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<< Energy Efficiency
Uhl Company Enables Church to be a Better Steward of Gifts, Operate More Efficiently
Eden Prairie, Minn. — Grace Church, a non-denominational congregation in Eden Prairie, Minn., is saving more than $100,000 annually in utility charges as a result of completing a recommissioning of its facility. The church partnered with a member firm of the InsideIQ™ Building Automation Alliance, an international alliance of independent building automation contractors, and Xcel Energy, the local utility, on the $182,000 project. Uhl Company Inc., based in Maple Grove, Minn., implemented several energy conservation measures in the church facility that save energy and qualified the church to earn utility rebates to help cover some of the project’s costs.
The Grace Church recommissioning study conducted by Uhl identified many opportunities to save energy in the 343,000 square foot facility. Uhl also assisted the church to qualify for $38,000 in utility rebates from Xcel Energy to help cover the upfront costs of the project. By reducing energy usage more than 800,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, the payback period for the church will be less than eighteen months.
“Not only was this a good financial decision on behalf of our members and organization, but it was good for the local community as well,” said Dan Kretsinger, director of facilities at Grace Church. “We’re no longer a church sitting high on a hill wasting power.”
“InsideIQ member firms are dedicated to creating the best inside working environments for customers, whether installing a BAS or completing a comprehensive energy saving project,” said Mark Balent, president of InsideIQ Building Automation Alliance. “InsideIQ Members, like Uhl Company, offer advanced energy solutions that help customers achieve their conservation goals, such as lowering energy expenses and reducing environmental impacts. Our experts will benchmark a facility’s energy consumption and identify ways to improve its efficiency while keeping building occupants comfortable and productive. InsideIQ firms can implement energy saving upgrades on time and within budget, with minimal disruption to facility operations.”
Energy efficiency enhancements Uhl implemented at Grace Church included reducing air handling unit (AHU) run hours to meet actual occupied times; resetting the supply air temperature for the AHUs; installing occupancy sensors on heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) variable air volume (VAV) units to reduce the duct static pressure and control the speed of the air-handlers; implementing demand control ventilation, which adjusts levels of outside air down to meet carbon dioxide (CO2) requirements based on occupancy; and lowering VAV air flow to match zone needs and reduce to minimum in unoccupied spaces.
“Commissioning is a systematic and documented process of ensuring that specific building systems perform interactively according to the design intent and the owner’s operational needs,” said Tim Ley, President, Uhl Company. “As Grace Church learned, even if a building is properly commissioned during its design, construction and start-up phases, changes in its use and operations over time typically lead to diminished building performance. Recommissioning is the process of re-examining a building that was previously commissioned and making adjustments to ensure it is once again properly calibrated to achieve optimal performance. In our experience, tuning up a building for peak efficiency with recommissioning consistently saves between five and 20 percent of building energy costs, while improving occupant comfort and operations.”
Xcel Energy provides rebates to help offset the costs related to recommissioning, including study rebates to help pay up to 75 percent of the up-front recommissioning study costs and implementation rebates based on the amount of energy saved from a completed project.
InsideIQ Building Automation Alliance is an organization comprised of 49 independent commercial building and facility automation companies representing common automation and security system platforms. Members specialize in the design and implementation of facilities and process control systems, systems integration, enterprise security systems, facilities maintenance services, energy services, and the representation of other value-added products and services. InsideIQ is the largest independent organization of its kind. Member companies provide consistent applications, coordination, and support for commercial facility owners across North America, Canada, Australia and parts of Europe. More information is available online at www.insideiq.org.
About Uhl Company Inc.
The Uhl Company was founded in 1917 by Bill and Ed Uhl representing Vulcan Radiation. With offices in Maple Grove and Duluth, Uhl Company continues to grow and offer top quality sales and service. Today, Uhl employs more than 135 people offering a range of facility services including security systems, building automation and systems integration. More information is available online at www.uhlcompany.com.