Expedia developed 40 acres of Seattle’s Elliot Bay waterfront for their 3-story, one million-plus sqft corporate headquarter to meet their growing business needs. The facility was designed with sustainability in mind and has obtained LEED Gold, Salmon-Safe, and Sites V2 Gold certifications. ATS provided the facility with an integrated Alerton building automation system that gives the facility operators campus-wide control of the CUP, boilers, chillers, electrical metering, and much more.
ATS provided a complete Alerton building management system for Alaska Air Group’s new 128,000 square-foot Hub facility. Located across the street from Alaska Air Group’s corporate headquarters in Seatac, WA, the Hub provides additional office space for employees and a company merchandise store.
ATS partnered with McKinstry as part of the mechanical design-build team, providing preconstruction services such as evaluating mechanical systems and identifying opportunities for value engineering. Evaluating mechanical systems before control design allowed for lower-cost control system installation and provided options to choose the most effective means of delivering value to the development team.
Aside from preconstruction activities, ATS provided control and monitoring of the facility’s DOAS units and other heating and cooling systems. ATS also provides facility analytics, electrical metering, and critical alarm generation.
The Spheres located in downtown Seattle, WA provide a direct link to nature within an office setting. Consisting of three intersecting spherical domes the facility combines working and meeting space with plants from the cloud forest region of over 30 countries.
ATS provided an integrated building automation system featuring Alerton Controls coupled with Aircuity for monitoring of air quality, temperature, humidity, and ventilation control. These integrated systems control the facility’s office and retail spaces and keep more than 40,000 plants from around the world alive and thriving by maintaining an ideal climate. Other system integrations on this project include lighting, plant watering, and electrical meters.
Bellevue School District Modernization Plan
Starting in 2002, the Bellevue School District (BSD) began replacing and updating schools that no longer met the needs of their growing community. BSD’s goal with each new school is to exceed energy design requirements as defined by the 2012 International Energy Code. As of 2018, BSD has replaced 18 schools with state of the art facilities that incorporate the latest educational designs and technology to ensure students and teachers have an ideal learning environment. By making each new school as energy efficient as possible, BSD is ensuring they are maximizing their capital dollars which will allow them to make the best use of their general funds. In 2015, as part of the ongoing modernization projects, Enatai Elementary was demolished to make way for an updated facility that will host elementary students well into the future.
Unified Lighting and HVAC Control
BSD is determined to improve upon school designs with each facility replacement. When planning for the new Enatai, BSD decided their next improvement would be to house as many of their controlled systems under one platform as possible. Having worked with ATS Automation for many years, BSD was familiar with the environmental controls provided by the Alerton building management system (BMS) from their other schools. Once ATS demonstrated that they could efficiently control the HVAC equipment and also incorporate all the lighting into the same BMS, BSD chose ATS to provide the HVAC and lighting controls for the Enatai facility. By selecting one vendor, staff at Enatai have access to ATS’ expertise for both HVAC and lighting during the original installation and for long-term service. Now Enatai has one point of contact when it comes to the controls for their school — simplifying maintenance and operations.
To integrate HVAC and lighting, ATS designed a system utilizing Alerton’s Compass BMS and Blue Ridge Technologies’ (BRT) lighting control platform. Alerton and BRT combined provide integrated lighting control without the use of proprietary gateways. Utilizing BACnet, BRT controllers are easily added to the Alerton BMS without needing any integration device. This solution allows BSD operators to use the same schedules for both HVAC equipment and lighting without the need to duplicate work in a separate lighting interface. ATS programmed a global schedule for lighting at Enatai in conjunction with BRT monitoring classrooms and common areas using occupancy sensors and photo cells. The sensors are used for daylight harvesting and turnoff or dim lighting according to lumen levels and whether the area is occupied or not. Classroom lighting control features a traditional on/off switch in the front of all classrooms, as well as a separate adjustment panel near the teachers’ desks.
Impact on Energy & Operations
By combining environmental and lighting controls, BSD has ensured that their high efficiency designs and equipment will continue to save the school money throughout the life of the building. “The strategy is that on day one the facility is already saving on utility bills,” said Jeff Tweeten, HVAC/Utilities Control Specialist for the Bellevue School District, “by saving on day one, the measured benefits are all about the efficiencies that directly impact the learning environment.” With integrated lighting, Jeff and his team can focus on what really matters — ensuring the learning environment is optimal for both students and teachers.
