The following case studies illustrate the energy savings and financial impact of energy efficiency projects.
Advances in lighting technology have allowed dramatic reductions in energy consumption while maintaining the same light levels. These advances include more efficient fluorescent lighting, LED-based lighting, integrated controls, etc.
With the reduction in lighting costs, many lighting upgrades have simple paybacks of under 1 year when utilizing utility incentives.
HVAC Equipment Variable Frequency Drivers (VFDs)
A 40-story office building in downtown Pittsburgh recently completed a project to add Variable Frequency Drives(VFDs) to a portion of their HVAC system motors.
VFDs work in conjunction with a control system to change the speed of the motors to match the operational needs. For example, in HVAC systems, VFDs on fans save energy by allowing the volume of air moved to match the system demand.
By leveraging utility incentives, this facility was able to reduce the simple payback to less than 6 months for this project.
Garage Exhaust Fan VFDs
An office building in downtown Pittsburgh recently completed a project to add Carbon Monoxide (CO) sensors to Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) that control the exhaust fans in the attached parking garage. These CO sensors monitor the levels of carbon monoxide in the garage, causing the VFDs to ramp up or down the exhaust fan speeds to maintain sufficient outside air as required by International Code.
Based on over 13 years worth of studies on similar systems, California utilities have determined that the addition of CO-based controls reduces a typical parking garage exhaust fan energy consumption to only 5% of the full load. This project conservatively estimated consumption at 25% of the full load consumption (i.e., 75% savings).
Water Treatment Plant Upgrade
A western Pennsylvania public water utility’s operations made investments to ensure compliance with new EPA drinking water standards, to improve public safety, and to reduce operating costs. These investments include significant upgrades to a major pumping station and treatment plant.
The pumping station has been a part of the community’s landscape for more than a century, providing a critical role in the delivery of drinking water service to area communities. After decades of quality service, the pumping station was replaced in 2012.
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