Tag: Adaptive Control Algorithms

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.

tekWorx Empowers JCI Client to Slash Operating Costs 68%



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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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

Sustainability: A Treasure Hunt for a Better Energy Solution

skull and bones recycle

When we hear the term “sustainability,” we automatically think of the trends that have been surfacing in our world over the past couple of years. Questions like “How can we make our world greener?” or “How can we save energy and resources?” seem to appear everywhere. Although awareness has been raised, the basic fixes like recycling and turning off lights are simply not enough to solve the problem. The real solutions for going green and industrial energy usage dilemmas can deceive us by appearing more complicated than they really are. Treasure hunts are one solution to these problems. As a strategy that helps to bring several skills into play, treasure hunts involve a team of employees working together to evaluate and assess the energy consumption in a facility. These different perspectives, knowledge, and expertise join together to create a customized energy efficiency solution.

An inevitable find in these commercial and industrial treasure hunts is the hidden cost of cooling. By recovering this wasted energy, companies not only become more energy conscious but also end up saving money (treasure) while going green—an ideal solution. Sustainability, energy efficiency, and treasure hunts go hand-in-hand and when done correctly provide major kWh savings, sparing the pain of expensive energy bills.

tekWorx reduces the energy usage for customers by optimizing chilled water plant production. tekWorx CEO® system not only helps the environment by controlling the amount of resources used, it also prevents unnecessary spending through its customized adaptive control algorithms. Check out our chiller plant evaluation forms to see how much energy your plant can save with a customized control system from our Approachable Expertise® team. We’re here to make our world (and your wallets) a little greener!

Taking the Treasure Hunt One Step Further


Treasure hunts are an efficient way for companies to quickly recapture lost energy costs using simple fixes. EnergyStar’s best practices include starting with lighting replacements and renegotiating of utility contracts to see basic energy reductions in short time frames. These hunts constitute a major step in the right direction for buildings looking to reduce energy consumption and energy bills. However, if treasure hunts handle the low hanging fruit, reaching the fruit located in the upper branches of the energy efficiency tree becomes a lot more complex than replacing the lights. Short term efficiency can positively bolster lean operating processes but long term goals can’t be achieved without more sophisticated methods for optimizing chilled water plants. Even with the popularity and usefulness of energy treasure hunts, Approachable Expertise® still remains critical.

Much like the lean manufacturing processes on which these treasure hunts are modeled, the key for improvement is both in pinpointing areas in need of energy optimization and then in applying best practices to improve upon these inefficiencies. tekWorx uses decades of hydronic system expertise to optimize all of the central plant equipment associated with producing cooling. Using industrial PLC platforms, adaptive control algorithms work to reduce chiller lift and ensure the system is meeting demand in the most energy efficient way. Real time data is continuously monitored and plant kW/ton is significantly reduced. Automation and control techniques such as these allow companies to reach the upper branches of the energy efficiency tree and to stay and enjoy their tremendous energy savings.

To find out how tekWorx can increase your view on energy efficiency, please fill out our Chiller Plant Evaluation Form.

Tennessee Tech Saves by Utilizing Energy Efficiency


Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, TN has grown like any typical college campus with continual expansion over the years due to new facilities and increased enrollments. In order to keep up with ever changing demands, the campus facilities group attempted to connect the original distributed cooling system with new buildings, unintentionally creating deficiencies that compromised the efficiency and operability of the central CHW system. Because the central plant was delivering cooling to some buildings while others housed their own chillers, the campus was faced with improper balancing and low ∆ T. In short, they were lacking a control strategy that would orchestrate greater campus energy efficiency.

Unlike typical BAS strategies, tekWorx Control Engine Optimization (CEO®) system does not rely on a cookie cutter technique, but adapts to the unique needs of every chiller plant. tekWorx implemented this CEO® with Tennessee Tech’s existing facilities, designing a sequence of adaptive control algorithms to optimize the hydronic system and meet changing load conditions. The CEO® uses real time plant the information to determine optimal operations points for all cooling-related components under their ever-changing conditions to ensure the best combination is used to increase efficiency. The result is a reduction in system wide kW consumption by meeting demand in the most energy efficient way.

Since the installation of the tekWorx CEO®, Tennessee Tech has enjoyed an average on-going ~10% annual reduction in their campus wide energy consumption. The chilled water plant accounts for about 25% of overall kW consumption for the campus meaning there was a 25% reduction in kW consumption by the chilled water system alone. In total, the school has avoided nearly $75,000 in utility costs since the project was completed. To find out how tekWorx can increase the efficiency in your chilled water plant, fill out our Chiller Plant Evaluation Form.

Energy Efficiency Important As Ever

snail on turtle-resized-600

As the United States Senate begins voting next week on a bill focused on energy, House Committees are looking to address issues that will boost energy efficiency in buildings, industries, and federal agencies. Energy efficiency remains a hot bed topic in governmental regulation and with businesses looking to decrease their energy costs. Globally, residential and commercial buildings account for 35 to 40 percent of total energy usage with commercial buildings consuming considerable energy in their HVAC systems, lighting, water heating, and other building automation systems. Worldwide retrofits aimed at decreasing energy consumption are expected to grow as an investment category from $68.2 billion in 2014 to $127.5 billion by 2023.

The primary use of energy within commercial buildings is in cooling production, 29 percent of which is consumed by chillers working to cool water temperatures to acceptable levels. Focusing on reducing the energy usage in equipment components, such as chillers, as well as in the overall systems will not only increase energy efficiency but improve profit margins in the process. tekWorx specializes in reigning in these energy guzzlers to optimize chilled water plants. tekWorx uses various innovative techniques to ensure the best combination of system components are being used to reduce kW per ton. By taking a holistic system approach and optimizing not only the chillers themselves, but the existing equipment within the central plant, overall cooling operations are drastically improved. To find out more on how tekWorx can optimize your chiller systems, check out our Results page.