Tag Archives: Energy conservation

No cookie-cutter formula for improving energy efficiency at health facilities

Deanna Fourt, Director of Energy Efficiency and Conservation for Island Health

Deanna Fourt, Director of Energy Efficiency and Conservation for Island Health, enjoys the new ER in Nanaimo where they have implemented Solar shades, a dispersement ventilation vent, B.C. wood first ceilings, low density lighting, and a natural light courtyard.
Photograph by: Lance Sullivan , Special to The vancouver sun

In most facilities, changing a lightbulb is a pretty simple task. But in a hospital, even minor tasks can be complicated.

“Trying to change a light bulb in a hospital is not trivial when you’re talking about infection control challenges and patient impact,” Jeff Whitson says. “In a simple office building, you don’t have the same challenges. That’s what I love about what I do. In a hospital setting, improving energy efficiency isn’t as simple as you might think.”

Whitson is the Key Account Manager for the health sector in B.C. It’s his job to help provincial health authorities who are part of the BC Hydro Power Smart Partner Program maximize the energy efficiency of their facilities.

“Every authority and facility is different and unique,” he says. “There’s no cookie-cutter formula.”

Through their partnership with BC Hydro, health authorities commit to devising a long-range Strategic Energy Management Plan. An Energy Manager helps the organization meet its goals.

Whitson talks to his energy managers “every single day,” he says, as part of ongoing collaborations on existing projects and identify new opportunities.

“We always have a running project list of good ideas in each health authority,” Whitson says.

Those ideas might come from the Energy Manager, the nurses, or any member of the employee base. “We have a good methodology to get those good ideas on paper. Then we strategize which ones we’re going to move forward with and those we’re going to park for a while.” At any given time, he might have anywhere from 50-75 projects going across the province. “There’s lots of project management involved in what I do, and lots of follow-up discussions on project status.”

Whitson estimates that more than 50 percent of those projects are based around upgrades or changes to lighting (infrastructure and controls) and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning).

“They can be small lighting retrofits to more complicated equipment replacements,” he says.

Many of the hospitals in the province are decades-old, and face the problem of aging infrastructure. A Strategic Energy Management Plan can help.

“A lot of these hospitals have been around a very long time,” Whitson says. “Equipment breaks down and they have to upgrade. And budgets are challenging – there’s lots of pressure on balancing the budget. Most hospitals don’t get a lot of capital to improve existing infrastructure.”

Which is where he comes in. “The partnership with BC Hydro works really well. If I can work with the health authorities to provide part of the funding, it makes those projects a lot easier to implement.”

BC Hydro Power Smart Partner Program incentives aren’t restricted to older facilities. New builds, like the recently opened pediatric emergency department at Surrey Memorial Hospital, can go through the BC Hydro New Construction program.

“We’ll do detailed energy modeling, just to make sure we encouraged the developers and the authorities to make the building as energy efficient as possible,” Whitson says. “We try to squeeze as much energy out of the building before it’s even built.”

As part of its overall Power Smart Partner Program, BC Hydro highlights organizations that are leaders in their sectors. To reach this level, “executive support and engagement from the senior levels down” is vital, he says.

“If you don’t have that you don’t get very far.”

A Strategic Energy Management Plan that outlines a strategy and implements elements every year needs to be in place as well. And “you have to have employee engagement, with all the employees going in the same direction,” Whitson says.

The Leadership in the BC Health Authorities continues to support BC Hydro’s Workplace Conservation Awareness program. This program engages and encourages all employees to share energy saving ideas that help to reduce unnecessary electrical consumption in Healthcare. “It is a critical component to our overall strategy for energy savings and often low cost or no cost to implement.”

We have had some amazing success by engaging staff in and it continues to build momentum across all different environments.”

The BC Hydro Power Smart Partner Program helps large businesses across British Columbia make energy efficient changes to their organizations that will create financial savings and change behaviors towards energy use. “The end objective of the partnership is to embed energy efficiency as part of the organization’s ongoing culture,” says Power Smart Partner Program Manager Paul Seo. 

In this series, we’ll look at how the Power Smart Partner Program is teaming up with these sectors to make a difference in their approach towards energy conservation.

Incorporate lighting controls with BAS to save energy- Part 1

Incorporating daylighting and lighting controls with a building automation system can result in energy savings.

Learning objectives

  1. Understand the benefits of incorporating lighting, daylighting, and building automation systems.
  2. Know the codes and standards that govern lighting and daylighting.
  3. Learn to gather and analyze data from an automation system.

Continue reading

VFD bypasses and backups: Which should you use?

VFD bypasses and backups: Which should you use?

Advanced motor protection and consistent energy savings are possible, with true redundancy.

