How to save 32 tonnes of CO2 in a year (without switching anything off) with PROActiv Energy
We turned our client’s ‘critical space’ building into an energy efficient smart building, with the help of PROActiv Energy. Find out how we achieved some truly impressive energy savings without needing to ‘switch anything off’.
Our client was on a mission to claw back energy savings. They wanted to be more efficient but due to the nature of their building, didn’t think significant savings would be possible. Operating what we refer to as a ‘critical space’, the client’s building has sensitive energy management requirements and runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Interestingly, our client’s concerns echo other critical space organisations we’ve spoken to. All too often, building operators believe sizable energy savings are only achieved through plant downtime, but that isn’t the case. The truth is, our clients can – and do – achieve extraordinary energy (and financial) savings without needing to ‘switch anything off’.
How did we help them?
The short answer? PROActiv Energy. What we offer, in terms of building energy management system (BEMS) support and PROActiv solutions, is sophisticated and complex. We showed our client how to ramp up their plant’s energy saving potential with PROActiv Energy and – more specifically – its advanced analytics functionality.
The client’s goals
With the UK Government’s net zero by 2050 target fast-approaching, we’re all feeling pressure to cut our carbon emissions. Our client is no different. They know the first step to achieving a net zero building is to maximise their energy efficiency.
With that in mind, our client’s end goals were essentially threefold:
- Reduce energy consumption, without affecting (or halting) plant operation.
- Save money.
- Find a slick new method of managing their plant.
What needed fixing
Before we got involved, the plant hadn’t been well maintained. We spotted many inefficiencies, including: sensor failure, fan coil unit (FCU) commissioning issues, an incorrect strategy and underperforming air handling units (AHU).
FCU – extreme setpoint
One brief example (without divulging too many trade secrets!) was an FCU. The space setpoint on the FCU wasn’t set appropriately. The description of operation advises a floating setpoint of between 20°C to 23°C. What we found, however, was a base setpoint of 24°C (see figure 1), which was too high.
Units with extreme setpoints are constantly heating/cooling and fight with other units in the area. This ultimately leads to increased energy usage. Altered setpoints can also indicate a problem with the operation of an FCU. That’s because users alter them inappropriately in a bid to compensate for underlying issues.
Energy or maintenance impact
This FCU setpoint issue caused excess heating energy usage. It also affected occupant comfort as the space was too warm.
Our recommendations for this particular issue
- Adjust setpoint to an appropriate value.
- Investigate possible heating/cooling issues that led to this extreme setpoint.
- Narrow setpoint adjustment limits on local controls and BEMS.
“Our client saw quick returns and huge improvements in the condition of their plant. Needless to say, they were thrilled with the results. They got the significant energy and cost reductions they were after, without having to turn the plant off.
Meanwhile, we proved that even in critical environments, our platform can be used to improve the performance, comfort and sustainability of buildings.”
– Youssef Ismail Searle, PROActiv Business Development Manager
For a high degree of accuracy and plant coverage, we integrated PROActiv Energy (our virtual engineer) into the client’s fully optimised BEMS. While your BEMS tells you if something hasn’t been achieved, PROActiv Energy tells you why and recommends effective solutions. All with little to no human intervention.
What does PROActiv Energy do?
With a bird’s eye view of the entire estate, this intelligent software absorbs huge amounts of data. It then processes, interrogates and makes sense of this granular data, so it can:
- Spot energy use patterns and saving opportunities.
- Advise new approaches.
- Create tasks and assign actions.
- Track progress.
- Generate actionable reports.
- Create ‘smart service’ plans that flag issues and rank them based on business impact, using various criteria (e.g. cost or maintenance urgency), allowing engineers to take a more targeted approach to maintenance.
What did we do for the client?
We implemented PROActiv Energy’s rule-based alert system (our ‘rule engine’) to ensure the client’s building systems were operating efficiently and reliably.
On a quarter-by-quarter basis, we analyse the consumption patterns of various plant equipment and services, identifying areas that need attention. This allows us to proactively predict failures and schedule maintenance before equipment breakdowns can occur, reducing downtime, energy costs and maintenance expenses.
After six months of maintenance works, we identified and resolved key issues with the client’s cooling and heating services. By analysing 73 pieces of equipment, we were able to:
- Save the client a whopping 54,814 kilowatt hours (kWh), equating to 18.5 tonnes of CO2
- Identify two more issues which, when resolved, will save the client a further 32,974 kWh or 11.57 tonnes of CO2
- Predict overall potential energy savings of 87,788 kWh or an impressive 32.93 tonnes of CO2
These predicted energy savings are equivalent to: