The journey towards better building performance starts with the belief that operational improvement is not only possible, but important. And it often starts with a simple question: “Where and how can we improve?” That’s what the staff at a midwestern children’s hospital asked themselves at the end of 2019. Hospital management understood that an opportunity for improvement existed, and they reached out to BuildingLogiX because they were ready to act. Read more about how the hospital’s partnership with our team opened their eyes to many operational improvement opportunities and how asking a simple question put them on a path to increased efficiency, improved facility health, and reduced operating costs.
The hospital recently completed a significant expansion over the previous two years. Their maintenance staff successfully maintained patient comfort and humidity requirements during and after the project, and there were no major operational issues readily apparent across the facility. However, the hospital’s leadership team believed that better facility performance was possible with their existing technology and decided to invest resources in a commissioning study of their HVAC and Building Automation System (BAS). They believed a full analysis of their systems would illuminate critical details on operational efficiency and offer areas that needed improvement. This was an important decision because optimizing existing HVAC systems creates a more efficient and effective building without significantly increasing costs.
The hospital’s team made the right decision and contacted BuildingLogiX to perform a full retro-commissioning study on their facility. Our expert technical staff deployed our Connected Building Services (CBS) analytics & fault detection platform and collected data on their entire HVAC system, which included more than 715,000 square feet of:
- Inpatient facilities
- Outpatient facilities
- Operating rooms
- Emergency rooms
- Medical offices
This premier pediatric hospital employs more than 2,400 people, including 400 physicians who treat 300,000 children annually.
The BuildingLogiX team reviewed operational data, system performance, and utility consumption and discovered 13 energy conservation measures that would save the hospital more than $160,000 per year in utility costs. What surprised the hospital staff wasn’t that improvement opportunities existed but that all of these improvements were operational and none required capital budget dollars. The Energy Conservation Measures included:
Our retro-commissioning report found that some AHUs were operating at high static pressures throughout the day, and others couldn’t reach their assigned setpoints despite working at peak capacity. Using the BuildingLogiX Data eXchange to analyze operational data , our team was able to review several months of data to showcase the static pressure inconsistencies across their facility. Generating excessive static pressure wastes energy and increases utility costs. Our team recommended a robust static pressure reset routine be added to air handler controllers and further evaluation to determine and address the issues affecting daytime static pressure.
During our system review, it was discovered that several parts of the hospital are empty during nighttime hours and weekends. However, the HVAC system was still operating at its normal schedule during these unoccupied periods. We worked with the hospital’s facilities team to determine a reduced occupancy schedule and minimize wasteful HVAC usage. By adhering to a schedule that maximizes efficiency during occupied hours, the hospital’s staff greatly reduced waste and utility costs.
The hospital’s electricity costs are made up of several items, and pass-through peak capacity costs are one of the biggest elements that management has control over.. Our team analyzed their systems and offered recommendations that can further reduce the hospital’s utility cost by $50,000 per year by targeting reductions in peak capacity costs. Once again these recommendations are operational in nature, and simple to implement with the power of data driven analytics and fault detection in place. Some examples of these recommendations to reduce costs are
- Pre-cool water loops and certain air systems down to minimum setpoints
- Disable heat recovery mode and shift to chiller leads to increase efficiency
- Leverage energy data from the main campus meter to review HVAC performance and identify improvement areas.
The hospital’s chiller plants serve the campus with both standard water chillers, and heat recovery chillers. Our team studied 18 months of chiller plant performance and determined that significant savings were at hand by selecting the correct chiller into the Lead position depending on the season. In fact, Our team estimated that optimizing the plant performance will save the client $70,000 per year in energy costs.
Optimizing the Lead Chiller selection will also help minimize lag chiller cycling that leads to wasted energy, excess wear and tear, and increased costs. We also recommended implementing our BDX Chiller Portal to monitor the ongoing performance of their chillers and overall plant system.
A project that began with the hospital’s leadership asking brave questions ended with valuable knowledge about the system’s operations and straight forward improvements. The client was pleased to learn that their facilities were operating at an above-average efficiency in many areas and were thrilled to learn that operational adjustments can create additional major savings. In the six months following our analysis, the client implemented changes to produce more than $100,000 in annual utility savings without impacting employee or patient comfort. Our team estimates that our solutions will deliver more than 1,700,000 kWh in annual electricity savings and more than 6,500,000 in kBTU savings. The hospital has enjoyed the various benefits associated with the partnership and continues to use the operational improvements provided by CBS.
Contact BuildingLogiX today to learn how our solutions allow your maintenance staff to do more with less.
Sometimes asking simple questions yields the most significant results. If you and your staff are wondering how you can improve your facility operations, contact BuildingLogiX and see how our team helps clients across multiple industries work smarter with their existing equipment.