Session Descriptions

Energy Sessions | Mechanical Sessions | Operations Sessions

Energy Session Descriptions

Intelligently Building the Campus of the Future, TODAY!

Today’s higher education campuses are challenged with diverse needs requiring intelligent building solutions that optimize operating efficiencies, make safety a number one priority, create distinction in a competitive market, meet sustainability and resiliency goals, and leverage innovative technologies. Driven by limited operating budgets, facilities must extract optimal efficiencies from disparate building systems campus wide. As classrooms become modular for flexible uses, campus facilities must smartly adjust building systems to support transitional spaces toward experiential learning opportunities.

To be distinctive in a competitive market, campuses must meet sustainability commitments and offer high-tech capabilities that deliver an exceptional experience. Whether building new or retrofitting, campuses today should implement intelligent building technologies that address these critical building needs. These can increase satisfaction, retention, and performance while improving overall building energy efficiency. Moreover, the benefit of creating distinctive campuses will also result in attracting the best in class faculty, staff and students while encouraging increased philanthropic donations.

How do higher education organizations meet their campus-wide sustainability goals? This presentation will review what tools are available to develop targets and goals, who needs to be involved and how to involve them and provide a step-by-step approach to meeting those developed targets. The presentation will cover how one university developed their goals, how they are meeting the targets and what programs are in place.

Sequential Damper Controls for Energy Savings

At the 2018 Mechanical & Energy Conference, UNL reviewed methods to control mixed air dampers sequentially, replacing the complementary control that is typical in mixed air economizers. The sequential control sequence is recommended as a “best practice” in ASHRAE Standard 36. Over the past year, UNL has modified a number of larger air handlers to implement this strategy. In this presentation, we will review successes, failures and modifications of the strategy in regards to fan energy savings, building IAQ, and building pressure control. We will also discuss a similar strategy that allowed us to reduce fan energy consumption and increase energy recovery in a lab exhaust system.

Not Your Gramma’s CAP: An Interactive Climate Action Plan for Storytelling and Spurring Change

Shouldn’t a campus climate action plan lead to actual “actions?” One might say, of course! In reality, traditional climate actions plans become static reports that once done are least socialized/researched amongst campus community because static reports can only offer so much learning. The case study presented in this session walks the audience through the steps and tools used in development of University at Buffalo (UB)’s Integrated Collaborative Energy and Climate Action Plan (ICECAP). ICECAP was developed to update UB’s existing climate action plan (CAP) from 2009. The project’s inception was inspired by the need to have a tool to capture, visualize and present the story of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) on all three UB campuses. The project goals were; updating the campus GHG baseline, making the information accessible to campus community at large, increasing data granularity, creating a clear reduction pathway, and establishing accountability with verification. The final product became an online tool that users can interact with to understand where the largest sources of emission are, what the impact of each reduction strategy is, and where the biggest bang for the buck on capital projects is. The online platform also allows students to directly access the data for research projects and engagement on sustainability related courses.

Energy Metering and Billing Solutions

Managing energy information — accurate energy use and cost data which is the foundation of effective energy management — was a challenge at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Like most Big Ten institutions, UNL utilities are provided through central utility plants as well as directly from vendors, with both university- and vendor-owned meters reporting anywhere from 15-minute intervals to bi-monthly bills. The resulting silos of information could not be integrated to produce consistent, dependable information needed for benchmarking, analysis, formulation, and prioritization of energy conservation measures and measurement and verification of results. This presentation will discuss the implementation of a software solution to streamline data capture, identify outliers and validate meter readings, create customer-facing dashboards, and provide a single data source for all energy information.

Sustainability Standards

Panel discussion of various sustainability standards for facilities (LEED, Green Globes, Living Building Challenge) and the pros and cons of adopting a hybrid approach.

