Jamestown Properties Saves with Energy Intelligence Software

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Purpose of the project

With such an express focus on energy efficiency, Jamestown is keen on having a detailed, consistent view into how their buildings are consuming energy. They rely on EnerNOC’s energy intelligence software (EIS) to give them real-time visibility and actionable summaries of their energy use. Access to real-time data helped Ed Bassford, Operations Manager at one of Jamestown Properties Class A commercial buildings in Washington DC, save thousands of dollars on a simple operational mistake.

Approach

Each morning, a report lands in the email inbox of Ed Bassdord, Operations Manager at one of Jamestown Properties' Class A buildings, that details his building’s energy consumption the day before through a simple, clear line graph. Plotted on that graph is a second line showing how much energy the building had used that same day last year. “I learned a lot about my buildings from looking at the software,” explained Bassford, who’s been using energy intelligence software for the past two years. Bassford spends a minute looking at the graph each morning. He now knows his building inside out, so just by looking at the previous day’s load curve he can determine right away if there’s something off about the usage pattern. If he wants even more detailed information about how his building used energy throughout the day, he can log into EnerNOC and zoom in to see usage in five-minute intervals. Which means if there’s an unexpected spike or dip in usage, he can easily figure out almost exactly the moment it began and how much excess energy was used before sending his facilities team to investigate.
Bassford and his savvy team are constantly improving the building’s operational efficiency, so having a year-to-date comparison at his fingertips every morning lets Bassford get an overall feel for whether their latest measure is actually reducing consumption and how much energy they’re saving. “Watching peaks, usage and start-ups helps a lot with improving our ENERGY STAR scores,” said Bassford.

Results

In January 2014, Bassford began noticing an energy spike around 1:00 a.m. every night. His building management system (BMS) wasn’t reporting any mechanical abnormalities, and his building seemed to be operating fine, but every evening the building’s load would drop from around 700 kilowatts (kW) to 200 kW, only to bounce back up to 350 kW in the middle of the night. Bassford’s only visibility into this, which Jamestown Properties was paying for on their monthly utility bills, was the energy intelligence software he used to monitor his building’s operations. To figure out where the wasted energy use emanated from, Bassford simply deployed a member of his facilities night staff to walk through the building around the time the energy spike was occurring. “It drove us to go in there at night and find out what was happening,” explained Bassford. “We do midnight inspections, but we do them quarterly. So this got us a couple months ahead of the curve.”
They discovered that the BMS optimal start strategy had a fault in the firmware, resulting in a six hour “optimal start” period to have the eighth floor at temperature in time for the 8:00 a.m. scheduled occupancy. Because this was a firmware issue, the BMS would never have registered it as an abnormality. To get that insight required real-time energy data. This simple operational fix has resulted in annual cost savings of $14,300.

“As building owners we are committed to doing more than keeping things running. We want to equip our building operators with added intelligence so that they can make educated decisions along the way that don’t sacrifice tenant comfort while using less energy.”