Higher Ed Central Plant Retro-Commissioning Yields Big Benefits

About This Project

Funded by SCE’s Community College RCx Pilot Program, we conducted three retro-commissioning (RCx) studies which focused on efficient central plant operations at Citrus Community College yielding over $225,000 in annual energy savings and over $400,000 in utility incentives to offset project costs.

Focusing on Central Plant

We focused our efforts on efficient central plant operations for maximum energy savings. Changes in operations result in improvements to all buildings. Due to high energy use, prioritizing efforts means stronger paybacks. Also, gaining a greater understanding of operations informs future building investigations.

Phase 1

The first project addressed the site’s central utility plant which consists of two 600-ton chillers, a 7,200 ton-hour chilled water storage tank, and six 1.5 MMBtu/hr boilers. We identified numerous control deficiencies causing elevated energy consumption, and provided the technical specifications and revised control sequences necessary to design and build the new control system. The specifications provided design-level detail for all proposed control equipment.

Phase 2

The second project investigated five buildings on campus which the school identified as high priority buildings based on the age of the equipment and comfort complaints from occupants. Again, kW investigated the issues through review of trend data, EMS screens, and stand-alone data loggers, and identified significant opportunities to both reduce energy and also improve occupant comfort.

Phase 3

Due to the success of the first two projects, we continued with a 3rd round of RCx investigations, this time at 7 buildings on campus. The verification phase for the 3rd RCx project at Citrus is now on-going. The project identified numerous opportunities to save energy by improving scheduling, outside airflow, supply air temperatures, and static pressure set points. The project is now in the implementation phase, and kW Engineering is working with the college, the contractor, and SCE to ensure that the project is implemented as designed in order to capture maximum savings.

Construction Management

In addition to conducting the RCx investigations and verification tasks, we are providing construction management and commissioning services to ensure the projects are installed as designed and operating as intended. During the project implementation kW oversees the project schedule; reviews and approves contractor schedule of values and progress payments; manages and responds to RFI’s and change orders; and facilitates communication among all involved parties through regular status updates and construction meetings.

Annual Cost Savings

Over $225,000

Utility Incentives Received

Over $400,000

Overall Payback

3.8 years (Phase 1: 1.2 yrs, Phase 2: 4.3 yrs, Phase 3: 5.2 yrs)

Annual Energy Savings

Over 1.4 kWh million, 90 Peak kW, Over 40,000 therms

Case Studies, Commissioning, Higher Ed, Retro-Commissioning
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