Awash in upgrades, UCSB wrings out additional savings with monitoring
The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) is school to nearly 20,000 students and work to more than 9,000 faculty and staff. Originally a small, independent teacher's college, Santa Barbara joined the University of California system in 1944. Since that time UCSB has built many new facilities and renovated old ones. Johnson Controls has been helping the university implement energy saving technologies in those facilities for more than 25 years.
UCSB's recent focus on energy conservation was triggered by a state-funded energy study of its state-owned buildings. That study, conducted by Verle A. Williams and Associates, a San Diego-based energy efficiency consulting firm, identified more than $12 million worth of cost effective projects that, if implemented, could reduce utility costs by more than $2 million a year.
"The projects identified included a campus-wide lighting retrofit, modifications to laboratory hood and air-handler systems, control valve replacement, a new chiller and cooling tower, modifications to some air handlers, significant changes to many pumping and piping systems, a virtual central plant, and a campus-wide energy management system upgrade," said Verle Williams, principal of the consulting firm.
UCSB embarked on energy conservation initiatives as designed by the Williams firm to reduce energy consumption in the short-term while lessening the impact of future campus growth. "Initially, we needed to upgrade our communications with all buildings, adding more redundancy and greater flexibility between the facilities and their controls," said Ed Marini, design and construction project manager at UCSB. "We worked closely with campus maintenance and operations personnel to ensure that the projects we submitted were acceptable and that the revised systems could be operated effectively," added Williams.
With at least four generations of building control systems on campus, Johnson Controls worked closely with UCSB personnel to optimize those original technologies while gradually migrating to the newer Web-based Metasys® BMS. Today the new system is applied to the entire campus, encompassing more than 50 academic facilities and comprised of eight Network Integration Engines, 65 NCM Supervisory Controllers, and one Extended Applications and Data Server for monitoring and control.
"By taking advantage of the monitoring, control and integration capabilities of the Metasys system in our energy conservation programs, we have saved more than $26 million dollars in energy costs since 1997," said Jim Dewey, the UCSB campus energy manager.
Virtual Central Plant Leverages TechnologyBecause its buildings date back to World War II, only a few of the original UCSB facilities had cooling capabilities. These and other buildings constructed since then were equipped with standalone chillers and boilers. "No central utilities were established for these buildings. And many of the individual systems were over-engineered for the building or needed to be replaced," said Dewey. The energy inefficiencies that resulted from operating each of these facilities independently became the focus of a project that Williams dubbed the "virtual central plant."
The project involved installing a chilled water loop, which interconnected eight major buildings via underground piping. Once connected, all building systems operate at the same system pressure, allowing a single Trane CVHE centrifugal chiller and pump system to meet the cooling needs of any or all buildings on the loop.
"It is a very complex control and monitoring system that relies heavily on the Metasys system for control and information gathering to help us produce the right amount of chilled water when it is needed and maintain peak performance of all of the operating equipment," said Dewey.
He also noted that the $26 million overall savings represents a reduction of more than 30% in total electrical energy use and more than 32% in total natural gas use. The cost savings is also a result of energy procurement practices, tariff savings, and negotiated rates. "We know exactly how much gas and electricity we are using, and when. This enables us to shop our exact load profile and better negotiate buying rates," said Dewey.