The new Enatai Elementary nearly doubled the size of the original school to 87,500 square feet. The school opened to the public in September of 2016 with over 500 students attending class during the academic year. The school also received $135,013 in utility incentives by Puget Sound Energy (PSE) for exceeding local energy code efficiency requirements and standard practices during construction.
In addition to lighting and environmental controls, the new Enatai elementary school features other energy efficient technology, such as geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels, heat recovery, AstroTurf, solar hot water loop and high efficiency sequences for mechanical equipment. Utilizing solar panels, Enatai recovers approximately 90,000 kWh per year. This harvested energy covers the majority of the school’s lighting cost for the year. Enatai’s energy use index (EUI) was also significantly improved from the previous facility. The school’s combined electric and natural gas EUI is currently 17 and is expected to decrease as system tuning continues. The national median source EUI for K-12 schools is 141. ATS, along with Alerton and BRT, help Enatai maintain optimal performance with rock solid building controls and sequences, along with occupancy-based lighting usage and daylight harvesting.
For additional details read the entire case study detailing the work performed at Enatai Elementary.
Cooling the Data Center
Located in central Washington state, Wenatchee is known for its apples, wide-open spaces, and its abundance of activities for outdoor recreation. The area is also well suited for locating mission critical data centers. The vast open landscapes, mild dry climate, and low power rate from hydropower attract many high-tech firms needing to locate off-site data centers. The mild climate allows for “free cooling” by utilizing air-side economizers to cool the data center with outside air instead of mechanical cooling for much of the year. However, this “free cooling” only works when data center sequences and safeguards allow the equipment to utilize it.
Facility staff at an international communication company’s Wenatchee data center realized they were not taking advantage of “free cooling” strategies once they began reviewing data from the ATS facilityCARE ongoing commissioning and advanced analytics service.
ATS installed the control system at the data center in 2008 utilizing the sequences specified during construction. The original sequences focused on loading the plant and letting it run, which resulted in chillers operating more hours than needed. In addition, over time, system modifications and one-off changes created conflicting overrides of the economizers. As a result, the economizers were not open during times with optimal “free cooling” conditions. The facility was not fully utilizing outside air for cooling, resulting in increased utility cost and unneeded equipment runtime.
Free Cooling Enabled
In 2015 ATS implemented facilityCARE, an ongoing commissioning and advanced analytics service to track equipment usage and highlight opportunities for operational improvement at the data center. SkySpark (www.skyfoundry.com) is used in the ongoing ATS facilityCARE service that includes monthly reviews and analysis by ATS engineers. As part of a facilityCARE review, ATS verified what facility operators had long suspected — the economizers were not functioning optimally. Using historical site data, ATS developed an estimate of savings based on the requirement that the facility use outside air for cooling when available. With data to back up the proposed changes, ATS was contracted to implement an energy conservation measure (ECM) to modify the economizer sequences so they function when outside air conditions are optimal for cooling. Without the facilityCARE service, this issue may have gone unaddressed since the plant appeared to be operating smoothly, experiencing no temperature issues and the facility engineers were focused on more immediate concerns.
Air-Side Economizer Savings
ATS implemented the updated economizer sequences in the fall of 2017. Now that the sequences are in place the data center has seen impressive savings over the first two months of operation. Over December 2017 and January 2018, the data center saw $22,500 in avoided cost for their data halls. Utilizing a baseline for comparison, the data center is expected to see a 24% reduction or 5.2 million kWh usage drop. The facility is also expected to save $137,000 in avoided utility cost over the first year of operations.
For additional details read the entire case study detailing the work performed at the Wenatchee Data Center.
VAV Box Controller Retrofit
The building automation system (BAS) at Sunset Corporate Campus (SCC) Building #2 has gone through several modifications since its construction in the 1990s. The BAS was originally installed as a full LON system, but began transitioning to BACnet when the graphical user interface became obsolete in 2011.
In 2013, as part of a tenant improvement project ATS began converting AHUs and VAV terminal units to Alerton’s BACnet line of Visual Logic Controllers. However, after project completion, 126 VAV boxes remained on the LON system.
To retrofit the remaining LON controllers to BACnet devices, the ATS Energy Group took advantage of Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) Major HVAC Controls Upgrade incentive program. The program offers incentives of up to 50% of total project cost based on post upgrade building energy performance. To maximize incentive dollars, ATS developed and implemented high-performance VAV sequences in addition to retrofitting the controllers. The sequences at SCC now exceed the 2015 Washington State Energy Code for high efficiency VAVs.