By: Tommy Trullinger, Franklin Control Systems

Learning objectives

1. Learn the differences between traditional solutions to VFD failure and newer methodologies, and the pros and cons of each.

2. Describe a simple selection process to ensure the application is properly protected and backed up in the most economical way.


Originally introduced as an efficient and effective way to reduce energy consumption by allowing motors to be run at different speeds, variable frequency drives (VFDs) have become commonplace in the HVAC industry. While there is no question that VFD technology helps save energy, unfortunately it was somewhat unreliable in the early years. The VFD bypass was introduced to ease concerns around reliability, and it played a significant role in the rise of VFD usage.

A traditional mechanical bypass acts as a backup system to ensure equipment stays operational when or if a VFD fails. A bypass is essentially a motor starter that is built into (around) the VFD to maintain full voltage (across the line) control of the application. The backup allows the application to run at full speed until the problem with the VFD can be addressed.

The bypass, along with the VFD, have become staples of the typical HVAC configuration, and over the years have made their way into almost all consulting engineers’ specifications. The problem is that the majority of specifications today still hang on to the idea that bypasses are always needed. VFDs, like most electronics, have improved dramatically since they were first invented. They’re more reliable now and have extremely low failure rates. They’re also much more compact and economical than in years past.

Recently, VFD manufacturers have developed new and improved bypasses, as well as motor drive packages with full redundant capabilities. Opinions abound about which backup or bypass should be used for various HVAC applications, but there are few guides that provide a definitive answer. To better understand the selection process, it’s important to first look at the pros and cons of the various bypasses and backups available.

Traditional bypass

A traditional bypass consists of a separate motor starter, mechanically interlocked with its

3 Phase Power

3 Phase Power

companion VFD output contactor in a way that allows only the VFD or the bypass to operate the motor at any given time. Most traditional bypasses default to “manual” operation to engage the bypass. In other words, someone must manually turn on the bypass in the event that the VFD fails. A VFD fault relay can be used to start the bypass automatically based on a VFD fault, but only if the VFD is not damaged. Traditional bypasses are also available in 2- or 3-contactor variations. A 3-contactor bypass (Figure 1) introduces an additional contactor or a VFD isolation switch that disconnects the VFD from power supply. This enables an electrician to completely remove the VFD while the application is running in bypass mode. However, this is not recommended as it sets up the electrician to work in close proximity to high-voltage wiring. A 2-contactor bypass is sufficient for most applications requiring a bypass and does not provide a complete VFD isolation. Also keep in mind that local codes may restrict the actual configuration. Common features of a traditional bypass include:

  • Available in 2- or 3-contactor variations
  • Disconnect is typically integral
  • Hand, Off, Auto switch for VFD and bypass
  • VFD/Off/Bypass switch
  • Manual bypass standard (auto relay available)
  • Thermal overload protection.

The traditional bypass is readily available. Other advantages are that it is inexpensive in comparison to other backups, allows for building automation system (BAS) control, and is extremely reliable. On the downside, a traditional bypass offers no advanced motor protection, needs relays for automatic control, and has no soft start capability. Communication to BAS is limited, communicating status/fault only. All energy savings is lost and consumption is not monitored in bypass mode. Finally, the traditional bypass offers 60Hz operation only…

Electronic bypass (smart bypass)

3 Phase Power

3 Phase Power

The electronic bypass was recently introduced to address a number of concerns with built-in logic and advanced motor protection. This microprocessor-based bypass (Figure 2) offers advanced features such as protection from phase loss, ground fault, over/undervoltage, and over/under power. These protection features go far beyond what a traditional thermal overload provides. Electronic bypasses also typically include a provision for BAS to communicate directly to the bypass in the event of VFD failure. This should be coordinated with BAS software manufacturer. The electronic bypass allows users to select certain conditions in which they want the bypass to start automatically, and incorporates other features that traditionally would only be supported by the VFD (fault logging, delays, etc.). There are also electronic bypasses on the market that integrate full ANSI grade power metering, and BACnet or other communications interfaces to allow for seamless control and communications whether in VFD or bypass mode. Common features of an electronic bypass include:

  • Keypad with LED indication
  • Communication card
  • Advanced motor protection
  • Common start/stop terminals
  • Fireman’s override
  • Bypass fault logging
  • Selectable auto bypass
  • Power failure modes.

On the positive side, electronic bypasses offer features such as advanced motor protection, BAS communications, logic to assist with troubleshooting, flexible control features, and compact physical size. But these bypasses come at a higher cost. They also lack soft start capabilities and motor speed control in bypass (60Hz only).