Energy Conservation in Instructional Lab Buildings

At the University of Illinois, the Noyes Chemistry Laboratory and Natural History Building are both over 100 years old. Noyes Lab Building has been renovated in several phases and has a variety of systems ranging from labs with fume-hoods, no make-up air, and air conditioners to labs with DDC VAV systems. This building has close to 150 fume-hoods and the majority of them are in instructional labs. In contrast, the whole Natural History Building was completely remodeled recently with upgraded plumbing and air systems and recently received LEED Gold certification. It has a better building envelope and variable flow heating and cooling systems with manifolded fume hood exhausts and energy recovery systems. The building has instructional labs with fume hoods, but those spaces have very different uses now. The presentation explains the energy conservation measures done by the Retro-commissioning team and give insight about different opportunities in non-research labs for energy conservation.

Round Table on High Performance Sequences

Host round table discussion High Performance Sequence strategies:

  • ASHRAE Guideline 36
  • Dual Max VAV Control
  • Saving Energy While Eliminating Over Cooling

Tools for Energy Savings and Less Effort: Why not?

The topic of this presentation addresses mainly mechanical, energy, automation and operations; as well as additional topics of Data, Analytics, Standards and DOE Research. The Savings related to ASHRAE 36 and OpenBuildingControl have potential to be huge, but it will likely be a significant hurdle to see this adopted on a widespread basis. This session is intended to help reduce that “significant hurdle” for early adoption.

Making the CFO Smile and Facilities More Energy Efficient: A New Strategy

For too long, facilities leadership in higher education have had to manage two constraints to saving energy and improving major operating systems: the traditional use of outside firms to deliver large, multi-site energy efficiency projects was too long and overly complicated and/or the belief that projects could be designed and implemented by campus staff.

The result is frustration from the CFO’s office that energy costs continued to rise and demand from the sustainability office that the institution make investments in efficient equipment and operating systems. As a result, facilities professionals squeeze in lighting upgrades in the spring break and participate in planning study after planning study without really seeing any results. The lack of progress does not build a strong case for investment funding from the CFO and the cycle of frustration continues to impact progress.

What if there is a new, more strategic approach? Facilities professionals at both Penn State and the University of Maryland recognized that they needed to implement projects that would deliver energy savings. However, they wanted to avoid the $25 million, all campus, anything goes single project approach. They opted to take a strategic, phased approach that begins with a cooperative, comprehensive listing of project possibilities and an evaluation of the potential cost and payback for each project. Using that database of information, projects can move to design based on payback requirements, CO2 reduction, and maintenance priorities and in individual buildings needing improvements.

This phased approach allows for predictable funding requests and also allows projects to move forward if new funding should become available mid-year. The program can include guaranteed, financeable savings, or the institution can self-fund the projects.

The process results in a cooperative planning process, faster implementation, and measurable results.

Back to schedule

Mechanical Session Descriptions

Second Effort: Retro-commissioning for deep energy savings in a modern high-performance building

Recently occupied buildings can be prime targets for energy and operational optimization through the retro-commissioning (RCx) process. Unlike older buildings where the RCx process focuses on identifying failed equipment or components, an RCx process for buildings less than 7 years old will leverage accumulated data and the “lived-in” experience of occupants, operators, and owners to deliver improved performance.

Even if the building was intended to be “high-performance,” the initial design and construction process often leaves opportunity on the table due to rushed schedules and an ultimate focus on project delivery as opposed to peak operational performance.

This presentation will consider a current project at the Penn State Cancer Institute to demonstrate common opportunities for significant energy savings using an owner-led and data-driven process to optimize airflows and tune building systems for deep energy savings at a clinical care and research building. Particular challenges addressed include energy savings in wet labs, long-term air balancing with terminal return air control, and implementing unoccupied modes in pressure-critical systems.

Causes, Risks, & Solutions to Negative Air Pressure in Higher Education

Explaining what we’ve found to be the most common trouble-makers in HVAC efficiency in Higher Education. We’ll share pictures for comparisons of healthy versus unhealthy components so facilities managers can see the difference. Further, we’ll define which problems should be handled by which contractor, and provide instruction for how facility managers can fix problems without bringing in a vendor.

