College Building Chilled Water Plant Assessment Report

Read about the elements that go into our chilled water plant assessment and how universities benefit from BuildingLogiX’s solutions.

Analytics review is one of the most important steps in our onboarding process. It’s where our team connects, collects, organizes, and analyzes your system’s data to determine inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement. But how does this process work in real time? Read more about our process and how our implementation steps analyzed the chilled water plants of a large university in this case study.

The Opportunity

Universities are always looking for new ways to reduce spending and have recently turned their attention to enhancing their building automation systems’ (BAS) efficiency. A large university reached out to our team because they wanted to increase the efficiency of their chiller plant system. Chiller plants serve as the centralized cooling system for a building. The client used a variable primary plant with variable speed secondary pumps for an 1800-ton steam turbine and two identical 800-ton chillers.

The Assessment

Our team reviewed plant operation and performance for three months using the following principles:

Steady-State Control

Plants and their equipment operate at peak efficiency when thermodynamic changes occur gradually. Rapid temperature and flow changes impact heat exchange and compressor cycling, reducing equipment efficiency and reducing its useful life.

Maximize Chiller Control

Manufacturer, size, and operating conditions factor into a chiller’s true kW/ton versus design efficiency. Chillers operate most efficiently at higher cooling loads and with lower condenser temperatures. Since they make up the largest loads in a BAS, maximizing their efficiency often has the greatest impact.

Balance Chiller Runtime

For universities and other large campuses, chillers are the largest and most expensive elements of a BAS. Sharing the load by rotating multiple chillers maximizes equipment longevity, and our data collection services during these times provide insight on maintenance issues and sensor calibration. The two chillers analyzed in this case study are identical and should have similar performance metrics. Balancing their runtime and performance increases the efficiency and lifespan of the equipment.

Avoid Low Delta-T Syndrome

Low delta-T syndrome occurs when there’s a small difference between incoming and outgoing temperatures. It’s a common technical issue for chilled water plants and impacts a system’s efficiency by decreasing downstream performance and controlling the air handling unit’s (AHU) supply air temperature. Resetting the chilled water temperature is an efficient strategy for avoiding the effects of low delta-T syndrome but can create more issues if it causes an increase in pumping energy.

Reset Condenser Water Temperature

Condenser water control is an important factor for chiller plant efficiency. It’s a function of outside air wet bulb temperature and significantly impacts chiller efficiency. Also, condenser pumps are often the largest pumps in a water-cooled chiller plant, and optimizing flow and temperature setpoints enhances performance. Poor condenser water control is one of the most common areas where plant efficiency decreases.

Operate More Variable-Frequency Drive Motors

Motor cycling and maintaining low-speed operation are two strategies for efficient control. Selecting the right speed, staging points, and motor sequence allows you to find the most optimal operating point under different conditions. Running multiple cooling fan motors at 30% speed delivers the same water temperature as one fan running at a high speed. It’s a more efficient approach to delivering or rejecting heat.

Maintain Critical Building Demands

Plants and their equipment operate at peak efficiency when thermodynamic changes occur gradually. Rapid temperature and flow changes impact heat exchange and compressor cycling, reducing equipment efficiency and reducing its useful life.

The Results

Our analysis determined that implementing better control sequences for the condenser water would reduce operational spending by as much as $27,000 a year. With the help of our expert engineering team, our client is now on the right track to optimizing their BAS.

Is Your System Operating at Peak Efficiency?

Just because it’s working doesn’t mean it’s working well. Our solutions monitor your system’s efficiency and make improvements when needed. Contact us today to learn more.

How BuildingLogiX Provides Energy Management Solutions for Universities

College and universities face various issues when improving their energy efficiency, these include:

Building Diversity

No two buildings are alike. Age, location, and the direction they face impact energy consumption. Our Connected Building Services (CBS) continuously gather and analyze information about your BAS’s efficiency to give you guidance on improvement opportunities.

Increased Campus Size

Campus expansion is a top priority for many universities, but an expansion in square footage doesn’t always lead to increased maintenance staff. CBS allows your service maintenance team to work more efficiently.

Reduced Budget

Advances in system technologies and reductions in staff and budgets make HVAC facility maintenance a challenging task. When partnering with BuildingLogiX, you gain access to strategic energy management solutions that provide you with real-time reporting on potential system inefficiencies. Our solutions help you identify problems while they’re still minor, which allows you to increase productivity while reducing costs.

Benefits Provided by CBS

Our solutions are ideal for universities because they offer the following benefits.

Enhanced IT Security

Unlike other companies that offer their software as a service, allowing them to retain total control of your data, BuildingLogiX allows our clients to maintain control of their data.

Increased Cost Savings

Our solutions provide long-term cost savings by pinpointing your BAS’s inefficiencies, allowing you to repair minor issues before they develop into costly problems.

Longer Asset Life

Replacing HVAC and other energy equipment is expensive and time consuming. By implementing CBS and consistently addressing minor issues, you extend your system’s lifespan and minimize costly replacement projects.

Improve Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Universities face the added pressure of ensuring that the air in dorms and classrooms is safe for students. Our solutions include IAQ monitors that provide data on air quality in every room and alert you to which systems aren’t properly ventilating air.

Contact BuildingLogiX for an Assessment Today

BuildingLogiX has been enhancing building operations for various industries since 2006. We pride ourselves on helping our clients avoid wasteful utility spending by pointing out opportunities for system improvement. Contact us today if you’re interested in learning more about our strategic energy management solutions.