Redundant drives

3 Phase Power

3 Phase Power

Redundant VFDs are the logical next step in control for critical applications (Figure 3). They work on the principle that if one VFD fails, full control and protection are maintained by a second VFD that automatically takes over. Redundant VFDs are not a new concept; the idea has been around for years, but only recently has this concept become cost-effective. With the VFD market becoming more and more competitive, it’s only a matter of time before bypasses fade away as a viable choice, and dual VFD systems become the standard for critical applications. Most VFD manufacturers offer some type of packaged redundant drive systems as part of their custom offering. This means they must be approached on a “job-by-job” basis.

It’s important to understand that these packages require a level of customization because they consist of more than just two VFDs. To maintain true redundancy, extra power and control circuitry must be added. The standby VFD must be isolated from power while the primary VFD is running to ensure both primary and backup VFDs aren’t damaged in the event of a power surge or spike. To isolate the VFDs, mechanically interlocked input contactors should be added. Provisions must also be made to ensure that the backup VFD doesn’t sit for extended periods without being periodically powered up. VFD DC bus capacitors have a shelf life and can degrade without periodic charge cycles. The control system should provide scheduled alternation or charge cycles for standby VFD. The downside of the added power and control components is unfortunately an additional cost.

Pros of redundant VFDs include full redundancy, full control with backup VFD, and advanced motor protection all the time. They provide consistent energy savings. (VFD operation is maintained even when one fails.) However, they are more expensive than traditional and electronic bypasses and have a larger footprint.

Continue reading

Energy Manager

 

Measure Utilities

Trends

Of course your goal is to conserve energy. However measuring your savings from individual sources can be challenging. With the Curator software suite, you can track, estimate, and compare your energy conservation efforts with previous periods. Compare performance between years, months, weeks, days, or even by the hour through any period, or baseline, of your choosing. Receive Copppertree insights directly on your mobile device when your current energy consumption exceeds expectation.

Bill Management

Tracking your utilities is the first component of an effective energy management strategy. Coppertree’s Curator software provides you with an easy way to organize your utility bills. Import CSV data from historical sources, enter your bills manually, and insert manual readings for comparison. Input vendor information to fully customize your local rate structure. Add physical sub meters to your data gathering engine for tenant billing or create virtual meters from mechanical system data for complete energy monitoring of every component.

Compare Readings

Do you measure utilities manually? You no longer have to wonder whether your energy provider miscalculated your bill, or whether your meter requires calibration because Curator allows you to compare manual readings to the automated data that you receive from your Building Automation System. Add the comparison to your reports through downloadable visuals and tables.

Conserve Energy

Baselines

How can you set energy conservation targets if you don’t know what you are comparing with? Comparing with a previous period or last year is good, but not the best solution. The Curator software suite provides the best, with the tools that allow you to create custom baselines for your facility in compliance with the IPMVP protocol (Option C). Evaluate and report on the energy consumption of your facilities in real-time, and compare these to your baseline to have an instantaneous measure of energy retrofit performance.

Carbon Accounting

Stakeholders have carbon-reduction goals and the general public expects annual sustainability reports from you. Impress your colleagues in management and public relations by showing them yearly, monthly, daily, weekly, or even hourly carbon emission info associated with real-time energy use. All that is required is a simple setup and Curator automatically translates energy usage into quantifiable, and reportable, greenhouse gas emissions.

Instant Notification

It is hard to know exactly when your energy will surpass peak demand and accrue additional charges. It is also hard to detect faulty pieces of equipment leading to overconsumption of energy. Curator provides customizable insights sent instantly to your computer or mobile device whenever energy conservation is being compromised, allowing you to take action the instant problems occur.

Demonstrate ROI

Reports

You are in charge of communicating ROI to your stakeholders and it isn’t always easy. We know it can take hours to create a report so Curator allows you to easily view, gather, and collect the data you need for reporting though Coppertree’s automated reporting tool. Create reports showing instantaneous savings and monthly summaries. Compare with other buildings and baselines, and send these reports automatically to stakeholders. Build exactly the report you need to easily illustrate your building’s ongoing efficiencies.

Dashboards

Curator puts you in charge by allowing you to fully customize your energy dashboard. Keep tabs on specific departments, buildings, or meters and visually compare them with the baselines you define. You are in control and can determine which information is important to you. After you decide on the information to be shown, share the dashboard with building occupants so you can educate your colleagues, show stakeholders ROI using live data, or present the dashboard during presentations and conferences with your clients.

Rate of Return

See the impact on your budget and cash-flow to determine the net present value and ROI to verify whether you are making sound investment. Curator’s built-in rate of return calculation tool allows you to have easy access to all the energy, cost, and savings data in one place to help you with decision making regarding equipment upgrades, retrofitting projects, or any other energy improvement initiatives.

The Delta Controls Difference

We have been partnering with Delta Controls since the early 90’s to provide tailored and custom solutions for your building of facilities. We wanted to take a few moments to highlight: …how Delta Controls isn’t just another controls company.

