Managers Can Maintain Building Service Levels While Saving Money With BAS

By Naomi Millán, Associate Editor  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Energy Management Solutions Likely Already Housed In FacilitiesPt. 2: Size of Automation Systems Should Be Proportionate to BuildingPt. 3: This PagePt. 4: Water Consumption Can Be Controlled With Use of Submeters

Of all the energy management strategies available, figuring out how to use controls to turn things off is perhaps obvious. The art comes in figuring out how to maintain service levels while shaving a little here and squeezing a little there.

With controls, facility managers in facilities with finite stop and start times can glide to service endpoints, Young says. If the HVAC needs to be off at 6 p.m., cut the fan back to 50 percent at 5 p.m. and shut off the heating or cooling at 5:30 p.m. With the volume of air in the facility it will take awhile for the temperature to become uncomfortable, he says.

Remelius' philosophy is that you can use all the power you need; just turn it off when you're done. Upper Merion has found plenty of ways to shave run times. The HVAC system doesn't start until closer to 8 a.m., when the staff arrives, instead of 6:30 a.m., when the custodians arrive. The cafeterias don't get conditioned air unless they're in use, three to four hours a day instead of 10 to 12 hours. The air to auditoriums is turned off unless they're in use, so the system isn't bringing in the fresh air needed by 1,000 absent people.

Finding savings has become a bit of an addiction, like a video game, for the tech at Upper Merion. "He'll figure out how to shave an hour off here, some kWh there," Remelius says.

In a tough economy, the little savings here and there are more than just a feather in the facilities management team's hat; they're a significant survival tool. "The money we have saved has saved jobs and has kept my department afloat," Remelius says. "You'll be amazed at what you can do. It's been a real eye-opener."

Insider Tips

"The biggest thing is that property managers have to get out with their engineers. Ten years ago, a property manager had one building. Now they have three or four and all they're doing is crisis management. Property managers have to get out from behind their desks and go look for that value-add." — Roy Cook, Transwestern

"A best practice is to put variable frequency drives on motors and that way you can capture the cube root savings of slowing it down. That provides some of the largest savings." — Bill Young, Shorenstein Properties

"If you have the luxury, put everything on one system. You have just one maintenance contract, one type of VAV to keep around, etc. Of course, shop around and find the one that works, but try to stick with that manufacturer. It just makes it a lot cleaner." — Michael Paul, Boeing

"You have to invest in training and have at least one person who really knows how to operate the BAS. If you have more than 1.5 million square feet, that should be a full-time position." — Frederick Remelius, Upper Merion Area School District

"One thing that a lot of facilities fail to realize is that if you're going to use VFDs on your air handlers, you need to have motors that can go down to 25 percent without overheating and dying on you. We had older motors — some that were 30 years old — that had to be replaced. But you recoup the expense quickly." — Tom Amrein, National Aquarium

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  posted on 5/28/2010   Article Use Policy

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