NC State’s campus contains millions of square feet of climate-controlled space. Inefficiencies in mechanical systems in these buildings are inevitable but pose detrimental costs in both energy consumption and occupant comfort.
The NC State Facilities Division Commissioning Team is dedicated to not only fixing these inefficiencies but also optimizing building performance for efficient and sustainable operation.
“Our primary goal has always been to make equipment work properly,” said commissioning engineer Michael Shelton. “The team challenges the old ideas of how the system is currently operating and instead finds a way to utilize that system in a more effective way.”
In 2019, the team was sent to investigate Engineering Buildings II and III. In these buildings, NC State Energy Management had identified gaps between expected and actual energy use.
When the team arrived, they began a thorough analysis of the buildings’ mechanical systems. They improved the performance of several major pieces of equipment, which optimized efficiency. Those changes, plus extensive HVAC system scheduling that matches actual occupant use, cut utility bills by 50% in one building and nearly 40% in the other building.
That’s one of the most immediate energy consumption impacts the Commissioning Team has created since its start in 2014. In total, the team has worked in 18 campus buildings and generated more than $6.6 million in documented utility savings.
Savings are maximized when the Commissioning Team completes its projects alongside the maintenance personnel who are responsible for day-to-day operations in a building. Equipped with new knowledge and recommendations, operations personnel are able to continue the savings for the long-term.
“We try to leave them with a better understanding of how their building is supposed to work so that it can be sustainable and keep the energy savings and efficiency going after we finish,” said technician Chris Young.
This post was originally published in Sustainability News.