAR®, an excellent resource on this and many energy program topics.ENERGY STAR can help your company communicate your energy program.

Step 1: Define the goals of the communication plan

Start the planning process by identifying no more than two achievable objectives of your communication plan. You might consider goals such as attract new clients by promoting sustainability results, get recognition from management for energy efficiency efforts and so on.

Step 2: Identify target audiences

With these goals in mind, determine your target audience – client, employees or both – and how that might affect your communication and style. Which leads us to Steps 3 and 4…

Step 3: Tailor the message

Now’s the time to map out the content building blocks. List all the key messages, such as cost savings, timelines, key stakeholders and goals, that should be conveyed. Remember to include important statistics and budget numbers, benchmarking data for comparison and team member kudos.

Step 4: Find the best way to reach identified audiences

With strong messaging, you need an equally strong delivery vehicle. Seek out your HR and communication teammates for recommendations and any corporate requirements. Potential messaging tools include:

  • Email announcements
  • Internal and/or external websites
  • YouTube videos
  • Monthly newsletter articles
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Social media postings
  • Press releases

Step 5: Set the who, what and when

You’ve made it to the final step of the plan, but not the end of the journey. Complete the plan by determining who is responsible for each step, what resources are needed and how often you will communicate.

Work with a proven energy savings partner – tekWorx

The tekWorx team has experience calculating, analyzing and communicating the value of energy-saving programs. With our unique Approachable Expertise®, we can support your efforts from planning through implementation and to communication.

We can help provide effective data points, share industry benchmark statistics and detail next steps. Our team of expert engineers provide innovative, cost-saving solutions to optimize central energy plant performance and reduce costs while providing excellent customer service. Our approachable experts can also assist with your communication efforts.

For more information

To see how ENERGY STAR partners communicate their energy programs internally, click here. You can also discover how tekWorx provides cost savings, energy efficiencies and operational benefits by reading our online case studies. Then contact us to discuss how we can put our Approachable Expertise® to work for your company.

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The ENERGY STAR® Summit: 3 Key Learnings for Industrial Organizations

As an Industrial ENERGY STAR partner, tekWorx commits to providing energy efficiency solutions for companies of all sizes and helping them meet their energy usage and sustainability goals through chilled water plant optimization.ENERGY STAR

At our recent ENERGY STAR Energy Industrial Partner meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, several themes and opportunities emerged:

Energy efficiency intersects with reliability

Attaining – and then maintaining energy efficiency – is the focal point of public policy and corporate goals to save money and reduce environmental consumption. With focused efforts, significant achievements can be made. For example, if the energy efficiency of commercial and industrial buildings improved by 10 percent, $40 billion in cost savings could be achieved.1

Achieving energy efficiency also accomplishes another key goal for companies: system reliability. Reducing demand ensures supply adequacy by reducing the base load, the amount of energy required to be supplied and the peak power demand. By reducing the load and stress in the power distribution network, it enhances the system’s security and decreases the probability of failures. Businesses need reliability to work hand-in-hand with cost savings

Benchmarking drives success

With benchmarking, corporate leaders can rank their facilities’ performance versus their peers. But more importantly, use the information they’ve gathered to drive action.

The EPA found in a recent study that buildings that benchmarked consistently found ways to drive results – delivering reduced energy usage rates of 2.4 percent per year on average – for a total savings of 7 percent. Buildings starting with poor energy efficiency when they started benchmarking realize even more energy and cost savings.

ENERGY STAR offers benchmarking tools for 21 types of facilities. These tools gauge performance on a scale of 1 to 100. Facilities that receive a low score should initiate an energy audit to discover ways to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs. In addition to ENERGY STAR’s tools, tekWorx offers comprehensive, complementary chiller plant optimization evaluations that can demonstrate how companies can cut energy costs up to 50 percent.

Energy management is a strategic program

Long-term energy savings success depends on creating a culture of energy efficiency. Implementing
a straegic management energy program at your company will build the foundation and map the path to success.

