Winter 2012 Forum    

Heat Recovery…Making Your Heat Work For You

December 12, 2012
Portland State University - Native American Student Community Center, Portland

Oregon APEM’s Winter Forum was held at Portland State University’s Native American Student Community Center in downtown Portland.  This building is a place for learning that was specifically constructed to serve the Native American, Alaskan Native and Pacific Islander students at PSU; fortunately, this building is also available for other community gatherings and educational events.  This beautiful building was constructed with several energy conserving strategies including maximized building orientation for solar energy gain, natural daylighting, a rooftop solar array and a rooftop garden that reduces stormwater runoff.  The building also features natural ventilation without mechanical assistance.

The Winter Forum was the final forum of 2012; this is significant because it was 30 years ago that the APEM organization came into existence.  We celebrated our 30th anniversary by beginning the day with a discussion of some of the noteworthy events of 1982 and some of the significant changes between now and then.  The Oregon APEM board would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members, speakers and board members who have helped develop and sustain the Oregon APEM organization.

Our first speakers of the day were Tim Elley and Nedzib Biberic from PAE Consulting Engineers.  Tim and Nedzib began with an explanation of the fundamentals of heat recovery.  They explained how heat can be recovered from and transferred to various mediums in different situations.  For example, heat can be recovered:
• From water, like regaining heat from grey water to preheat non-potable or domestic water or like using a run around loop to preheat supply air;
• From air to air, like transferring heat from exhaust air to supply air using flat plate, heat wheel, heat pipe or energy core heat exchangers;
• From the earth, by using ground source heat pumps or geothermal hot water;
• From one space to another space in the same building by a variable refrigerant flow system or heat recovery chiller;
• Or from a building to another building by use of underground piping which connects buildings with different load profiles.

Tim and Nedzib discussed the Oregon Zoo which uses underground piping to move heat around its entire campus.  They explained, for example, how the polar bear and seal areas need constant cooling while the primate and elephant areas need near constant heating; the heat removed from one area can be transferred to other areas, greatly reducing the energy usage of the Zoo campus.
Next, Tim and Nedzib talked about some situations where heat recovery should be considered.  Firstly, they reminded is that there are many cases where the Oregon Energy Code currently requires heat recovery to be installed.  Secondly, they discussed how the energy end uses of a building need to be analyzed before heat recovery is installed.  Buildings with high heating and cooling loads can be good candidates for heat recovery and different types of heat recovery will make sense for different types of buildings.  Third, they recommend that a Life Cycle Cost Analysis is completed to determine the potential cost savings of a specific project.  Finally, Tim and Nedzib shared some examples of heat recovery in action at the Port of Portland Headquarters building and at Chemeketa Community College.  See Their Presentation

Our next speaker was Doug Hansberry a Professional Engineer who has been working to optimize Intel’s fabrication plants for the last 17 years.  Doug’s presentation focused on heat recovery chillers which are used extensively in Intel’s new fabrication plants.   Doug started off with a demystifying explanation of how a heat recovery chiller works.  A traditional chiller has two sections, the condenser and the evaporator sections.  Refrigerant is used to remove heat from the chilled water loop and transfer it to the condenser water loop.  The condenser water loop moves the heat to the cooling tower where the heat is rejected to the atmosphere.  In a heat recovery chiller, there is a third section, the heat recovery condenser.  The chiller is optimized to create 90-105 degree heating water instead of rejecting the heat to the atmosphere through the cooling tower.  The potential heat available in the heat recovery condenser water loop is the sum of the heat removed from the chilled water loop plus the compressor waste heat.  This available heat can greatly reduce or even eliminate the need to heat a low temperature hot water loop with a boiler, when the chiller is operating.
Heat recovery chillers do pay a slight energy penalty by having a lower cooling efficiency than traditional chillers, for instance a heat recovery chiller will have a 0.56 kW/ton efficiency whereas a cooling only chiller will have a 0.52 kW/ton efficiency at the same operating conditions. Operating the heat recovery condenser water loop at the lowest possible chilled water temperature can help to minimize this efficiency difference.  Nevertheless, Doug has found that the cooling penalty that is paid by using a heat recovery chiller can be greatly offset by reduced boiler energy needed for the hot water loop, in the right application.

