SEG assists asset managers in addressing the financial impact of rising energy costs on properties in their portfolios. With solutions ranging from investment grade energy audits to retro commissioning existing assets, we develop cost effective solutions for a broad spectrum of real estate investments.
In essence, retro commissioning is a methodical process by which a third party evaluates and tests building mechanical systems to ensure that they are functioning as intended. The intention is to get the most out of existing equipment. This process is typically the most cost effective energy performance optimization process that building managers can implement. Specifically, retro commissioning is
• Articulating/verifying energy-related design intent
• Warranty enforcement
• Training operators
• Enhancing safety and risk management
Common problems that this process is designed to catch include over-sized equipment, mis-sized valves/dampers and chillers, unnecessary components, low-quality or clogged filters, construction debris blocking ventilation, overridden/stuck VFDs or economizers, specified equipment not installed, improper set points or control sequences, circuitous duct or piping runs, and bad or inaccurate sensors.
The outcomes of the retro commissioning process results in lower energy consumption, increased occupant comfort, lower maintenance costs, decreased liability and more effective risk management.
An energy audit is one tool used in the overall management of energy expenditures of a building. The management of energy expenditures considers four factors:
1) the energy needed to achieve the building function and maintain occupant comfort,
2) the maintenance and retrofit plan for the building,
3) reducing the unit cost of purchased energy and
4) reducing energy consumption.
The energy audit begins by identifying energy end uses and attempts to eliminate end use waste before considering efficiency gains in the primary equipment. For example, in a hot water heating system, end uses such as baseboard perimeter heaters, unit heaters, and heating coils in the ventilation air would be examined for energy savings before the boiler was examined for savings. Improvements made in energy end use may marginalize improvements in the primary equipment. The level of detail and the objectives vary between different energy audits.
Typically, once a scope of work has been developed based on an Investment Grade Energy Audit, SEG represents the owner to oversee the implementation. We work with a broad network of qualified contractors and conduct contractor bidding walk-throughs on behalf of owners and advise on contractor selection. Once a contractor has been selected, the owner contracts directly with the building contractor and SEG remains involved to ensure a high quality implementation of the proposed measures. This continuity and quality control is critical to meeting projected savings.
Using a variety of industry standard software tools and proprietary processes, SEG can model the energy performance of buildings. This is an important tool for developers and investors to understand the energy implications of a wide variety of variables including wall assemblies, building orientation, or mechanical systems. A tremendous benefit of energy modeling existing buildings is that once a building has been “built” in the software, it can be used over and over again to evaluate potential changes to the building to understand energy implications. After the “heavy lifting” of building the model is complete, evaluating proposed improvements can be done very quickly and easily.
Operations and Maintenance Manuals:
A site operations manual is a custom manual developed by our professionals to document the most efficient means of operating the site’s mechanical systems. In many cases, we have seen building operating efficiency eroded by uninformed operations procedures. This has led us to offer building operations manuals. This includes operating diagrams and instructions described in lay terms for your operators. In addition to informing current site operators, another substantial advantage of the manual is that it institutionalizes the site knowledge, thereby lessening the impact on energy efficiency of staff turnover and is available at any time to staff or service providers. This is delivered as a hard copy and electronically in Adobe PDF® format on CD.
Measurement and Verification of Energy Performance:
Each month, Strategic Energy Group would acquire the utility bills for each meter at each site, normalize the data for weather and other factors, and evaluate the property’s energy performance. The results would be reported to ownership on a quarterly basis. Also known as “Utility trending,” this service will help the building owner evaluate the long-term performance of the property from an energy perspective, and more importantly, identify issues with mechanical systems performance or resident behaviors that are negatively impacting energy performance.
Building Operator Training:
On-site training by our building energy professionals is designed to educate maintenance staff on operating your equipment in a safe, energy efficient manner. This education is customized to the equipment that is in operation at each site, and to the skills and concerns of your maintenance staff.