High Performance Sequences & Scope Deployed at SCC
- Dynamic ASHRAE 62.1 AHU Minimum Outdoor Air Resets
- Trim & Respond AHU Discharge Air Temperature & Duct Static Pressure Resets
- VAV Discharge Air Temperature Control to Alleviate Stratification Issues Rogue Zone Identification & Automatic Elimination from Reset Sequences
- Zone Reset Importance Multipliers
- Detailed Functional Performance Testing
- Test & Balance for Zone Flow Coefficients, Duct Static Set Points, & Building Static Set Points
There has been an average savings of 28% in total building energy usage (474,246 kWh through 7 months). This is significant savings for what was ostensibly a retrofit of 126 VAV box controllers. The majority of savings came from the added high performance sequences deployed with the new and existing Alerton controllers.
SCC has received $49,000 in utility incentives and is set to receive an additional $61,000 if performance persists for 12 months. After Measurement & Verification, the incentive program will effectively pay for 50% of the total project cost and SCC will benefit from ongoing energy savings from the enhanced sequences.
kWh Usage Comparison to Baseline Data — Average 28% Reduction
Project completed in October 2016. kWh comparison of baseline model and 2016 consumption data.
Keeping a New Building Like New
In the first 3 to 4 years of operation, “building performances typically deteriorate as much as 30%.” Block 44, located in Seattle’s South Lake Union technology hub, is managed and operated by CBRE. Completed in 2014, Block 44 is a 395,000 ft² Class A, LEED Platinum certified office building. Even though Block 44 is a new building, setpoint and sequence modifications, manual system overrides, tenant activity, deferred maintenance, and space-use changes can lead to operational drift within the building automation system (BAS) and ultimately inefficient building performance. Wanting to ensure like-new building operation was maintained at the facility, CBRE turned to ATS for solutions.
ATS facilityCARE Informatics
ATS augmented CBRE’s existing controls support agreement by adding their data informatics service, facilityCARE. The ATS facilityCARE service identifies energy and cost saving opportunities through ongoing machine-based commissioning, advanced fault detection, reporting, energy monitoring and analytics.
ATS integrated facilityCARE software into Block 44’s Alerton BAS and began holding monthly system operation and performance reviews with CBRE to discuss operational deficiencies and develop a path for improvement. By combining an extensive library of automated analytics and fault detection with facility operations expertise, ATS proactively identified system inefficiencies and solutions that would not have been detected during normal day-to-day maintenance activities.
The ATS facilityCARE service allowed CBRE to move from a traditional facility operations approach to one of continuous facility improvement, driven by data. Through the data, ATS identified thousands of mechanical and control system operational faults that would typically lead to building performance deterioration. By cataloging and prioritizing system faults for correction, cumulative system runtime was reduced by 35,000 hours in the first year. Even with rising occupancy, and the tendency for building performance to deteriorate as much as 30% in the first few years, the total energy consumption was reduced by 6% year-over-year. In addition, the facilityCARE process identified more than $10,000 in electrical system issues that were resolved through warranty, at no cost to the building ownership
Bainbridge High School (BHS) is Bainbridge Island School District’s only comprehensive high school. The school serves approximately 1,300 students in grades 9-12. BHS has been recognized by US News & World Report as well as Newsweek Magazine as one of the top schools in the United States. Both publications rank the school as #5 in Washington State and #247 (US News & World Report) and #201 (Newsweek) in the nation. BHS boasts a graduation rate of 95.2% and is a magnet school for transfer students and families looking for a school that prioritizes making every student college and career ready. This stellar reputation not only applies to BHS students and teachers; the facility team is also constantly on the lookout for projects and programs that will save the District money and enhance the learning environment of the school. With the mandate to find projects that will put savings back in the District’s general fund, Bernard Mejia, Maintenance Lead for the District, and his team proposed replacing the aging and failing boiler controls for BHS to save on utility costs, reduce equipment run time and improve overall facility functionality.
The boilers, installed in 1998, for BHS had been oversized in the anticipation of a plant expansion that never occurred. The size coupled with the aging boiler control board had led to a degradation of the HVAC system, causing poor functionality and operation of the plant. The system pumps, and other equipment, were running 24/7 and the night setback had stopped following a schedule. To control the boilers, the District staff had manually overridden them to operate in low fire mode in order to stop them from short cycling. To address what they felt was wasteful equipment operation, Mejia and his team developed a project plan around modernizing the boiler control to save on propane and electrical use.