Heat recovery chillers have a higher initial cost, and they can only generate hot water up to about 105 degrees. In order to adequately heat a building with 105 degree water you will often need larger coils in the air handlers than you would if the incoming hot water was 180 F, and these larger coils often require more fan power to deliver the air across the coils. You may also need larger sized pipes to than you would if you were using the higher temperature water. These factors also increase the first cost of a new system designed around heat recovery chillers, and lead to slightly higher energy costs for fan power and pump power. 

Even though there are some drawbacks to heat recovery chillers (HRCs), they can be very economical and are highly recommended when installed in appropriate situations.  Doug explained that the load profile of the building is extremely important to the success of the HRC.  These systems work best in buildings with high cooling baseloads all year long.  If a chiller only needs to remove heat from the chilled water loop during the summer, then the only time that there is heat in the heat recovery condenser loop is when heating water is least needed. Even with the increased installed costs, Doug reported that Intel has found that in its fabrication plants, the simple payback of this system after incentives is 2.6 years.

There are some additional benefits to heat recovery chillers.  When a HRC can offset the need for a fossil-fuel fired boiler then they will greatly reduce the emissions of NOx, CO2 and other air pollutants.  Additionally, the water usage of a facility can be greatly reduced because the evaporation of water at the cooling tower is greatly reduced or eliminated. Unfortunately Doug's presentation is unavailable

After a morning full of informative and technical presentations, it was time to announce Oregon APEM’s Energy Manager of the Year award winner.  After the other five nominees were recognized, the Energy Manager of the Year award was presented to Cathy Higgins, Research Director at the New Buildings Institute.  Cathy gave a presentation about the work that she has been doing at NBI which earned her Oregon APEM’s award for 2012.

Cathy explained how she has spent a career focused on how to collect, compare and communicate data about building energy consumption.  She showed us the NBI First View Tool which gives performance indicators to building operators.  This tool, along with a multitude of other tools and publications is free for download on the New Buildings Institute’s website. Cathy described her work on technologies and occupants; the sensitivity analysis completed by NBI show the relative impact of design, operation and tenant behavior on the energy use of a building.  Techniques to reduce plugloads and lighting loads have been researched and investigated by NBI.

Finally, Cathy highlighted her leadership in the field of Zero Net Energy Buildings which produce as much energy as they consume. In a recently released NBI study, which was the largest of its kind, Cathy and her team analyzed 99 buildings across the country to determine how many are truly Zero Net Energy buildings.   The study found that 21 buildings are zero net energy, with the rest being zero net capable or potential.  This is the first large study of its kind which was based on documented empirical data. See Her Presentation

The Oregon APEM board would like to congratulate Cathy Higgins and thank her for all of her great work.  A summary of the work of each of this year’s Energy Manager of the Year award candidates is available on the Oregon APEM website at

After Cathy’s presentation, the attendees were turned loose to network and eat lunch before embarking for the building tour.  The group took the streetcar to the South Waterfront where we were treated to a tour of the OHSU Center for Health and Healing.  This 16 story, 400,000+ square foot building features:
• A biodigester waste processing system
• Natural gas heat and energy cogeneration
• Heat recovery chillers
• Several types of heat recovery including air-to-air and water-to-water
• Radiant floor heat in the lobby
• Natural ventilation in the stairwells
• Chilled beams for passive convective cooling
• Daylighting, daylight dimming, and LEDs
• A solar wall on the south side of the building
• A 60 kW solar panel array on the south side of the building that also serve as window shades
• Solar thermal water heating
• A vegetated roof
• Rainwater harvesting
• A LEED Platinum rating


Tim Elley and Nedzib Biberic, PAE Consulting Engineers

Doug Hansberry

Cathy Higgins, Energy Manager of the Year

Fall 2012 Forum    


September 21, 2012
Portland Community College, Newberg, Oregon

Oregon APEM’s Fall Forum was held at Portland Community College Newberg Center and the topic of the day was LED lighting.  The PCC Newberg Center is a recently constructed net-zero building which served as a wonderful setting for the day’s activities.  The day was jam-packed with opportunities to gain in-depth knowledge about LED lighting.  Several speakers taught the group about utilizing LED technology and shared case studies of real world applications.  The breaks between speakers were used for networking and for learning from several knowledgeable vendors who had tables full of state-of-the-art LED lighting fixtures and accompanying literature.   

