Winter 2013 Forum    

Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Implementation and Applications

December 6 2013
Chemeketa Community College Center of Business and Industry, Salem

The Pacific Northwest has a long history of leadership and experimenting with Smart Grid Applications  

and Implementation models.  For our Winter Forum we explored the largest of the 16 smart grid demonstration projects funded by the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project involves about 60,000 metered customers, and contains many key functions of the future smart grid. 

As a local participant in this project Portland General Electric discussed both the Salem Smart Power Project which is testing how to store solar and wind energy in the electrical grid and how to make the best use of renewable energy sources that change with the weather as well as its larger smart grid initiatives. 

We also explored smart grid specific applications such as demand management/response, batteries and energy storage systems for smart grid applications as well as smart grid enabled appliances and equipment.

Oregon APEM also presented its annual Energy Manager of the Year at this forum.  This year's recipient was Chris Milan, with Bonneville Power, for his work with the "Chip Pretreatment Interstage Screen Project" at the Norpac Pulp and Paper Mill in Longview, Washington.


Wayne Lei, PhD, PGE Corporate R&D, Smart Grid Programming - Portland General Electric

Ronald B. Melton, PhD, Project Director - Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project

Tim Wolf, Director of Marketing, Smart Grid Solutions –Itron

Allen L. Burns, VP Business Development,  PK Energy Solutions

Tour Host, Portland General Electric - Salem Smart Grid Center

Fall 2013 Forum    

Real Time Energy: Utility Monitoring and Real-Time Data Collection
The value of energy monitoring systems as learning tools and their role in shaping tenant behavior

September 27, 2013
NW Natural Building, Portland

Held at the Pacific One Building at NW Natural in downtown Portland, the Fall APEM Forum examined new and exciting ideas in utilizing real time energy data monitoring.  Several case studies were used to highlight successful building projects as well as lessons learned from the field. The use of real time energy data, user friendly dashboards and integrated systems were central theme throughout the forum.

Erica Dunn from Green Hammer, discussed her work in analyzing net zero buildings. Six public buildings in the U.S. were assessed,including a community college building in Western Oregon. Her goal was to identify the best practices for designing and maintaining net zero buildings. She also discussed the successful qualities of green screens – a monitor that displays real time and/or historically energy use about the building to the public occupants or building staff.

The impact of occupant habits was the main focus of her presentation. Occupant controlled thermostats, plug loads and lighting controls comprised the majority of occupant driven over consumption. She also expressed the need for an energy manager to actively operate and maintain a building in order to effectively manage energy consumption, minimize mechanical drift and reinforce occupant habits that are energy efficient.

Properly displaying real time energy use information to building occupants and operators is integral to success for a net zero buildings as well as for facilities/buildings that strive for better energy efficiency. Green screens can be an effective means of broadcasting information to large groups.  When done well, green screens or dashboards can be powerful tools for effective building operations management.

Green screens and mobile apps are still being explored for effective use in multi-family residential buildings. Some residential dashboards use real time energy use to give tips, suggestions and notifications based on occupant behaviors. For example, a notification to a resident their television was left on past 11 p.m. or that it will be 80 °F the next day and to wear light clothing. The following are keys for a successful green screen:

 -Where: Locate in common spaces where occupants may have a few idle minutes – near elevators, waiting areas, communal               spaces.  

 -What: Information presented should be comparative; goal oriented with data in short byte sized pieces and offers actionable items. 

 -How: The information should be passive and simple enough to be understood at a glace. 

- Why: Green screens and dashboards created occupant engagement, community involvement and pride. It can create a healthy                        platform for peer pressure to be more energy efficient. 

See Her Presentation

Earl Gray from Honeywell discussed how integrated building systems could dramatically impact the bottom line.  He emphasized the importance of having a Master Systems Integrator (MSI). This system includes a central networked buildings system, a company methodology for building energy use and a central person to orchestrate and facilitate the process, both in the short and long-term life of the building(s).