The High Cost of Over Pumping

Experimental data is presented for a Delta T solution that has been implemented at the campus of MIT for a representative summer cooling season. A new valve assembly was used in all of the air handling units (AHUs) for a complete building to provide an overall building impact. A new technique for determining the optimum AHU Delta T is presented, and the economic impacts on pumping energy and the chilled water plant operation are quantified.

Chiller Performance Improvement Via Tube Fouling Prevention at UW-Madison

UW-Madison trialed Automatic Tube Cleaning System (ATCS) technology on an evaporator and condenser of a 4,000-ton chiller in 2018. The results were compared to an identical chiller without the technology as well as past historical data. The results demonstrated an approximate 12% chiller efficiency improvement and up to 10% chiller capacity increase. Based on this, UW has applied this technology to four total chillers in 2019 with more to follow.

This presentation will review some of the more interesting aspects of the ATCS technology. An overview of the initial trial setup, measurement, and performance validation will be presented. Additionally, an overview of how the new technology was integrated into UW-Madison’s operations and how the addition of more ATCS systems influences both operational efficiencies and labor deployment. Typical equipment installation considerations will also be presented. Some of the more unique benefits in chilled water plant operations include demonstrated continuous chiller performance at clean-tube efficiency, increased chiller capacity, and reduced maintenance.

Lastly, the ATCS technology is a suitable platform for further technology development and innovation that can strengthen the Industrial IoT (Internet of Things) related data within institutional facilities. The technology roadmap and near-term innovations will be briefed related to how the proposed innovations can benefit the efficiency of university-related energy operations by providing actionable real-time data from within operating heat exchange systems.

The Sustainable Design Lifecycle: How to Deliver on High Performance Design

Penn State faces the same challenges as many institutions: how to balance high performance building targets with realistic operations, manage energy and water resources across a diverse building portfolio, and ultimately deliver the optimal building for the future within finite site and budget constraints.

This session will outline the Sustainable Design Lifecycle of a project from conceptual design to occupancy, highlighting key moments and best practices that have the greatest impact for cost effectively maximizing the sustainability of a project. We will also highlight how to best ensure that project teams include this scope in their proposals. Presenters will share their early dynamic modeling process and tools and show how this can be used not just for large, technically complex projects, but for any project trying to achieve aggressive energy or water goals with site area, floor height, budget, operational, or other constraints.

Presenters representing Penn State (Dwayne Rush) and Vanderweil Engineers (Patrick Murphy and Steve Karl) will share how they applied these best practices to the design and construction of two laboratory projects on the University Park campus: the recently completed 193,000gsf Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Building and the new 100,000gsf replacement of the Henning Building, home to PSU’s Departments of Animal Science and Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences.

Utility Meters: Selection, Sizing & Meter Data

IUPUI has embarked on a journey to add Chilled Water and Steam meters to every building for the purpose of understanding individual building energy use (IUPUI is billed based on master utility meters from our provider).

  • CHW and Steam meter type selected for campus standardization
  • Meter size vs building design load
  • Meter calibration
  • Meter data collection and highlights on favorite ways to quickly review building performance

Active Sensing — Tremendous Savings Opportunities in Lab Exhaust

Laboratory buildings are the largest energy consuming buildings, using as much energy as 150 single family homes. Ventilation is approximately 40% of this energy.

To date, the majority of energy saving efforts have has been focused on reducing the supply air to the lab, e.g., reducing the Air Changes per Hour (ACH). Historically, labs ran with ACH of 14, 16 or higher. Most Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) organizations wouldn’t allow lower ACH without monitoring the lab room air for contaminates due to safety concerns. Data from monitoring lab rooms eventually showed that lab room air is virtually always clean. Therefore lower ACH can provide safe dilution. Many engineering firms now recommend 6 ACH with the lab occupied and 4 (and some cases 2) unoccupied without monitoring. This results in significant energy savings.