On an administrative note, it was also announced that the APEM board is now asking for nominations for new board members and nominations for 2012’s Energy Manager of the Year.  Please send an email to for more information or to submit a nomination.

Greg Hansen - Balzhiser & Hubbard Engineers.  Greg Hansen started the day off with an overview of the history of electric lights, leading up to the appearance of LED lighting in the last few years.   After focusing on the major historical advancements in lighting and putting into perspective how drastically different LED lighting is from the other forms of lighting that came before, Greg discussed the “Do’s and Don’ts” of LED lighting today.  Greg recommended use of LED lights for down lighting, site lighting, landscape lighting, low level lighting and track lighting.  However, in Greg’s opinion, some types of LED technology need more time to mature prior to being ready for mainstream integration, including linear fluorescent tube replacement and possibly high bay lighting.  See His Presentation

Doug Oppedal – Northwest Trade Ally Network – Evergreen Consulting Group
Doug described the major LED trends that that have appeared in the market in the last few years.  LED downlights were introduced in 2010 and are now so popular they are one third of the cost that they were 2 years ago.  Since 2011, LEDs have been commonly used in display, retail and track lighting.  Currently, Doug is seeing a trend of installing LED lighting in gas station canopies, parking garages, and sign lighting. 

Much of Doug’s presentation focused on current LED lighting from a utility’s point of view.  Doug explained that when utilities offer incentives, they are essentially paying their customers for the energy saved by the incentivized technology.  Because of this, utilities need to be confident about the savings associated with any technology that they are going to incentivize. 
Doug discussed the types of LED technology that are currently incentivized by local utilities.  Incentives are offered for directional replacement lamps like incandescent PAR lamps used in track lighting and downlights.  Other types of lighting, like omni-directional lighting, fluorescent tube replacements, and exterior high bay lighting do not yet have standard track incentives because the technology still needs a little more time to mature (however custom incentives may be available for these applications.)  See His Presentation

Naomi Miller – DOE Gateway
Naomi introduced the US Department of Energy Gateway Demonstrations program which showcases high-performance LED products in a variety of commercial and residential applications.  These documented results provide real-world information on solid-state lighting product performance and cost effectiveness. These results provide buyers with reliable data on product performance.
Naomi emphasized that the Gateway projects compare LEDs with incumbent technology, like incandescents, CFLs, metal halides, and linear fluorescents.  Naomi discussed several case studies from which lessons about LEDs can be learned.
In one project, several metal halide (MH) luminaires were replaced with new LED luminaires incorporating bi-level operation controlled by motion detectors.  After the installation was complete it was discovered that the occupancy sensors placed on each of the luminaires were unable to sense movement in the entire area than the LEDs illuminated; this resulted in situations where the parking lot lights did not fully illuminate when occupants were present.
Another project Naomi discussed was the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene, where 90 watt PAR flood lamps used for accent lighting were replaced with 12 watt LED PAR replacement lamps for a special exhibition.  The museum also staged a side-by-side comparison of three different LED PAR replacement lamps against their standard halogen lamp.  Patrons were asked to evaluate the different lighting options and their responses showed that museum goers actually preferred the LED lighting in many respects to the traditional halogen lighting.
Other projects discussed in the presentation included a street lighting in Portland, a museum in California, a hotel in California, and a parking garage in Oregon.  Naomi let us know that there are plans to do more projects in the future and that more information and full reports can be found on the DOE website.       See Her Presentation

