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4  FM quick reads on HVAC

1. Identifying Energy Rebates Delivers Bottom-Line Benefits


I'm Steve Schuster, associate editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic discusses energy rebates.

Since the 1970s, utility companies have offered commercial and institutional customers rebate and incentive programs. The utilities' goal is to reduce demand-capacity requirements they otherwise would have to make up by expanding their generation and distribution systems. These rebate programs provide utility customers with incentives. Customers install energy-efficient equipment and systems, and the result is lower purchase or installation costs via cash rebates or discounts.

Today, rebate and incentive programs still are going strong, and the time has never been better for maintenance and engineering managers to undertake retrofit projects in their facilities targeting energy efficiency. Some utilities offer incentives to install specific, energy-efficient products, such as lighting, motors, and cool roofs.

Other incentives are based on achieved savings, and still others encourage facilities to take part in specific operational strategies, such as demand response and retrocommissioning.

By understanding the specific goals of utility rebate programs and lining up incentives targeting the most appropriate facility retrofits and upgrades, managers can deliver benefits to their organizations' bottom lines.


2.  To Achieve High Performance Building, Look To ASHRAE Guideline 32

Today's tip from Building Operating Management: Facility managers seeking high performance buildings should check out ASHRAE Guideline 32-2012 For Sustainable, High-performance Operation and Maintenance.

The document offers "general guidance on how to move operating and maintenance procedures for any kind of building to high performance," says Mike Bobker of the CUNY Institute for Urban Systems, who chaired the committee that wrote the guideline. It is not just for new buildings, he says - it is "a compendium of techniques so that an organization can use its own pathway to get there."

The guideline is "friendly to starting wherever you are," Bobker says. "If you have an old furnace, you could tune it."

Many companies are now officially adopting green policies, and "somewhere along the line the light bulb goes on: our buildings matter in this," Bobker says. ASHRAE Standard 180, for HVAC maintenance, can be the starting point for a planned maintenance program, Bobker says.

Adam Hinge, vice-chair of the committee, says the new guideline was deliberately written to address the responsibilities of three levels - senior management, facility managers, and technicians.

A facility manager "probably is going to have the most detailed understanding" of the issues, Bobker says, "but he doesn't have the power to do it unless there's support from the top."

"The edict should come from above the guy who has to do it," says Lindsay Audin, president of Energywiz. "If it's not from the vice-presidential level, chances are someone's going to blow it off."

The guidelines can help improve the performance of existing buildings. But, says Audin, "It's almost impossible to turn an older building into a high-performance building without major retrofits," such as all-new ductwork to meet today's increased requirements for air circulation.

This has been a Building Operating Management Tip of the Day. Thanks for listening.

3.  Replace Oversized Motors To Reduce HVAC Energy Use

Today's tip from Building Operating Management comes from James Piper, contributing editor to Building Operating Management and Maintenance Solutions magazines: Replace oversize motors to reduce HVAC energy use.

Commercial and institutional facilities typically have many more motors operating in their HVAC systems than most managers realize. Because these motors use so much energy, they offer great opportunities to make a significant impact on facility energy use.

By far the leading cause of energy inefficiency with HVAC system motors is a mismatch between the motor's rated horsepower and the load it is driving. Most HVAC system motors are induction motors.

While these motors are efficient and reliable, their efficiency, like building chillers, drops off significantly when they operate under part-load conditions. By properly matching motor horsepower to system load requirements, managers can achieve major energy savings.

Achieving this goal requires that managers conduct a survey on HVAC system motors to identify those that are significantly oversized for the application. The goal of the process is to develop a comprehensive list of applications that use motors, including information on the motor horsepower, the load it is driving, and the age and rated efficiency of the motor.

The focus should be on motors that are oversized or have exceeded their operating life expectancies.

Replacing older, oversized motors with properly sized ones offers two benefits. First, matching the motor horsepower to the actual load improves the operating efficiency of the system.

Second, changes in motor design have resulted in a generation of motors that have operating efficiencies 2-8 percent higher than older, standard motors. Coupled with the improved operating efficiency that comes from matching the motor horsepower to the load, the improvement in efficiency can provide a relatively quick payback for managers and facilities.

This has been a Building Operating Management Tip of the Day. Thanks for listening.

4.  Facing HVAC Demands to Protect Critical Systems

I'm Steve Schuster, associate editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is dependable power sources. Depending on the level of uptime dictated by the information technology manager, reliability of the system might require multiple dependable sources of power that could include dual electrical service fed from independent power substations, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), standby power generators, or all the above.

In order for servers and drives to safely shut down, a system that started with a small independent UPS now needs to be upgraded to a centralized system, due to increasing demands and economy.

Uptime requirements might make it necessary to have a standby generator to pick up the power load from the UPS and operate until commercial power returns. This period of time could be hours, days or weeks, depending on the event.

Incorporating a standby generator requires managers to carefully plan and execute the electrical design, fuel storage, fuel maintenance and delivery system, and generator combustion air ventilation and exhaust. Generators are inherently noisy, so managers must determine and control sound levels in order to mitigate disturbances to the surrounding neighborhood, as well as to comply with applicable local noise ordinances.

It also is helpful to have parallel paths of power to the utilization equipment. This service can become very costly, but it is necessary in order to perform maintenance on equipment, such as generators, UPS, transfer switches, and power-distribution units.


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HVAC , energy rebates , energy efficiency

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