However, lab exhaust has been largely ignored and the high plume lab exhaust fans provide a tremendous opportunity for savings. These fans run at high exit velocities 24/7 with two functions. They create a high plume of air to provide safe dilution of any contaminants in the lab exhaust and ensure no re-entrainment into the supply intakes.

For a variety of reasons to be discussed, the fume hood exhaust is also clean a significant amount of time (e.g., 70% to 95%+). Active sensing system monitors the cleanliness of lab exhaust air (e.g., ppm) and indexes the exit velocity of the fans accordingly. Active sensing reduces bypass air at the exhaust fan when the exhaust air is clean, driving large energy savings. Project ROI’s of 24 months or less are typical. As active sensing allows the exhaust fans to run at significantly lower exist velocities the majority of the time, modifications to fan sequencing may be possible to drive even further savings, which will be discussed.

Back to schedule

Operations Session Descriptions

Utilizing Fault Detection & Diagnostics (FDD) as a “Force Multiplier” to Drive Value Across a University Campus

In late 2018, the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) implemented fault detection and diagnostics (FDD) software in five large facilities across campus to drive energy savings, improve operational efficiency, and to move from more reactive to predictive facility operations. Pitt’s efforts have shown impressive results in the initial phase of the FDD program. Actions taken as a result of issues identified by FDD have resulted in over $81,000 in projected annual savings, yielding an ROI of less than 7 months. An additional $41,000 of annual savings will be realized in the immediate future upon the completion of ‘Tasks’ that are currently open/in-process.

The primary strategic objective of Pitt’s FDD program is to maximize the impact of maintenance and engineering resources on campus through automated analytics. The platform analyzes over 3.8 million data points per day and provides a daily, prioritized list of action items, drastically reducing time spent reviewing data and increasing bandwidth to address the most pressing issues. Pitt has begun to harness the power of FDD, largely driven by a well-defined and governed process around the use of the platform. Pitt has also begun to leverage FDD to its greater potential by documenting processes and creating accountability for different teams to act on the findings — be it mechanical, controls, small projects, commissioning, or other activities. Through these activities, FDD has become a force multiplier for the talented individuals on the engineering and maintenance teams at Pitt, who can leverage analytics to extend their reach and impact across campus. The Pitt model has been shown to be very effective in launching an FDD program and could now be easily replicated across other university campuses.

The Transformation of Marston Hall: Creating a 21st Learning Environment within a 19th Century Structure

Marston Hall, built in 1903, is the historic home of the College of Engineering at Iowa State University in Ames. In 2016, ISU completed the first comprehensive renovation of Marston Hall, creating a 21st century learning environment within the 19th century structure. The renovation preserved the building’s antiquity despite removing 75 percent of the original interior structure. By using active chilled beams with perimeter radiant heating, LED lighting, and other conservation strategies, the building operates more efficiently than before the renovation, despite being more fully occupied and used than before the renovation. The exterior remains largely untouched and retains historic interior spaces while providing updated classrooms, an auditorium, student interaction spaces, offices, and a welcome center within.

The building’s age and original structure — a combination of flat arches, steel, concrete, and stone — presented opportunities and challenges in the design of the project’s mechanical systems, which needed to provide room-by-room zoning for temperature controls, be energy efficient, and fit within the physical limitations of the existing building. The chosen combination of systems is cost-effective, supports the building’s architectural integrity, achieves the university’s energy goals, and provides optimal user comfort. The building is successfully meeting ISU’s sustainability goals, consuming approximately 28 percent less energy in the first year following renovation, and achieving LEED Gold certification.