Erica Dunn & John McMichael – PCC Newberg architect and engineer
This portion of the forum featured members the PCC Newberg campus design team who taught us about the net-zero building in which the fall forum was held.  First Erica Dunn discussed how Hennebery Eddy Architects were hired to create the master plan for the whole Newberg campus; if completed this would consist of six buildings, though currently only one building has been constructed.  PCC specifically wanted to explore sustainable building options and it was suggested they pursue a net zero building.
Erica and John McMichael, an engineer from Interface Engineering, then discussed how the building was designed with many features to reduce building energy use.  Firstly, the advantages of building siting were maximized by orienting the long side of the building in the East-West direction to allow for plenty of day lighting.  Long over-hangs and shades prevent excess heat from entering the building in the summer and the envelope was designed to reduce heat loss.
Secondly, the HVAC systems in the building were designed to be as energy efficient as possible.  The building has no mechanical cooling; passive ventilation is used and ceiling fans provide air movement which makes the building feel cooler.  The effect of summertime high temperatures in the building and the amount of heating needed in the winter is reduced by leveraging the building’s thermal mass to regulate indoor air temperatures.  Heating, when needed, is achieved via radiant floor heat. 
Third, the building produces some of its own energy through a 100 kW photovoltaic array.
The building also has an advanced monitoring system which allows for detailed study of the behavior of the systems within the building.  Michael showed us several examples of data graphs from typical days which illustrated everything from lighting and plug loads to the pump behavior and water loop temperatures.  See Their Presentation

Michael Poplawski – Pacific Northwest National Laboratory – City of Portland’s Cully Boulevard Street-Lighting Test
Michael presented a case study of an LED street lighting installation in Portland.  Michael explained how the upgrade partially resulted from the City of Portland’s desire to revitalize the Northeast neighborhoods.  First, the City of Portland resurfaced the roads and the existing street lamps were removed.  Then, new poles with new luminaries featuring LED lights were installed which matched the city’s current design guidelines.
Three types of technologies (LED, induction, and ceramic metal halide) were tested along a roadway against a baseline fixture (High Pressure Sodium) using six different luminaires.  The different types of lighting were grouped with about four or five poles in a row which had the same technology.  Several types of outdoor lighting control systems were also tested in this project.   Currently most control systems are proprietary and different controls can be located in a variety of locations like mounted in the fixture, on the pole or in the ground.
While the overall performance of the LED luminaires was generally better than the baseline luminaire, high cost of LED replacement remains a significant barrier to the widespread adoption of this technology across the city.  See His Presentation

Thank you to everyone that attended this great forum.  Hopefully we will see you in December at the Winter Forum on Heat Recovery.


Greg Hansen, Balzhiser & Hubbard Engineers

Doug Oppedal, Northwest Trade Ally Network

Naomi Miller, DOE Gateway

Erica Dunn & John McMichael, PCC Newberg

Michael Poplawski, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Summer 2012 Forum    

"The True Cost of No Cost and Low
Cost Efficiency Measures"

June 1, 2012
NW Natural Building, Portland

Byron Courts is the Director of Engineering for Melvin Mark Properties which manages a number of high rise office buildings in Portland. He has long focused on the energy efficient operation of the buildings he is responsible for. He is both a LEEP AP and Green Globe Professional.
His presentation focused on the energy efficiency measures implemented in several of their buildings.

  • One of his building went through a retro commissioning process in which a total of 50 individual measures were studied, 19 measures were recommended and 15 were implemented resulting in significant savings with a less than a year payback.
  • Another measure involved replacing a chiller operating at 1.22 kW per ton with one operating at 0.62 kW per ton. The ROI of this installation was 3.1 years once the Energy Trust incentive and the state business energy tax credit were factored in.

Byron has long used energy accounting to track the efficiency of his buildings and to help determine if the measures installed result in the expected savings. One such example was tracking the savings from a parking garage lighting project—which did not give him the savings he expected. When he investigated the reasons for this, he found that the original fixture count was off, so fewer fixtures were actually installed. In years past, Byron used Utility Manager, a PC-based software, as his energy accounting tool. Today, he uses  ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, which is under continuous improvement. The scores generated by the ENERGY STAR's Portfolio Manager are nationally recognized.  Byron also discussed how the various utilities in the Portland area are providing new and improved energy data tracking tools

