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BEMS Reduces Energy Costs for Manhattan Building

A Manhattan, New York, building at 630 Ninth Ave. drastically reduced energy costs and continues to save money after installing a controller that uses both outdoor and indoor sensors to cycle the boiler more efficiently and control the indoor temperature.

US Energy Group’s USE Controller BEMS was programmed to keep the building at exactly 72°F, however, it soon became clear that the building was severely imbalanced. The previous timing device that had been in the building was unable to detect this because it simply overheated the entire building, making the coolest parts warm enough. Of course, this older system was wasting a tremendous amount of fuel.

The first step was to conduct a systematic plan to evaluate the heating system and improve the balance of the building. Working with Ace-Atlas Corp., the radiator supply lines were re-pitched; defective steam traps in the basement were replaced; boiler “header” assemblies were re-piped in accordance with the most effective engineering practices and manufacturer specifications; the return lines were re-routed to eliminate water traps; and a remote condensate tank was installed to help “bleed” off a section of the building. Indoor sensors were also moved to help diagnose areas of the building that were overheated and areas that were under-heated. Each step improved the building and also highlighted the need to take the next step.

The first heating season was a challenge because the building had been severely out of balance and there were isolated areas of the building that had to be addressed. But, as each step was taken, the building improved and soon turned around. The boiler run-time decreased, the temperature stabilized, and the building came into balance.

The savings was significant. During the first heating season, the building obtained an 11% savings in oil consumption (58,923 gal reduced to 52,642 gal). The second heating season produced even better results, as the imbalance had been addressed. During the second heating season, an additional 17.46% savings in oil consumption (43,453 gal) was reached. This represented a 26.25% savings when compared to the last heating season prior to the installation of the USE Controller BEMS. Additionally, gallons per degree day decreased from 11.78 to 8.14 in those two years. This is a savings of 30.9%, or $78,293.46. The total operating budget of the building was $3 million (including payroll), and this represents a 1.75% savings of the total operating budget.

Saving fuel is essential, but there have also been other beneficial improvements. First, overall energy costs in the building are lower. Additionally, as a result of the proactive steps mentioned above, the repairs to the heating system, including the boiler/burner units has decreased.

Of course, once a building is brought into balance, it is essential to compare trends and monitor the ongoing process. The USE Controller BEMS is used daily to provide alerts for key building issues, such as high stack temperature and unusually long runtimes. The management of the building can then investigate these, proactively addressing any issues before they become problems.

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