Here's a guide for continuous improvement in energy savings
Your guide for continuous improvement

ENERGY STAR created a full step-by-step program guide to help companies design what energy management looks like for their organizations. ENERGY STAR consolidated the best practices of its partner organizations, like tekWorx. Creating an energy program doesn’t necessarily require an initial capital investment. After you’ve built the roadmap, you can start working through no-cost and low-cost opportunities while you’re working to secure capital for larger projects.

For chiller plant optimization, turn to tekWorx and our unique blend of Approachable Expertise® as your industrial ENERGY STAR partner. Our solutions increase operational efficiency and reduce energy costs. Our pragmatic and available experts partner with our clients to deliver results.

For more information

Discover how tekWorx provides cost savings, energy efficiencies and operational benefits, read our online case studies. Then contact us to discuss how we can put our Approachable Expertise® to work for your company.

Follow us on LinkedIn for the most up-to-date news and events.

1 U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings program. March 19, 2015.

* Estimated energy cost savings represent the present value of net energy cost savings, calculated by taking the difference between total energy bill savings and the incremental additional investment in energy-efficient technologies and services.

Energize Your Bottom Line with a Comprehensive, Complimentary Energy Audit

When hearing the phrase energy audit, do you automatically think a) we did that years ago, or b) it’s not in the budget for this year?

Consider what it would mean for your corporate bottom line if a free energy audit reported that your company could realize an annual savings of 10-50 percent in energy costs? Well-prepared energy audits reveal a range of solutions, while requiring only a minimal investment of corporate time.

The tekWorx energy audit process

At tekWorx, our engineers start the no-risk audit process by performing an onsite evaluation – inspecting the chilled water system piping, equipment and controls, viewing design plans and talking to operators. In addition, the tekWorx team reviews plant chiller logs and bin data to help acquire an overall energy-efficiency baseline.

tekWorx offers a comprehensive energy audit to cut 10-50% in energy costs

Following the information-gathering phase, tekWorx engineers will provide a chilled water (CHW) system performance assessment for your unique plant detailing:

  • How the current CHW system consumes energy, along with a comparison to industry best-practice targets
  • Short, medium and long-term Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs)
  • Adaptive control strategies for minimizing plant kW/ton
  • Projected investment for savings and a payback target
  • Applicable energy rebates and associated calculations

tekWorx delivers our customers a unique blend of Approachable Expertise®, increasing operational efficiency and reducing energy costs while designing pragmatic solutions to meet their unique needs. As part of the recommended solution, our team seeks to improve energy efficiency by maximizing current equipment instead of making additional capital expenditures.

 For more information

To see how tekWorx turns energy audits into real-world results, read our online case studies. Then fill out our Chiller Plant Evaluation Form or contact us to initiate the free, comprehensive audit process.

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All Energy Optimization Solutions – Simply Put – Are Not Created Equal

As you work to save kWh and $, you want an energy optimization solution that automatically and continuously minimizes consumption. That means it requires no manual intervention to optimize your chilled water plant.

Energy optimization

Optimization projects usually start with an evaluation of the current plan. The evaluation results in recommended measures to reduce kW/ton and a corresponding energy savings projection.

Under the Model-and-Tweak approach, the optimization plan, or “Model,” uses collected data to create a series of operating “recipes.” These contain the values of key operating parameters for the full range of expected load and ambient conditions. As these conditions change during actual operation, the BAS looks up the corresponding values. It then uses them in its program to control the plant equipment.

Model and Tweak: Practical Limitations

The impact of the Model part of the Model-and-Tweak approach on optimizing kW/ton depends heavily on two unavoidable aspects of developing any model:

  • Similarity to the actual system: For example, are there allowances for conditions that cannot be practically modeled, such as piping idiosyncrasies or electrical service limitations? The model can also often miss the all-too-often scenario where the drawings don’t exactly match the “as-built” reality.
  • Operating assumptions: Most models assume that the correct control sequence will always be followed during actual operations. We all know that rarely happens. Models also don’t consider common operational issues, such as equipment performance that doesn’t match the specs or maintenance problems that require override.