Elin Shepard, the former Sustainability Coordinator for the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), reported on energy conservation activities that DAS implemented from 2007-2010. When the legislature cut the funding for most of the capital projects that DAS had planned for the 09-11 biennium, this required DAS to look into low to no-cost alternatives for energy savings.
DAS released the updated Resource Conservation Policy in July 2009. This policy included new, innovative strategies for energy savings such as moving custodians from night shifts to day shifts, turning off ambient lights from 7 PM to 6 AM where tenants may not override them, and restricting many personal appliances. However, the most innovative aspect was that each building would have a night audit once a quarter to verify that the plug loads in cubicles and common spaces were turned off. If DAS found the same items on after two audits, DAS could charge the agency for the quarterly consumption of the items. While agencies initially expressed concern about this policy, they understood the importance of saving money, jobs, and energy in the buildings and complied very well. By December 2009, DAS found several buildings with “0” plug loads on at night – a feat they expected would take years to achieve.

DAS worked extensively to start and expand Green Teams in 2009. At that time, nearly every DAS building had a thriving group of folks working to make a difference. Some Green Teams coordinated events such as waste-free potlucks or Green Jeopardy lunch time activities, others started composting programs and developed pledge cards. DAS was pleased how the grass roots efforts of Green Teams advanced the Governor’s goals for sustainability and further the mission to infuse a culture of sustainability in state government operations.

As the Green Teams continued to grow and expand in DAS buildings, they required more communication and involvement. DAS developed “electricity scorecards” to communicate a tremendous amount of information on a quarterly, one-page flyer. It shared the building’s compliance with the year 2000 goal, a graph of energy performance, consumption and cost data, and the results of the last night energy audit. The scorecards reached more staff than ever before, allowing them to feel a part of the process and solution. DAS also began an optional program to check out Kill-A-Watt units to green teams to empower them to research and verify information themselves. In 2009, these measures, combined with other projects, saved 27% of the energy used in the year 2000 and avoided around $450,000 in utilities charges.  See Her Presentation

More information and links to policies and publications:

Dave Cone Resource Conservation Manager for Evergreen School District in Vancouver, began his presentation by highlighting his district’s energy savings achievements.  He referred to the ENERGY STAR “Guidelines for Energy Management” as the model the district used to achieve their substantial savings.  His presentation then focused on the concepts of “creating and implementing an action plan”   and how that was carried out by the district.  Dave identified several “low cost” activities his district engaged in and noted while they may have significant upfront costs, they also had a relatively quick payback; in most cases less than two years.  Probably the most significant low-cost or even no cost investment cited by Dave was the employment of utility bill tracking software.  Dave pointed to one tracking software that comes with a cost and another, ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager, that is available for free. This software allowed Dave to evaluate district energy use and focus his efforts on facilities whose Energy Use Index was significantly out of line with conventional thinking. 

Dave also mentioned the installation of web-based thermostats in their 400 portable classrooms as well as the acquisition and installation of interval meters at several district sites as other low-cost energy savings measures.  He noted the metering technology gave him real-time data he then used to evaluate energy use at various district locations. Other low-cost activities included the replacement of HID gym lighting fixtures with more efficient T-8 linear fluorescent ones, as well as the recommissioning of one district site that used over 4 times as much energy as current thinking would suggest.  He also noted how the payback periods were shortened even further by enlisting the assistance of local utilities and taking advantage of the incentives they make available for the work the district was doing.  He encouraged audience members to seek out incentive opportunities and to not assume they might not be available for certain “creative” projects.

Dave also pointed to other activities that he would suggest fall into the “no cost” category.  He pointed to activities that utilized the existing district work force to accomplish.  These activities included being more proactive with their maintenance activities and spending time with their controls to make sure the manner in which they’re operated reflected the most recent thinking in efficient controls operation.  Dave also noted district staff was able to delamp numerous fixtures throughout their campuses.  The determination to delamp was based on a survey conducted with a light meter that suggested numerous locations were overlit when compared to IESNA standards.

