As utility costs become a greater portion of facility operation costs, it is in our best interest to operate our facilities as efficiently as possible. In fact, it is not uncommon for heating and air conditioning costs to account for more than 50% of the total energy bill. The following energy saving ideas were presented at the 2012 ASHE conference in San Antonio. I hope that you will find them thought provoking and will consider commissioning a review of your facility.
Mark Fratto, P.E., LEED AP
Using high pressure steam for your heating system can be 50% efficient where as heating water systems can have an efficiency as high as 95%. If most of your steam is used for heating, consider converting to hot water.
Outside air requires significant energy to condition. While it is a code requirement in many cases, controlling the amount of outside air can result in large savings. Consider controlling the outside air dampers with your energy management system rather than have them in a fixed position. Where code permits, evaluate implementing non occupied control modes where the outside air is reduced or eliminated after hours. However, make sure you coordinate properly with the exhaust systems so you do not create a negative condition in your facility.
Your air conditioning system creates considerable condensate. Many facilities are collecting this condensate for irrigation and other non potable uses.
Review the operating pressures and temperature differentials in chilled and heating water systems. Make sure that the systems are operating within the original design parameters and the specifications for any new replacement equipment. Lower differential temperatures are a sure sign of inefficient operation.
If pumps and air handling equipment can operate at partial load, evaluate the feasibility of installing variable speed drives to recoup wasted energy.
For more information regarding this issue, please contact us at (817) 461-2337.