Performance-Based UESC Pilot for Unitary DX Equipment Maintenance
Michael West | Advantek Consulting
The use of the Utility Energy Savings Contract (UESC) vehicle allows Department of Defense (DoD) installations to partner with serving utilities for investments in energy-saving technologies that have demonstrated favorable energy reduction and cost effectiveness. This project will involve piloting performance based maintenance (PBM) to demonstrate its suitability as a regular energy conservation measure (ECM) for UESC application. Southern Company, a serving Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) utility, will participate in structuring and execution of a new servicing & tuning program for air conditioning systems in order to assess PBM as an effective component of UESCs.
Initially, CCAFS and UESC air-conditioning technicians will collect operational energy efficiency (IEER) values for each of 30 unitary direct expansion (DX) air conditioners to establish baseline energy usage and cost for UESC energy savings measurement & verification. For the remainder of the pilot project, the i-Optimize performance analyzer tool will be used for diagnosing & servicing the 30 units, allowing CCAFS and Southern Company heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians to implement service actions to maximize unit energy efficiency, as a standard procedure, and measure the resulting increase in energy efficiency and reduction in operating and maintenance costs.
The i-Optimize tool for evaluating and improving the operational energy efficiency of unitary DX equipment has been successfully demonstrated at three DoD sites in recently-completed Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) project ( EW-201338). This diagnostic analyzer will be deployed by UESC contractors at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) and Naval Ordnance Test Unit (NOTU) as a PBM tool for effecting optimal HVAC performance. The tool’s software uses clamp-on sensor data to quickly calculate an operational energy efficiency (IEER) measurement for any DX air conditioner. This highly advanced tool incorporates features developed to support performance based maintenance, including the following capabilities: (1) Extensive fault detection & diagnostics to spot issues that inexperienced technicians might not perceive as being problematic, helping to avoid potential future occupant complaints, component failures and reactive service calls; (2) Internet connectivity to support online technical support between highly experienced technicians, energy engineers, and field technicians, including screen sharing and data streaming; (3) Cloud database to support detailed documentation of the effect of service actions, degradation of unit performance, and comparative analysis of energy efficiency at the time of each service call.
With air conditioning accounting for approximately 31% of facility energy use, implementation of performance based maintenance has the potential to reduce DoD energy intensity by 4,000 Btu/GSF2 and energy costs by $160 million per year. The i-Optimize tool has been demonstrated to provide unprecedented insights into the maintenance of HVAC equipment on DoD installations. These insights offer an excellent opportunity for substantial reduction in HVAC energy use. Successful pilot of a UESC PBM program will encourage DoD facilities to consider new procedures, contracting and incentives for DX unit maintenance programs. Currently the lack of accepted diagnostic tools and PBM procedures make it difficult to justify and verify a PBM program on energy economics alone.