The Tweak process compensates for the inherent Model limitations. It starts with actual plant efficiency and equipment operating data collected by the BAS. The Model-and-Tweak supplier technicians periodically review the data and then determine revised recipe values to adjust for the Model limits and further reduce the kW/ton.

The BAS uses the revised parameter values, and the collect/analyze/tweak process is repeated. As with the Model, practical limitations hinder the Tweak effectiveness, in large part because there’s no way to predict the frequency, duration or timing of the disruptive events. The frequency of the Tweak and the technician skill level can also play a part.

Adaptive Control: Real-Time Energy Optimization

The adaptive control approach also starts with a model that produces a set of initial values for the key operating parameters. The difference: The system uses the model’s initial value just once. It doesn’t continuously rely on these values with their inherent limitations. Then, the adaptive algorithms continuously analyze the real-time process variables and automatically adjust the parameter values on-line without operator intervention.

Adaptive control based energy optimization ensures a more energy efficient system than a model-and-tweak solution for three major reasons:

  • There is no manual intervention
  • Using real-time operating data automatically accommodates the piping idiosyncrasies, spec deviations and maintenance events that cannot be modeled
  • There is no delay between the Model and the Tweak – the adjustments immediately impact efficiency

For more information

To learn more about how tekWorx can use the adaptive control approach to increase your plant’s KWh efficiency and cost savings, contact us. Then, follow us on LinkedIn for the most up-to-date news and events.

IPS® Retrofit: Discover the Simple, Effective Solution for Chiller Plant Energy Efficiency

Did you know that if your chiller plant features a primary/secondary (P/S) design, you are likely not operating at maximum efficiency?

With the introduction of variable speed drives in the 1970s, the P/S design was created to take advantage of the newfound ability to modulate flow with load and the added flexibility for chiller staging. At the same time, the system met the requirement for constant evaporator flow.

Quickly becoming the standard, the primary/secondary design continued to be used in new plant construction, even after microprocessor chiller controls unlocked previously unreachable efficiency gains in the 1990s. The main shortcoming of the P/S layout is that its cooling strategy is solely focused on the hottest day of year, creating inadequate energy efficiency for the remaining 364.

P/S bypass blending represents one of the biggest energy efficiency drawbacks of the P/S system because:

  1. Chilled water not used by the load flows through the bypass and blends with warm return water
  2. Blending decreases the temperature of the return water into the chiller, thereby lowering ΔT
  3. Chillers must work much harder than necessary to maintain the designated temperature setpoint

Find the simple, effective solution

Fortunately, these existing systems do not need to remain inefficient thanks to the tekWorx Integrated Primary/Secondary (IPS®) retrofit design. The IPS® retrofit requires only minor mechanical and control system modifications, a short installation time and minimal system disruption. The result? Major energy savings and utility rebates.

Key aspects of the IPS® retrofit include:

  • Minimizing bypass flow and associated return water blending that degrades system ΔT either by insertion of bypass valve or by controlling loop flow
  • Adding variable speed controls for pumps, fans and chillers, as needed
  • Adding new instruments to measure process variables affecting operation and efficiency (usually flow and kW) as needed
  • Using adaptive control algorithms for continuous online equipment adjustment

How the IPS® retrofit design provides maximum energy savings

tekWorx offers a unique blend of Approachable Expertise,® increasing operational efficiency and reducing energy costs while designing pragmatic solutions to meet unique client needs. As a result, the IPS® can be implemented in one of two ways:

  1. The most common application of the IPS® is via the addition of a valve that eliminates bypass flow and improves system control.
    The most common application of the IPS® retrofit is via the addition of a valve that eliminates bypass flow and improves system control.
  2. In instances where inserting a bypass valve is not an option – because it requires plant shutdown or other circumstances make this modification impractical – there is an alternative. Instead, tekWorx matches the primary and secondary loop flow to minimize bypass flow.
    tekWorx matches the primary and secondary loop flow to minimize bypass flow in an IPS® retrofit.

    For more information

    To see how tekWorx utilized an IPS® retrofit to reduce cooling costs by 28% at Chrysler’s North American headquarters, read our case study. Then contact us to discuss how our IPS® retrofit design can save money and earn utility rebates for your company.

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When Approachable + Expertise Doesn’t Equal an Oxymoron

When you’re looking for an expert, you want to work with the Einsteins of the industry. But what happens when you get an Einstein who can’t explain their innovations or play nicely with your operators?

When it comes to chilled water systems, tekWorx offers a unique blend of Approachable Expertise®, increasing operational efficiency and reducing energy costs while partnering clients with pragmatic and available experts.

The tekWorx team of experienced engineers constantly delivers customized solutions and services, but their dedication doesn’t stop there. They pride themselves on being accessible and collaborative during all the phases of chilled water plant optimization projects, on plants small and large.

Our chilled water optimization process and expertise:

  1. Qualify & Quantify Through an online or on-site System Energy Assessment (SEA), our engineers thoroughly review your chilled water system’s infrastructure, operating history and equipment to provide a detailed energy payback analysis.
  2. Flexible Design & Installation We don’t believe a one-size-fits-all solution can truly optimize a plant. Instead, our team designs a solution utilizing your existing equipment and unique layout and tekWorx adaptive control algorithms to ensure continuous, real-time efficiency.
  3. Monitor & Verify Our work doesn’t end with system installation and startup. After comprehensive operator training, remote communication and monitoring capabilities allow our engineers to be available at all times.

tekWorx solutions are easily integrated into plants of all types – pharmaceutical sites, automotive plants, telecom centers, hospitals, college campuses and more – and all mechanical configurations.

See how we cut cooling costs by 40% and earned a $800,000 utility rebate for an auto plant, all while providing superior support and service.

For more information

To see tekWorx can put our Approachable Expertise® to work for you, contact us. For the most up-to-date news and events, follow us on LinkedIn.


How tekWorx Helped a Major Pharmaceutical Site Save $542,000

tekWorx recently worked alongside the Allergan Global Energy team to optimize chilled water plant operations at their Irvine, CA manufacturing site. The makers of such well-known products as BOTOX®, JUVEDERM® and LATISSE® were struggling to meet an installed capacity of 6,300 tons due to hydronic issues and the load shedding required on high wet bulb temperature days.

Modifications had also been made over the years that caused system and equipment imbalances that negatively impacted the site’s energy profile. While a BAS control system was in place and functional, it did not provide any optimization.

After an initial assessment of the plant’s operating profile via data submitted in a Chiller Plant Optimization Evaluation, tekWorx engineers devised a customized adaptive control strategy that would allow the Irvine site to:

  • Maximize capacity using minimal kW/ton
  • Improve equipment utilization, thereby improving redundancy
  • Decrease manual intervention
  • Reduce equipment wear and tear

Because the site already had a functional BAS system, tekWorx took a pragmatic approach by integrating our supervisory CEO® with Allergan’s existing system instead of replacing it completely. tekWorx engineers converted the plant to a full variable flow, reset CHW supply temperature based on enthalpy, and implemented efficiency-based chiller sequencing to improve utilization and performance, all with minimal downtime.

Our Allergan results

tekWorx solution enabled Allergan to minimize pump flow and power consumption, ensuring that the optimal set of equipment is always in operation. But what does that really mean for the bottom line? As you can see, the results speak for themselves:

  • 5 cents blended utility rate
  • $542,000 annual utility cost savings
  • $250,000 utility rebate
  • ~6-month payback
  • >4,700,000 kWh saved annually

The tekWorx results don’t end here. Check out our case studies for more happy bottom lines in a wide range of industries.

For more information

To see how tekWorx can put our Approachable Expertise to work for you, contact us with your chiller control and optimization questions. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for our most up-to-date news and events.

How Professor Pump Became a Guiding Force at tekWorx

You sometimes meet people and immediately understand their impact will be felt far and wide for years to come.

Our co-founder Burt Rishel was one of those people. He made his mark in design,Burt Rishel, Co-Founder engineering and writing while influencing those around him with his intelligence, heart and dedication.

