Impacting Energy Usage in Northern California

Issues Prior to Implementation of Program

  • Complaints from residents that apartments tend to be too warm
  • Unable to control indoor temperature
  • Building operator observed high indoor temperature in hallways
  • Domestic hot water supply temperature set at 250 degrees F

Training Plan for Operator and Analysis of Building

Manex used data-driven problem solving methodology to analyze operations. The process involved the following steps:

  • Building operator undergoes 40 hours of building re-turning training at Laney College
  • Walk-down was performed at all facilities
  • Data loggers were installed and data was analyzed using ECAM

Results and Recommendations

  • During walk-down, hallway floors had excessive temperatures (+80 degrees F)
  • Sample apartment indoor temperature was over 85 degrees F
  • Recommendation: Reset hot water supply to 180 degrees F maximum
  • Separate domestic hot water supply from space heating loops
  • Add wall thermostats to control indoor temperature in individual apartments

Impact on Building and Operator

  • Energy savings from walk-down results estimated to be 80,840 therms/year or 35% of existing natural gas usage
  • On-going monitoring to control hot water supply temperature
  • Building operator utilizes ECAM and utility analysis
  • Training enabled building operator to provide additional information and be more closely engaged in building upgrades.  Operator was able to improve communications with management and financial personnel to better justify upgrades.

Program Background

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has developed a method for the re-tuning of buildings in order to improve their energy efficiency.  Previous studies on large scale commercial buildings have demonstrated energy savings of between 5% and 25% when this method is used by building operators/managers.  The Corporation for Manufacturing Excellence (Manex), Energy Commercialization, Laney College, and Stationary Engineers Local 39 have teamed to train building operators on this methodology.  The program is a joint effort of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the DOE. The program offers the ability to enhance energy efficiency as well as provide a means to encourage job creation.  The local utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, is one of the advisors to the program.

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