California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) recently received an Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practice Award at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference held in Santa Barbara, winning in the Monitoring-Based Commissioning (MBCx) category.
Committees comprised of impartial judges with expertise in relevant fields selected the awardees.
The conference highlighted cutting-edge research as well recognized case studies with proven success in curriculum development, operational programs and community partnerships. It was jointly organized by independent/private colleges, the CSU and UC systems and California community colleges.
CSULB’s recognition came as a result of its specific efforts in the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music's University Music Center. However, Paul Wingco, the campus’ energy and sustainability manager, also believes the award was, in part, recognition for work that was done on four additional buildings during the same time period.
“Getting this award did not surprise me because I knew all along which building had the big potential to save,” said Wingco, who has more than 30 years of combined experience in facilities operations and energy management. “I wanted all five buildings to get recognized because plenty of work and time went into each one. Unfortunately, they said they could only select one, but the music center certainly deserves it. It’s a really good recognition and I think in a sense it acknowledges the other buildings too. They are really recognizing the process.”
The other four buildings that went through a similar process were Engineering/Computer Science, the Steve and Nini Horn Center, Academic Services, and the Molecular and Life Sciences Center.
In August 2010, CSULB initiated MBCx in the five campus buildings, and during the next two years each went through the rigorous MBCx process before completion last September. At that time it resulted in an annual electrical savings of more than 670,000 kilowatts and a total associated cost avoidance of more than $80,000.
Among the five buildings within the scope of the project, the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music MBCx project stood out by achieving the most significant energy savings and improved building operation compared to baseline measures.
The campus hired EnerNOC, a leading provider of energy intelligence software, to perform a multi-phase investigation including pre-functional testing, functional testing and verification along with trend analysis performed using automated filters customized to the specific equipment types and sequences of operation.
"The EnerNOC project team worked diligently with our in-house staff through every step of the MBCx process,” said Wingco. “With the implementation of the EfficiencySMART application, we now have a system in place to identify energy efficiency measures and ensure energy savings are persistent. We also have a way to visualize savings and building performance. This is definitely a plus when trying to communicate our sustainability efforts to the campus community."
The measure identified in this project by EnerNOC included temperature sensor calibrations, damper repairs, replacement of inlet guide vanes with variable frequency drives, valve replacement, programing of chilled water valves, and economizer dampers to operate in sequence.
Energy savings were determined by comparing pre- and post-implementation project baselines, which were normalized for weather differences and then extrapolated to predict a year of energy use.
“EnerNOC went through with our facilities people there with them because a lot of times we had to operate the machinery while they did the observation,” said Wingco. “It’s just more time efficient to do it that way.
“Afterwards, they go over the findings with us and the corrections that were done,” he added. “They train us so that the building is operated with the corrections that were done and to make sure they are maintained over time. One of the deliverables of the project is a full comprehensive building manual which EnerNOC put together. So instead of having multiple locations for manuals on equipment that we have to maintain, it’s all in a single binder, accessible on the computer along with a hard copy as well.”
“Energy efficiency initiatives have clear benefits to both the environment and the bottom line, and it's heartening to see these California schools be recognized for their standout accomplishments in retrofits and MBCx,” said Tim Healy, chairman and CEO of EnerNOC. “We’re thrilled to be working with these campuses and others across the UC and CSU systems, and we congratulate them on this award.”
Though this was more of a pilot project, according to Wingco, it was considered very successful.
“We certainly learned things from here that can help us do additional projects in other buildings in the next fiscal year,” he said. “We’ll make some adjustments to make things more efficient and maybe make it more cost effective. We may shift a lot more of the scope of work for our in-house staff to do and then work with the provider and having them focus on the heavy duty analytics in analyzing energy data, performance data and things like that.”