A gifted engineer and a captain of the Army Air Corps, his first major achievement was as a principal designer for the CG-10A glider, which became the first Assault Cargo aircraft. Then he found his true professional love – pumping systems –
which earned him the nickname Professor Pump.

Professor Pump first founded Systecon, and then helped launch tekWorx in 2000. He loved designing pumping systems and helping companies operate more efficiently. His work took him across the country, serving as a consultant for the chilled water systems at the Denver International Airport, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Institutes of Health.

A prolific writer of technical articles, he also wrote two influential books: “HVAC Pump Handbook” and “Water Pumps and Pumping Systems.”

“At tekWorx, we are indebted to our co-founder, friend and inspiration. His knowledge made us a pioneer in the field. His mentorship molded us. His customer-first focus motivated us,” says Managing Partner Mike Flaherty.

Burt passed away in August 2013, leaving a legacy that all of us at tekWorx strive to live up to every day.

For more information about tekWorx

Discover the next generation of Professor Pumps. Contact tekWorx today with your energy-saving questions and see how we can partner together to achieve an effective chiller plant optimization solution. Plus, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for our most up-to-date news and events.

How to Combat Higher Energy Prices – Today and Tomorrow

2017 is shaping up to be a volatile year in electrical prices.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is predicting higher prices for electricity, driven by higher than expected natural gas prices. Natural gas prices could soar because of rising exports to
Mexico and production that’s predicted to fall for the first time since 2005.

Natural gas generates more electricity in the United States than other fuel sources, making it a key driver in pricing. Other significant factors that could affect the variability of natural gas prices include:

  • Natural gas supply realignment – reserves fell below five-year averages at the end of 2016 after being near all-time highs through most of the year
  • Changing weather predictions – lower heating demand could check natural gas price recovery in the short term

How you can save on energy costs

With surging prices, it’s now even more crucial to find energy savings where you can. At tekWorx, we provide energy-saving solutions – for any size plant, any mechanical configuration and any control system.

In fact, our proven optimization solutions can cut energy costs up to 50%. Learn more about our larger chiller optimization or our smaller chiller optimization solutions and put the Approachable Expertise® of tekWorx to work for you.

For more information

Contact us with your energy-saving questions and see how we can partner together to achieve a comprehensive chiller plant optimization solution. Plus, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn  for our most up-to-date news and events.


Chillin’ in the New Year

As we kick off 2017, tekWorx and our clients have a lot to celebrate. We’ve worked together to implement chilled water optimization solutions that have cut energy usage and amped up cost savings at their facilities. Here are the highlights:

2016: At a glance

Nissan upgraded their cooling efficiency at a critical vehicle assembly plant without manufacturing downtime using tekWorx innovative hydronic design and adaptive Control Engine Optimization® solution. The result: Cut energy costs by 40% with a 2-year payback.

For UNC’s Charlotte campus, Ameresco requested our hydronic expertise and an adaptive Control Engine Optimization CEO® system that exceed the original kW/ton reduction targets. The result: Cut cooling costs by 30% under performance contract.

Year in and year out, you can count on Approachable Expertise® from our team of highly skilled engineers who will design, install and support your unique chiller plant solution.

New year, new products

Cut out handwritten log sheets and get the technology that self-diagnoses any problems for you.

Our clients can expect 2017 to bring them even stronger results with our new chiller optimization technology tools and resources. First up, ChillerCheck®  ̶  our smart, efficient and fast way to root out refrigerant leaks or fouled coils and tubes that turn into major energy hogs:

  • Collects and analyzes key chiller parameters
  • Determines if the chiller is operating within specs
  • Provides real-time alerts and suggests corrective action
  • Calculates the inefficiencies’ cost impact

Did you know? Chillers can lose up to 30% efficiency and still appear to operate adequately.

For more information on chilled water optimization solutions

We hope 2017 is a fantastic year for our clients and we look forward to creating efficiencies for our current and new customers alike. Contact us ith your next project request and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the most up-to-date news and events.