The Architect of the Capitol's challenge is unique – maintaining aging, iconic buildings; adapting state-of-the-art technology; and increasing responsiveness to environmental, security and safety considerations in a rich historical setting. A building's lifetime environmental impact is dependent upon everyday operations and maintenance. The AOC and its team of experts have been successful at optimizing new equipment within the framework of its historic buildings to attain substantial energy and cost savings while balancing the preservation needs of the buildings.
Measure, Compare and Improve
A widely accepted management principle is “what gets measured is managed.” The AOC supports this principle and, in an effort to measure progress and continually improve, the AOC’s energy management program employs the following tools for enhanced performance monitoring and techniques:
Measure: Advanced Metering
Its advanced master meter program includes a metering system that monitors 15-minute intervals on all meters and feeds the data into the Utility Metering Enterprise System. This combination of field hardware to software provides a much more detailed and immediate profile for AOC energy managers and operations personnel to analyze trends, identify performance anomalies and track results. This data also supports the AOC’s Bill Verification System that analyzes and processes utility bills.
Compare: Modeling and Benchmarking Performance
As a result of data collected during energy audits and through the AOC’s meter database, the AOC has the ability to compare building performance against theoretical energy performance. Energy models provide a best-case energy usage, assuming systems within the building operate appropriately. Often these assumptions, when compared to energy model outputs, point out operating systems that are not functioning properly. This valuable information assists the AOC in targeting and prioritizing potential building system issues, repairs and/or upgrades.
Improve: Identifying Opportunities
Metering and benchmarking efforts provide the AOC with the data to understand the amount/type of energy used and potential opportunities for savings. The final step requires the AOC to develop an energy performance improvement goal based off of the data collected from the measurements and benchmarking.
Methods for achieving savings or driving towards a specific benchmark include:
- Funding energy conservation measures both as stand-alone projects or incorporated into larger facility efforts.
- Instituting a retro/re-commissioning program at the system performance level to focus on HVAC and control systems and strategies and provides recommendations in the form of Issues Logs and equipment-specific ECMs. The retro/re-commissioning programs bring the AOC’s energy systems back into alignment with appropriate benchmarks.
- Operational changes that can be addressed within a facility’s organization.
These efforts not only complement the previously completed energy audits, but also provide operations and maintenance personnel a detailed deficiency list for their immediate action.