Tag: CEO

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something that’s overpriced or whose inner-workings are unclear, but discovering a recent investment will soon be outdated or inefficient faster than initially planned is even worse.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.

Keys to Implementing Control Strategies Successfully

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Choosing to automate control systems in existing facilities is an extensive process that, when done properly, can reap long term efficiency and energy gains. Whether it’s an upgrade of an outdated system or converting a manual system to automated control, successful implementation is critical to improving building performance. Three industry best practices that enhance the success of control strategies are used by tekWorx to ensure seamless integration with the patented Control Engine Optimization (CEO®) system.

First, it goes without saying that knowledge is power. Without fully understanding the current system, there is no way in which to track improvement measures or understand how the changes in automation are impacting the ability of the system to meet demand. To empower clients, tekWorx focuses on performing energy audits and system blueprints to determine where inefficiencies may be hiding due to poor chiller plant design. Through this process, tekWorx is able to create pragmatic control strategies to lower plant kW/ton.

Secondly, plant managers need to identify opportunities for system integration that will provide additional functionality. Focusing on HVAC components is a logical place to start as cooling production has the greatest impact on energy consumption, especially with the unpredictable weather patterns of late. The core function of the CEO® is to automate all aspects involved in the chilled water production from the chillers, pumps, cooling towers, etc. to ensure that the best combination of system components are used to meet demand and minimize plant kW/ton.

The final consideration in automating plant systems involves linking building system data to business systems. Connecting the impact of the automation on bottom line financial statements is critical to evaluating the overall retrofit benefits. The use of real-time analytical tools is proven to increase energy efficiency as well as to optimize operations. The CEO® combines the data received from the overall BAS system and implements control strategies based on these real-time system parameters to reduce energy. The CEO® constantly works to cut central energy plant costs, increasing the availability of funds that can now be allocated to other important business functions.

To see how tekWorx can seamlessly optimize your system with the CEO®, check out our Results page.

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

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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.

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.

Spring Cleaning: To Toss or Retrofit?


Spring has finally arrived and facilities spring cleaning is underway! It’s no secret that when buildings need modifications, systems are fixed in the most cost-and time-effective manner. In doing so, the big-picture view of how one renovation affects other existing equipment can often be overlooked. Over time, this can result in a system that is way out of whack- building occupants complain, maintenance staff is overworked, and energy costs escalate.

Chillers, boilers, and air handling systems are some of the most retrofitted pieces of plant machinery. Constant tweaking and recalibrations can lead to larger problems that are addressed with band-aids and therefore easily resurface again in the future. Don’t get us wrong, retrofitting can recover lost capacity in existing chiller plants, revitalize equipment and increase energy efficiency. Identifying issues hidden within the chiller plant such as leaks, faulty wiring, or disabled sensors can be uncovered through basic energy audits, allowing for an optimized chiller plant without massive overhaul of equipment. The key, however, is to make sure all parts of the cooling puzzle are considered, including AHUs, cooling towers, pumps, and the like.

tekWorx specializes in retrofitting of existing facilities with a combination of proven techniques including automation controls and customized control sequences designed to ensure the plant is meeting demand in the most energy efficient way. The tekWorx CEO® ensures that no puzzle pieces are missed in the optimization of a chiller plant.

To find out more information on how tekWorx can retrofit your plant, fill out our Chiller Plant Evaluation Form.

DTE Energy Technical Seminar

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DTE Energy (Detroit Energy) is one of the nation’s largest diversified energy companies and focuses on rewarding those commercial customers making strides in energy efficiencies through financial incentives, resources and guides, and project financing assistance. DTE Energy’s Efficiency Program for Business also hosts seminars throughout the year with specific topics including energy consumption, cooling systems, efficient lighting installations, and information on new construction codes. In these seminars, experts share their experience and strategies relating to energy projects and the utility incentives they received to help offset capital costs.

On Thursday, March 6, 2014, DTE technical seminar will focus on cooling system optimization. tekWorx GM, Mike Flaherty, is featured at the event and will be sharing tips for optimizing chiller plants and how the CEO® system earned a major automotive plant DTE’s maximum energy rebate, $200K.

This event takes place at the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus. To see Mike and other experts share their experience with utility rebates, register here.

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.