Tag: chiller plant efficiency

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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VFDs: More Than Just A Pretty Face

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While managers most often cite energy management as the reason for installing a VFD, the technology offers other significant benefits, including reduced motor and drive maintenance and longer motor life.

To appreciate some of the lesser discussed benefits, compare and contrast a motor’s start-up process with that of a VFD. When a motor starts, the current it draws is typically much greater than the current it draws at full load. During repeated start-stop cycles over the motor’s operating life, this in-rush current leads to overheating and and stress of the motor’s windings. Ultimately, this can lead to motor failure.

On the flip side, VFDs control motor start-up by initially applying a very low frequency and voltage to the motor. The voltage and frequency are ramped up at a controlled rate, greatly reducing the in-rush current. This extends the motor’s life by not overheating and stressing the motor windings as significantly.

Finally, VFDs reduce maintenance costs associated with the motors and associated electrical components (cables, contacts, connectors,etc.) By regulating the in-rush current, VFDs prevent  the pitting, corrosion, and insulation breakdown associated with overheating the motor.

Checklist: Deciding Whether to Upgrade or Replace Building Automation Systems

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Once your current building needs have been evaluated, the next logical step is to calculate whether an upgrade or replacement will allow these needs to be met more efficiently.

1. He loves me, he loves me not:  It may sound silly, but compiling a list of the pros and cons for a replacement and for a new BAS will help you flush out the major implications for each BAS track.  Some food for thought:

  • Ease of new(er) system operation
  • Training time- in dollars AND hours
  • Maintenance expectations

 

2. Take it easy:  How easily can the upgrade be implemented? An easy upgrade path should ensure the level of functionality will be met. Lots of ‘well, you won’t be able to…” or “now you’ll have to” may mean a new system is the more efficient outfit.
3. Take it to the limit:  Evolution in the building automation field has brought immense changes to BAS capabilities. The tradeoff of  increased system performance at a lower cost has been that made many older but perfectly functioning systems are now obsolete. Many of those systems simply are not compatible with the architecture employed in new system designs, making an upgrade a clumsy option.

4. It’s not me, it’s you: Finally, it’s useful to evaluate the relationship with the vendor that supports the existing system. Vendor issues weigh heavily in the decision-making process, but be careful not to confuse the lack of vendor support with poor system performance.

 

Whether you want to upgrade or replace, tekWorx can work with any BAS system to ensure your chiller plant is operating most efficiently.  It doesn’t matter if it’s old or new, tekWorx CEO® can either replace you outdated BAS or work in a supervisory role if your BAS is in perfectly great shape.

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.