This presentation will discuss the key strategies used to achieve ISU’s goals as well as analysis of the building’s actual energy use before and after renovation. Discussion points will include:

  • System concept analysis and final selection reasoning
  • Integrating mechanical distribution pathways into the building architecture
  • Controlling and mitigating humidity concerns
  • Minimizing envelope and ventilation loads

Managing the Operational Needs of the Campus and The Journey to a Campus Living Laboratory at University of Maryland College Park

The University of Maryland partnered with NIST National Cybersecurity Center for Excellence to host the Situational Awareness Project and Energy Sector Asset Management Project. Leveraging the OSIsoft PI System, the Campus Co-generation Substation and 6,300 ton chiller plant was used as the test platform. The system has expanded to include new data real-time data sources around campus. Utilizing the newly centralized data from five and growing sources, the university has realized improvements in billing accuracy and reliability, multi-system integration, infrastructure monitoring and outage alerts, and access to new data and visualizations to help transform UMCP’s Facilities Management (FM) team from a reactive service model to an integrated, service management–focused organization.

The operations team has further partnered with the academic areas of the university to collaborate around data availability, visibility, retrospective analytics and predictive modeling. As part of ongoing integrations of sustainability principles and academic experiences, UMD Facilities Management (FM) is collaborating with CITY@UMD. CITY@UMD is housed in The Cluster for Sustainability in the Built Environment at the University of Maryland. Focusing on the study of different ventilation strategies, indoor thermal comfort, and indoor/outdoor building science validation studies allows the UMD College Park campus to become a Living Laboratory and a Smarter City.

Metering at University of Wisconsin and IUPUI

There are many different technologies for metering physical utilities, and the most difficult and expensive to measure is steam. Many of our buildings are lab based and require a broad range of consumption of steam and chilled water. This session will review the positive and negative aspects of each type of meter and the associated costs of installation as well as the lessons learned at UW-Madison and where we currently are at in the process of utility measurement of individual buildings.

Getting to Fixed — The Points Don’t Matter

Automated Fault Detection & Diagnostics (AFDD) is one of the new buzz phrases in the world of building automation; everyone seems to have their own offering. While the detection of issues in the HVAC world is becoming somewhat routine, it’s the actual fixing of the problems that has become the most critical step in the whole AFDD process. Faults can get detected all day long but if no one has the time or resources to actually fix the detected issues, then it’s a complete waste of an organization’s time and money. Too many end users are failing to recognize the importance of having a plan in place to address the wave of detected issues, especially at the beginning of the AFDD program.

Any AFDD program must have an on-site champion or primary lead to take ownership of the entire process from detection to implementation. If there is no one on site that has “skin in the game” then the program is destined to fail. It is also highly recommended that the team of engineers and technicians (mechanical, electrical & controls) that will be doing the field investigation and taking corrective action are brought into the AFDD ‘process’ as early as possible.

What has also become clear is that the end users can’t handle a tidal wave of issues but do have success when provided a manageable number of actionable items (it’s like the old adage: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”). When people are given actionable information on a limited number of items, things always seem to get done faster and more completely.

Moral of the story: Before committing to implement any AFDD program, be sure to have the resources available to take action.

The Use of Condition Monitoring to Ensure Resiliency

Maintenance of building and utility systems has traditionally focused on restoring equipment after failure has occurred. Applying risk-based condition monitoring techniques can save operating costs and provide a higher level of system availability. There are many condition monitoring techniques that make use of modern technology and systems, but there are others that can be applied in almost any maintenance environment without an investment in technology. Penn State is using a range of these tactics across different systems in our efforts to better manage maintenance costs and improve system uptime.

Developing a Water Treatment Program

Brief overview of the heating and cooling water systems 15+ years ago and the problems caused by lack of water treatment. Explain the collaboration between Suez and Penn State in developing a successful water treatment program and how we integrate the program into all levels of asset management including design/engineering, construction, operation, and preventative maintenance. Key design parameters will be discussed, including pipe material, engineered controls, cleaning, and chemical treatment. Establishment of standards and Key Performance Indicators that improved system performance and longevity. Highlight successes in the water treatment program and future initiatives and goals.

Back to schedule