The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California is a research facility funded federally through NASA. As such, it must comply with aggressive energy reduction mandates. P2S was contracted by Honeywell Building Solutions to help identify and implement energy savings measures (ECM’s) for JPL using the ESCO project delivery method. The scope of services for this phase of work included energy modeling, data collection and energy saving calculations to determine feasibility of the ECM’s for 24 select buildings.
This large scale energy conservation project required careful upfront planning to determine the most cost effective methods for information collection and energy savings calculations. Three of the most interesting challenges P2S faced included:
- Installing and calibrating metering equipment in multiple buildings required close coordination with supporting piping and controls contractors
- Creating building energy models with limited access to as-built drawings
- Extensive field research and building walk-throughs were required to gather sufficient data
- Completing analysis of buildings under a very tight schedule—approximately two buildings and more than 5 ECM’s per week
The extraordinary efforts of the P2S project team combined with the support of all project stakeholders contributed to successfully overcoming these challenges.
This project required P2S to provide as accurate estimates of energy savings as possible while meeting project budget and schedule restraints. P2S engineers evaluated many different systems including chilled water and heating hot water systems, solar domestic hot water heating systems, humidification systems, equipment replacement including chillers and boilers and controls systems including both system level and zone controls. In addition, most system control sequences proposed for modification included demand control algorithms. In total, over P2S reviewed and provided detailed calculations for 80 potential ECMs.
To achieve project goals for a project of this scope, P2S teams had to adapt and find creative solutions to keep the project on track, especially when essential information was either unavailable or delayed:
When record drawings took too long to receive and presented risk to the project schedule, P2S engineers responded by “setting up shop” at the client site to gather drawing information
The creative problem solving and field commissioning experience of the project engineers saved tens of thousands of dollars in flow meter rental costs by implementing alternate differential pressure measurement and calibration techniques
P2S continuously evaluated ECM feasibility so the team was not “stuck” on a set list of predetermined ECM’s. Focus was directed towards new opportunities in order to create the most financially desirable list of potential savings. Only the most experienced and insightful energy engineers can make such adjustments “on the fly.”
As this project nears completion, we anticipate that more than 50 ECMs are financially viable and will move forward to design and implementation phases. Total payback is anticipated to be less than nine years, including several chiller replacements. Major capital equipment replacements are typically not possible in an ESCO project relying on equipment efficiency alone. P2S’s knowledge of advanced controls sequences, along with the ability to calculate its savings potential, helped qualify these projects as feasible.
Even more important than qualifying a list of projects is P2S’s integrity to honestly report and disqualify previously hopeful ECMs. Examples in this project included disqualifying all the humidification system ECMs. It is our responsibility limit risk for our clients and never make questionable ECMs look attractive when they clearly won’t deliver adequate savings.
In addition to qualifying a long list of ECMs suitable for implementation, this project also helped identify those ECMs that will contribute LEED EB points for one of the buildings.