Dave completed his presentation by telling attendees not to assume that a building built to an array of “green” standards would run efficiently.  He said that even in those circumstances building operators need to be proactive.  In addition, he suggested many efficient technologies rely on the expertise of the operators to take advantage of potentially efficient strategies inherent in the technologies.  See His Presentation

Lauren Donley is an Energy Engineer at Abacus Resource Management Company. She graduated in 2011 as an Energy Management Technician from the Northwest Energy Education Institute at Lane Community College and is a University of Oregon alum with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Environmental Studies.  Lauren loves that challenge of deciphering how buildings work and is passionate about helping reduce energy use and cut costs for businesses and schools.
Lauren’s presentation focused on the value of using and evaluating DDC trend data and short term data logging with portable loggers. She showed up how with careful analysis, it is possible to determine what is actually happening in a building during unoccupied hours. She took us through several examples to show us the true value of data logging. In one case, the data highlighted a problem that could not be observed in any other way.
She provided a convincing case for the need for data logging to uncover hard to find sources of a problem.  See Her Presentation

Oregon APEM had several outstanding nominations for the 2012 Student Project of the year award. Each nominee submitted a summary of a project they had completed during their time as a student. Board members reviewed each project and rated it based on how it related to energy management, the depth of knowledge each student acquired completing their project, the complexity, thoroughness, and accuracy of their findings, and how valuable the findings are to the industry or student community.
Tyler Kimble, an Energy Management Student from Lane Community college (LCC) was selected as the 2012 recipient for his outstanding energy analysis of the math & science building on LCC’s main campus. Tyler presented his analysis at the Summer Forum and was then presented his award by Oregon APEM president Elin Shepard.  Congratulations Tyler!


Elin Shepard, Former Sustainability Coordinator for DAS

Dave Cone, Evergreen School District

Lauren Donley, Abacus Resource Management

Spring 2012 Forum    

Is Your HVAC Out of Control? 
Making Sense of DDC Retrofits and Upgrades

March 16, 2012
NW Natural Building, Portland

Our Spring Forum, held on March 16th at the Northwest Natural headquarters in downtown Portland, was a resounding success.  This forum focused on HVAC Controls and featured high quality presentations, controls vendors eager to answer questions, and a record turnout of attendees.  The forum included an introduction to controls, a primer on controls protocols, advanced controls strategies for outside air and VAV, a talk on the importance of graphics and commissioning, a candid discussion about contractor short-cuts and implementation, and a case study of the controls upgrades at the Portland Art Museum.  We finished up the day with a legislative update on the end of BETC and the new ODOE energy incentive program for businesses.

Bruce Dobbs of Mechanical Systems Engineering started the day off with an introduction to controls.  Bruce began with a history of controls, reminding us of the times when “controls” meant manually turning hand valves and manually firing up boilers.  Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) controls first showed up as a controls system for navigating ships in 1911.  Pneumatic controls appeared in 1920s and were first used for boiler controls. DDC systems were adopted by the marketplace beginning in the early 1980’s. The controls of the time were rudimentary at first, but within 5 years, PID controls were incorporated into the new DDC systems.  By the late 1980s another important milestone changed the world of digital controls – distributed controls could be managed by a frontend interface which increased reliability and control. Bruce introduced many foundational ideas like the sequence of operations, the points list, PID controls and commissioning.  See His Presentation

Eric Shimmin of ECS Automation gave his presentation on the often bewildering topic of controls protocols.  Eric’s presentation was designed to help us gain a little working knowledge about some of the controls concepts that are stubbornly difficult to understand.  Eric taught us the function and meaning of the concepts of controls Media, Transport and Data Protocol by introducing the metaphor of a railroad. 
In this metaphor, Media is the railroad tracks.  Information moves on the media like a train moves on railroad tracks.  Transport is like the train. The train determines the destination or address and the speed.  The freight cars of the train accept up to a certain size of goods; this is like the different packet sizes that are accommodated by different types of transport.  The Data Protocol is the actual data, which corresponds to the freight that the train carries. The protocol determines the language of the data.
Eric taught us how different protocols that work on certain media, and certain protocols need transport and data configured in a specific way.  To interface between these different components, equipment must be compatible between the media, transport and data protocol.