A successful MSI, according to Gray, starts with network level integrated services for building automation. There needs to be a plan that ensures new equipment and products are compatible. Defining a standard for protocols, equipment and systems can help to ensure smoother sailing in the future when expansion or renovation projects are under way.  He stressed the importance of graphical representations of building systems and real time energy use data to improve the facility operator’s comprehension of the current energy use and historical nature of the building.

Gray also highlighted the need to “change the way we buy things.” Be more cognizant of purchasing decisions and not relying on how things were done in the past. Lastly, Gray highly recommended having a single staff member responsible for the MSI system is critical to the success of energy management.  See His Presentation

Bruce Hemmelman of Lutron Electronics shared an interesting perspective on lighting applications and real time energy use data. In a commercial setting, using real time and granular data, Lutron identified that occupant controlled lighting and collaborative employee work lead to a reduction in energy use and artificial light related health issues for employees.  Another case study highlighted an LED retrofit in an office space. They reduced the typical over lit workspaces but it was the adding of individual workspace lighting controls that had an unexpected outcome. Real time energy monitoring showed that when one employee lowered the workstation lighting levels, other employees around them did the same.  

Hemmelman’s recommendation is to have a pre, during and post construction or retrofit plan for energy management. There has to be a focus towards a holistic approach to incorporating energy efficiency strategies whether it’s a lighting upgrade or integrating real time energy management into a building. To be successful , an organization needs to develop energy goals, have a sequence of operations, commit to tracking and reviewing information and be willing to adapt. Training staff and tenants to use the space efficiently is often a missed opportunity in energy savings. Real time energy data allowed Lutron to draw meaningful insights to how lighting energy was being used and altered throughout their studies.  See His Presentation     

Eric Shimmin from ESC Automation provided an in depth look into the developing world of real time energy use dashboards. He discussed the differences in format and objectives for the two main styles of dashboards – public and technical.

Public dashboards are intended for public information and education. Typically they are large screens in common areas, like lobbies, main entryways or waiting areas. They display the building’s historical energy data, real time energy use and can be interactive. Building managers are finding new and innovative ways to make green screens more engaging. An example given by Shimmin included a primary school installing interactive kiosks for students. The kiosks have age appropriate games and quizzes for students to learn about building energy and conservation practices. Another school installed a glowing light that displayed different colors based on real time energy use data. The colors represented whether the occupants were meeting their energy use target or not.

Other public style dashboards also include those used in multi-family housing complexes. One example given was a housing complex where residents were allotted a set amount of energy per week before a fee was added to their utility bill. Energy use was displayed on a communal dashboard in such a way that residents could gage if they were within their weekly energy quota as well as how their energy use ranked compared to their neighbors. Most dashboards provide local weather and other helpful information for reducing energy consumption.

The purpose of a technical dashboard is different from public dashboards. Here the purpose is to quickly convey real time data to facilities and operations managers. Operators use this information to make changes to systems in order to decrease demand and/or consumption. For the technical dashboard, it is important to format the information so it is relevant to the specific user and allows them to make meaningful conclusions.  

Shimmin also stressed the need to present real time data in multiple aspects to assist staff in fully understanding a problem. For example, viewing a schematic of air-handling units (AHU) in terms of air and coil temperatures as well as real time energy use of the total system. A case study shared about a gym had the AHU control system showing comfortable space temperatures in the building with no apparent issues. Real time energy data would have exposes that both the AHU heating and cooling coils were running simultaneously.  Real time energy data could have identified this problem within hours, potentially saving hundreds of dollars in utility bills.

Shimmin also discussed the emerging world of virtual metering. Here real time energy use data combined with the building mechanical data – like air temperature in ducts, pump pressure, etc. – could be used to mathematically submeter a building.  See His Presentation

Mike Bailey from ECOVA provided forum attendees with two valuable real time energy data case studies about two Oregon based Co-Op food processors. Both Co-Ops had contracted ECVOA to provide an energy audit and analysis to make facility level and operational changes to decrease energy consumption. One company (Plant A) made huge improvements in decreasing their energy consumption while the other company (Plant B) was hampered by barriers and unable to make any head way in decreasing their energy consumption.