To improve energy usage at the school, the District teamed up with ATS Automation to replace the original boiler controller, as well as program and tune the system with energy savings in mind. The original Siemens boiler PLC was replaced with Alerton’s VLC-1688 programmable controller. Boiler control was then integrated into the existing Alerton system for District staff to be able to schedule and troubleshoot from their centralized BAS. Additionally, a new operating sequence for the 3-way valves was developed, night setbacks were initiated and an aggressive scheduling plan was implemented. Now the pumps run on a schedule instead of operating 24/7, as they had been before the project was complete. The District also limited the number of individuals that could schedule the system. Now there are only two individuals in charge of scheduling the schools which has reduced the chance of the buildings running while unoccupied.
This boiler control project was completed over the summer of 2014. When comparing the high school’s utility cost from 2014 to that of 2015 there was a 36% decrease in spend. This decrease was equivalent to $267,540 in utility savings that was put back into the District’s general fund. In addition to reduced spending, equipment runtime decreased by 42% when comparing the winter months of 2014 to 2015.
By having ATS install and integrate the new boiler control into the existing Alerton building automation system, the District re-established control over their boiler plant while leveraging the existing control system and extensive control knowledge of ATS engineers.
Located in downtown Renton, WA, the historic Renton High School (RHS) was originally built in 1911. The initial building was later demolished to make room for an updated school with improvements and additional space for the increasing population of the area. Over its 105-year history the high school has been rebuilt and expanded upon many times. The latest improvements began in 2013 with a complete controls retrofit of the RHS Campus.
ATS designed and installed a complete DDC retrofit, replacing a poorly commissioned and legacy control system with Alerton I/O controllers and global controllers along with a Niagara AX Supervisor front-end to conform with District standards. In addition to the controls retrofit, ATS also installed CO2 sensors to enable demand control ventilation strategies. According to J. Stine, Program Manager for the Renton School District’s Energy Management Office, an element that made this project such a success was the planning and gathering of input from the maintenance staff. Now RHS has a fine-tuned, commissioned and fully functional system that provides a standard for all facility improvements to come.
Savings and Energy Usage Reduction
As a result of the DDC retrofit RHS has had a dramatic drop in energy consumption and cost. Just over a three-year period, energy use has dropped 37% and cost has decreased 32%. District energy use intensity has decreased from 74.4 kBtu/sqft to 38.3 kBtu/sqft, a reduction of 49 percent.
The following chart illustrates the District’s energy usage over a three-year period compared to the school-year baseline. Substantial completion of the project was achieved during the summer of 2013.
With 34 Stories and more than 580,000 square feet, 1111 Third Avenue is an icon of the Seattle Skyline. This high profile building also had a high energy profile. The building owner and property manager partnered with ATS as their energy services professional to increase building efficiency. ATS developed a three-year energy conservation plan inclusive of capital efficiency projects and operational optimization measures.
Seattle City Light Pay for Performance
ATS was one of three companies chosen to be part of Seattle City Light’s (SCL) Pay for Performance (PfP) program. PfP was a three-year pilot program designed to provide energy efficiency incentives while ensuring projects deliver energy savings year over year. PfP required monthly performance verification by comparing the building’s energy consumption on a 15 minute interval basis to a baseline energy model with adjustments for weather and other building variables. To manage the PfP program, 1111 Third Avenue turned to ATS’s Energy Group.
Energy Conservation Measures
Floor Isolation Dampers
Supply air isolation control dampers installed to eliminate conditioned air delivered to unoccupied floors.
High Efficiency Chiller
Aging 550 ton chiller replaced with new high efficiency chiller. New high efficiency chiller used as first stage of chilled water cooling.
Variable frequency drives added to 12 AHU variable-pitch Joy axial fans—1,060 total HP.
Variable Flow Plant Mods
1,100 ton chilled water plant modified from a constant flow to a variable flow system.
Optimized Plant Sequences
Optimized CHW variable flow, CHW reset, CW reset, and cooling tower control sequences implemented.
Garage Lighting Upgrades
Garage lighting replaced with high efficiency lamps and occupancy sensors added to perimeter lights.
Since ATS began implementing energy conservation measures at 1111 Third Avenue the energy consumption has dropped considerably, despite a 26% occupancy increase. 1111 Third Avenue now enjoys a smaller ecological impact and greater ongoing financial savings.