THE DELTA DIFFERENCE

delta_2255w
Delta Controls is the benchmark for controls manufacturers being one of the most respected organizations in our industry. The integrity, reliability, innovation and track record of Delta Controls differentiates us from the crowd. End-Users build their infrastructure around Delta Controls products, our Partner organizations and Delta Controls innovation. At the root of all this success is our people. They use technology to create products that are simple, yet powerful enough to inspire integration upon which infrastructures and businesses to be built. Delta Controls takes an ethical and long-term view to business and to relationships. We strive to continue to be the benchmark, to do it right and do the right thing by our customers, partners, employees and the environment we live in. This stance builds relationships, creates open partnerships and embraces open technologies, allowing freedom of choice to both end-users and partners alike.

DO IT RIGHT

delta_2183w

At Delta Controls, the mantra Do It Right is the “how”. It is how we design, manufacture and support our products. It is how we serve our customers. It is how we treat our employees, partners and vendors. And it is how we view business in general and respect the planet we live on.

The company was founded by two partners, who sought a better way of doing business. More than 3 decades ago, they built their own product range, to ensure a customer’s needs were met when others had walked away. This same attitude inspired Delta to take and maintain its leading role in the development of the open BACnet protocol, as well as create the most robust line of BACnet products in the industry.
Everybody at Delta Controls knows what Do It Right means to them. Do It Right is a badge that employees wear with pride. It is a culture upon which innovation is created, businesses are built and long-term relationships are formed.

EARTHRIGHT SUSTAINABILITY

Our world is changing. The availability of our natural resources is being threatened. The conservation of energy is key to our future as the costs of supply rise each day. One company has consistently cared about our changing world. Not just in what it produces, but the way it conducts its business.
Long before creating Delta Controls, its co-founders realized the importance of saving energy. As consultants during the energy crisis of the 1970s, they conducted audits to help buildings save energy and money. Seeing a market need for products, they developed them, installed them, and reduced energy costs by up to 60% in customer’s buildings. Since 1980, they have been doing much the same thing the world over under the banner of Delta Controls.
Today, Delta Controls continues that philosophy. Our Earthright product features, Energy Dashboards and Apps to help customers reduce energy consumption. Our low carbon footprint HQ has natural ventilation, natural lighting and ground source heat pumps including 84 wells under the parking lot. We recycle all possible materials from our manufacturing facility and even our product packaging has green credentials. All our staff is encouraged to stay fit and healthy (using our gym and various evening classes). And everyone joins in the many charitable functions that make a contribution to making the world a better place.
Our environment is beautiful. Our energy resource is precious and it’s our responsibility to help it stay that way. Do it right with a green, responsible company producing energy saving solutions… an organization business leaders worldwide are proud to partner with.

FREEDOM OF CHOICE

delta_2526w

Delta Controls believes that building owners and managers should be able to use the best technology for their buildings, no matter where it’s produced. This is why we have been on the leading edge of developing the open BACnet protocol from the beginning.
Delta Controls gives you the freedom to integrate. Whether you’re overseeing a small office building or a large university campus, you can control all your building functions—HVAC, lighting, access, CCTV and more. Delta Controls designed the first native BACnet access control and lighting system. Delta can seamlessly integrate systems from different manufacturers so that they talk to one another. With a BACnet system you’re not held captive by a proprietary system and are free to choose the best technology available that meets your particular requirements and budgets.
We believe that customers should be free to choose the product they wish rather than be handcuffed to a single manufacturer’s product offerings. BACnet Open Protocol systems give you this freedom of choice. At Delta Controls we have a world-wide network of Partner organizations that can serve you locally and understand your building and the application required to make your control system a success.

DELIVERING REDUCED COSTS

delta_2347w

An integrated system, across HVAC, access control, lighting, CCTV etc saves you money. During installation, the number of networks can be reduced. The amount of project coordination, training, documentation and other duplicated effort is less.
Integrated systems have lower life cycle costs. Access control and occupancy detection can help reduce energy consumption. System maintenance routines can be reduced through cooperation between different customer departments. An understanding of a building’s processes will allow the Delta Controls Partner to create an efficient and thus economical system for end-users.
A choice of Partner promotes value for money to the customer. A good local relationship allows your chosen Partner organization to apply our flexible programming language and a wide range of HMI such as our 7” touch screen to suit the needs of your building.
Finally, our products last. Proven to be reliable and protect a client’s investment over the years. The Delta Controls system is scalable and flexible and will grow as your organization grows.

If you would like to learn more please visit: Delta Controls here or contact a Setpoint Systems Corporation Account manager here to talk about tailored solutions for your facility or building.