Plant B was hindered by the inability to change and accept input from an outside source. According to Bailey the following created much resistance to making energy use improvements for Plant B:

-Lack of upper management support. 

-Bad set points and settings on equipment. 

-An unwillingness to change these settings based on the “That’s how we’ve always done it” mentality. 

-Poor purchasing choices and decision making from management. 

-No real time data. Difficult to allocate utility cost and usage to individual equipment or processes. 

Plant A on the other hand, took the newly acquired auditsand real time data and ran with it.  One key factor in making large-scale changes to their energy use was viewing a chart of the time frames in which different crops where processed. Looking at the historical and real time data from different angles identified that certain crops could wait a few hours and not be processed in overdrive, during peak hours. These revelations lead to better communication with their growers as to when to harvest and deliver crops.

Plant A used real time energy data to developed equipment schedules and operation plans to maximize operational efficiency while maintaining a quality product. Viewing the real time energy data allowed operational and facilities staff to correlate how changes in the plant affected the utility bill. These changes led to new operational standards and recognized financial savings.  

Mike Bailey’s keys to utilizing real time energy use:

-“Seek First to Understand” what drives energy use. 

-Data is not helpful if it is not converted into useful information. 

-Data without systems knowledge is useless. 

-Change and improvement begins and end with people. 

-A willingness to act on new data and make changes.

-Upper management support is critical.

See His Presentation

Wayne Duggan of Apollo Solutions wrapped up the forum with some valuable take-a-ways about incorporating real time energy into a building. He expressed the importance of real time energy systems and equipment that are compatible and able to integrate with each other. He explained the importance of understanding protocol, using systems that are fully programmable and to make things simple.  He stressed the importance of making the system and dashboard information applicable to the building managers and operators who would be utilizing the real time energy data to make changes.

The forum was concluded with a group discussion about themes throughout the presentations and break time conversations. There were several recurring messages throughout the day relating to real time energy data use:

-Simple, clear and actionable energy goals derived from real time data. 
-Importance of meaningful data to drive actions.
-Having a dedicated building(s) energy manager. 
-Organizational teamwork around energy management actions, protocols and plans.   

-Have a plan to incorporate real time energy use into the building system. 

-Data represented visually that can be quickly interpreted. -Ability to think outside the box, view data in different ways to see an issue ina new light. 

 -Ability to adapt and change.


Erica Dunn, Green Hammer

Earl Gray, Honeywell

Bruce Hemmelman, Lutron Electronics

Eric Shimmin, ESC Automation

Mike Bailey, ECOVA

Wayne Duggan, Apollo Solutions

Summer 2013 Forum    

Modernization at  its Finest:   Cutting Edge Energy Efficiency and Management in Major Renovations
Featuring a Tour of the Edith Green Wendell Wyatt Building

May 10, 2013
Portland Energy Conservation, Inc, Portland

The 2013 Oregon APEM Summer Forum was held in the First and Main building with an excellent view of the remodeled Edith Green Wendell Wyatt (EGWW) building. See Project Overview Powerpoint.  Kate Turpin, PE, Integrated Design Specialist SERA Architects, kicked-off the presentations with a detailed overview of the project.  See Her Presentation Pt.1  Pt.2   Matthew Braun, Project Manager Howard S. Wright, and Patrick Brunner, Senior Contracting Officer U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), provided additional insight into the design and construction of the building.   Both presentations provide well rounded view of the project from multiple perspectives.  

The EGWW building was originally constructed in 1974.  It is an 18-story building with two levels of parking consisting of approximately 512,400 square feet.  The remodel was complex, involved multiple parties, and was restricted by multiple federal mandates including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the Energy Independence & Security Act (EISA).   Both Acts mandated minimum efficiency thresholds, which the EGWW is on target to meet.  To meet the aggressive efficiency goals the design had to be approached from multiple angles.  

