Greater understanding.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 11:30

“I ain’t as good as I once was” – The Aging Building (Part 2)

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Alright, folks... It's time for part 2!!! Here are the examples we promised in Part 1.  Tell us if any of these come as a surprise to you.  Also, send us your own examples!

  1. The Power Of Trending
    1. After setting up trends, we saw that heating valves on three rooftop HVAC units were found to be wide open all night, every night, all year long while the units were OFF – a rooftop sauna! Now that the valves are closed when unneeded, $600 per year is being used for other purposes.
    2. After setting up trends, a heat recovery unit was found to be working “backwards”, losing energy instead of recovering it for many hours each year. That one was worth $2,300 per year in savings.
  2. The Power of Questioning Irrational Results
    1. A steam boiler was operating at 50% efficiency (instead of the expected 80%) and wasting $10,000 per year. The boiler was fairly new, and that number didn’t sit well with us. After questioning we found that the condensate lines were leaking considerably! The owner was unaware of the problem because the building was warm enough and the tell-tale leaking condensate lines were in a seldom-visited tunnel.
    2. A large, 30 year old boiler, in imminent need of replacement, was determined to be three times as large as was needed. Our initial clue was that 2 of the 3 heating coils upstream of the fan were disconnected and the building still heated properly!  We find that it’s pretty common for equipment to be oversized because no one wants to risk the alternative. It’s nice to know that it can be replaced with a properly sized model, reducing replacement cost AND energy use.
  3. The Power of Applied Experience
    1. A cooling coil was piped backwards and was cooling everything very well while wasting about 15% of its energy. Who knew you could pipe it backwards?  And that it made a difference? (We did)
    2. An awful sewer smell, occurring randomly in a large automotive sales area for several years caused customer complaints, employee discomfort and loss of sales. This required a Sherlock Holmes investigation that included tracing the history of the problem and “nosing” around until the hidden source was revealed and the smell was eliminated.
    3. An air conditioning system, running 24/7 for 10 summers, was unable to keep a church properly cool, even in mild weather. The key for solving this was the realization that special setup and refrigerant charge were needed.  The church is cool and energy use will be (way) down.

jim holmes

It’s intriguing to us that ALL of these were invisible in one way or another, unless… you knew what to look for... and knew how to be a building physics “Sherlock Holmes”…AND WERE WILLING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!   It’s challenging, a lot of fun, and greatly satisfying to hand over this type of result to our clients!


Read 53812 times Last modified on Thursday, 12 June 2014 15:05

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