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Energy Data Management Solutions: Case for Office Building

Danai Manoli's picture

In office buildings the most common cause of energy waste is lighting, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems) and office equipment unnecessarily left on. By addressing these and other issues Innoven managed to reduce energy costs by €32,000 / year and energy consumption by 19%.

Case for Office Building

In office buildings the most common cause of energy waste is lighting, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems) and office equipment unnecessarily left on. By addressing these and other issues, in this US office building, Innoven managed to reduce energy costs by €32,000 / year and energy consumption by 19%.

 

The client

The 5-storey office building in California, U.S., is a 5,000 sq. m. property operating approximately 11 hours per day, and includes office space for 350 workstations, a server room, a cafeteria and a single storey underground parking.

Although office’s annual consumption of 180 kwh/sq.m. is below average for buildings of its category, the facility manager was nevertheless looking for an integrated solution to create a sustainable energy management plan, reducing energy costs and maximizing energy efficiency. Innoven’s Building InSights solution was a perfect fit, as it offered detailed, accurate monitoring capabilities, as well as powerful retrofitting evaluation tools.

 

The challenges

The office building has an annual energy consumption of 900MWh, mainly used for lighting, office equipment usage and HVAC. Despite the fact that the building is fitted with large windows, a lot of its energy consumption goes towards lighting. Also, as the initial monitoring revealed, the building was utilizing significant amounts of energy for heating and cooling of office spaces and the computer room and there was notable energy consumption during non-occupied hours.

 

The solution

After setting up the monitoring equipment and starting to record detailed, real time energy consumption data, our engineers worked with the facility manager to log into the application all of the building’s features and specs (windows and other architectural features, lighting, HVAC, office equipment etc.), as well as its working days and hours using the Building InSights (BIS), to establish baselines and identify areas of improvement in energy efficiency.

From the onset of the initial period of monitoring some red flags were raised, such as the above-mentioned increased consumption during non-working hours. After a few weeks of detailed monitoring and analysis, more patterns had emerged. Evaluating this data and the needs of the client, Innoven’s engineers decided upon a strategy of quick wins for the first phase of the building’s energy optimization, aiming to maximize energy savings by optimizing existing assets and by investments that would yield a quick turnover.

Using the knowledge acquired from the Monitoring feature and the analyses of the Retrofit Scenarios feature of the BIS application, our engineers proposed the following:

 

  1. Lighting & Appliances management campaign: since there was no company policy for energy saving practices regarding office equipment and lighting, one was designed and disseminated to the building’s occupants through a campaign using gamification techniques. The new policy, along with some reorganization of equipment using new energy saving power cords, achieved a 2.5% reduction of the total energy use - at almost no cost.
  2. Lighting retrofits and upgrades: Given the large glass surfaces of the building, Innoven engineers used the BIS Intervention feature to design a retrofit scenario to improve utilization of natural lighting, which involved new LED lights and daylight sensors. After implementation, this intervention resulted in savings of around 130 MWh/year – or 14% of total energy consumption and €19,500 annual savings – at a cost of €50,000, which, given the current energy tariff, will be paid off within 32 months.
  3. HVAC maintenance and inverter circulators: The Building InSights analysis revealed that the HVAC systems were underperforming. A new maintenance schedule was designed and deployed, achieving a more efficient operation. Furthermore, new inverter circulators were installed, leading to energy savings of the HVAC system, approximately 2.5% of overall consumption.
  4. Monitoring & Alerting: to help the facility manager manage consumption peaks and high consumption during unoccupied hours, our engineers set up automated threshold alerts to notify him when such events happen, using the Alerts feature of BIS. As a result, such events were dealt with instantly, leading to a cost reduction of approximately €7,000.
  5. Power factor correction: to address the low performance of the current capacitor bank, capacitors were added to the main electricity board. Although this action had a small effect in energy efficiency of the building, it was nevertheless implemented as part of the general goal for better energy management.

 

After the success of this first phase of the energy efficiency upgrading of the building, our engineers are currently working on two more retrofitting interventions that were deemed cost-effective after a new BIS analysis of the building’s consumption data. At the same time the facility manager is using Building InSights’ powerful monitoring and reporting tools to tweak energy efficiency policies and occupants’ energy behavior, to optimize the building’s energy efficiency.

Further details

How was the green solution financed?: 
Would you characterize the green solution as: 
Medium to low capital intensive investment (i.e. €3,000 -€10,000)
Capital costs description: 
Investment Payback 26 months
Cost savings description: 
Cost Savings 33 K€/year
Operating and maintenance costs: 
Yes, low O&M costs
Energy consumption description: 
Energy Savings 170 MWh/year 19% of Energy Use