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New Control System Saves University $350,000 Annually

When Cornell University undertook a campuswide energy conservation initiative, the university’s Biotechnology Building was a natural target for an upgrade.



When Cornell University undertook a campuswide energy conservation initiative, the university’s Biotechnology Building was a natural target for an upgrade.

Built in 1986, the 150,000-square-foot, energy-intensive facility was still operating with its original pneumatic controls in occupied spaces and first generation DDC controls on the central system.

Cornell chose Automated Logic’s WebCTRL system based on prior experience with the system in other campus buildings. A total of 90 labs were outfitted with Phoenix Controls VAV fume hood sash position controls and venturi-style VAV boxes, digital room controllers, reheat valve transducers, room occupancy sensors and user-adjustable networked thermostats. Another 100 non-fume hood labs were retrofitted with box-mounted Automated Logic controls, room occupancy sensors, thermostats and reheat controls.

“Our control strategy was to minimize air change rate in the room to what was necessary to keep it comfortable and provide a safe working environment,” says Lanny Joyce, manager, engineering, planning and energy management. The work has paid off. Reduced ventilation rates, combined with a program to educate occupants about energy savings and lab safety, have reduced annual energy costs by nearly $350,000.

“When we put the project together, we made estimates of our energy savings,” says Alan Hebert, project manager. “Our prediction at the time was about 30 percent annually. We’re very close to the 27 percent to 28 percent range, and we’ll probably exceed the 30 percent savings we had estimated.”


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