Compatibility is another complicated issue to which Eric introduced us.  There can be compatibility issues between different types of media, transport and data protocols, as well as within the same types of components that are from different years.  Eric recommended that we consult the BacNet Testing Laboratories, BLT List to check on the compatibility of potential components.  See His Presentation

Reid Hart of PECI focused on presenting some ways that controls are used in buildings.  Ventilation is a code-regulated requirement for buildings that is a major source of energy usage.  Before major advances in ventilation controls, it was common to provide enough outside air to satisfy the ventilation requirements of the maximum occupancy of any zone.  With demand controlled ventilation, DCV, controls can enable air handling units to provide ventilation proportional to the actual occupancy of any zone by monitoring CO2 levels.  This is ideal for large areas with high variance in the number of people utilizing the space, like school gyms.  Reid wanted us to remember that CO2 is not a contaminant; it is a proxy we use to determine how many people are in a zone.

From there, Reid moved on to discuss Energy Information Systems and Integrated Controls. Energy Information Systems, EIS, allow for energy tracking and immediate feedback of systems in a building.  The EIS do not save energy directly, but by helping to inform decision makers, engage and educate occupants, provide trend data, and allow for quick and easy identification of trouble spots, Energy Information Systems can lead to significant energy savings in many cases.
Reid also touched on the benefits of existing building commissioning.  He explained that often, systems are not fully functional at the time of initial occupancy and that often, current uses are different than the original design.  Reid recommends analyzing the sequence of operations and the points list as well as checking and calibrating sensors in order to retro-commission existing buildings.  See His Presentation

Scott Hanken of Abacus Resource Management Company discussed some of the main issues about which building owners and operators should be aware when they are considering the installation or upgrade of a DDC system.  Scott explained how the sequence of operations should be written with input from all parties so that there is consensus on the intended results and how they will be achieved.  Scott argued that the points list should remain flexible during the planning process because the sequence of operations will dictate the point needed. 

Scott talked about typical cost cutting techniques in a retrofit.  It is often okay for contractors to reuse existing wire; however contractors should not reuse existing sensors or actuators.   Before reusing existing wire, compatibility and network speed must be evaluated.  In many cases a retrofit kit for a valve is the same price as a new valve, so replacement makes more sense than retrofit.  Scott discussed retrofit techniques for Variable Air Volume (VAV) terminal units (TUs), sensors, and thermostats, including the recommendation that building owners should pay a little more for packaged VAV boxes with factory installed sensors as they are typically more reliable. Scott finished his presentation with a discussion of the typical cost of installing different types of DDC systems, which is useful for making initial estimates or checking contractor prices.  See His Presentation

Mark Kinzer, also of Abacus Resource Management Company, and Jack Bickford of Northwest Controls Company presented a case study of their project at the Portland Art Museum. Mark shared how the project developed, from early conversations with the museum director, to the initial scoping report where issues were identified, to the full energy analysis with data logging, to the installation of energy savings measures and the verification of the energy savings.

Some of the major issues that were identified and corrected were: the pumps were very oversized, the chiller was operating 24 hours per day, the VAV boxes were operating as constant flow, and the water side economizer was not operational.  Jack was personally responsible for identifying a valve in the wrong position that was preventing water from getting to the waterside economizer, which had prevented this energy efficient feature of the original construction from ever working – after it was fixed the chillers were allowed to turn off about 3,000 hours per year. Mark described the solutions to these problems and how the upgrades were installed.  This engaging presentation led to a lively discussion between the presenter and attendees.  See Mark's Presentation

Sean Henry of the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) gave a legislative update on tax credits available to businesses for energy saving upgrades. Sean talked about House Bill 3680, the bill that replaced the Business Energy Tax Credit with the new energy incentive program for businesses.  Sean informed the audience about the most important parts of the new legislation like the new fees, the competitive application process, and the automatic qualification of small projects under $20,000, and the timeline for when the large projects can be submitted to ODOE for review. To find more information, Sean recommends visiting the Oregon Department of Energy website where you read the new rules and sign up to receive “BETC Email Updates.”   See His Presentation

David Jackson presented an update on behalf of the Energy Trust of Oregon about the current incentive available for DDC upgrades. Incentives are available for most controls upgrades that incorporate energy saving strategies in existing commercial buildings.


Bruce Dobbs, Mechanical Systems Engineering

Eric Shimmin, ECS Automation

Reid Hart, PECI

Scott Hanken, Abacus Resource Management

Mark Kinzer, Abacus Resource Management

Sean Henry, Oregon Department of Energy