The design team determined early in the process that energy conservation measures had to be evaluated as a whole rather than piece meal.  An example of holistic thinking involved the shading devices on the exterior of the building and the radiant cooling system.  To make the radiant system successful the shading had to be designed to limit the external heat loads to a level the radiant system could handle.  Theradiant system was important to the design for several reasons.  In addition to reduced energy consumption it had several other benefits including: more rentable floor area due to less mechanical shaft space required, lower construction costs due to fewer penetrations through existing beams, and high ceilings allowing for more daylight penetration.  

The roof space would have allowed for a larger solar array; however due to downtown electrical grid constraints the array was limited to 180 kW. The 25,000 square foot canopy on the roof also collects rain water which is used for toilets, irrigation and the cooling tower.  An old rifle range below the building was converted into a 170,000 gallon cistern.  This allowed a 60% reduction of potable water use.
All tenants will attend a week long symposium to learn about the building and how it operates prior to occupying the building.  The symposium will address topics such as the increased temperature dead band so tenants will be able to dress appropriately.  
The forum wrapped up with a phenomenal tour of the exterior and interior of the Edith Green Wendell Wyatt building.  Many design features were highlighted during the tour including:

  • Efficient T5 lighting was used throughout the facility.  
  • The space where the crane was located was turned into a courtyard that brings light down into the lower levels of the building.  
  • The building did not need many seismic upgrades once the concrete façade was removed.  All the precast concrete panels were ground up and used for roads.  
  • The project was able to divert 79% of the demolition material from the landfill.  A lot of the materials were shipped to Africa.  
  • The whole building was designed with flexibility in mind.  The ceiling panels have 8 inch division between them to allow for walls to be added based on changing occupancy needs.


Kate Turpin, PE, Integrated Design Specialist SERA Architects Presentation 1

Kate Turpin, PE, Integrated Design Specialist SERA Architects Presentation 2

EGWW building


Spring 2013 Forum    

The Building that Teaches
A Case Study of the Integrated Design of LCC’s New Downtown Campus

March 8, 2013
Lane Community College Downtown Campus, Eugene, OR

Tour Host, Randy Nishimura, Robertson Sherwood Architects

Over 90 people attended the Oregon APEM Spring forum held in at the Lane Community College Downtown Center in Eugene this past March, to hear from leaders in our field and take a tour of the state of the art facility.  This building, the new home of LCC’s Energy Management Program, was designed with the following systems:

·         Evacuated tube solar thermal heating array

·         12 kW photovoltaic array which has three different types of panels

·         Triple pane windows

·         Natural ventilation

·         Geo-thermal wells

·         Ground source heating system

·         Daylighting with automated skylight louvers;

·         Rainwater harvesting and green roof.

The forum also featured vendor tables with the manufacturers’ representatives of many of the energy saving products that were installed at the new downtown buildings. The presenters spoke about the entire process, from earliest stages of pre-design to the battles over value-engineering to the post-construction glitches.

Mike Hatten, Principal of SOLARC, started the morning with his presentation, “The Intertwined Energy Modeling Narrative.” It was a detailed discussion about Solarc’s role in the project, which started with early design phase workshops and included detailed hourly energy models to simulate the different design options.  Now Solarc is getting ready to start the final and most exciting stage – monitoring and analyzing the actual performance of the building after the occupants have moved in.

The 90,000 square foot building was completed in 2013, and contains both dormitories and academic sections. From the very early design workshops passive strategies were considered, such as daylighting, natural ventilation, passive cooling and passive heating. These strategies would be needed to lower the building energy use from an EUI of 78 to an EUI in the mid 20’s, which was the target. This low target was chosen to help Lane Community College meet its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.  The building was designed so that if the majority of the roof area is covered with photovoltaic solar panels, the building will be able to match its energy usage with the energy it produces.  Mike mentioned an interesting complication with these future plans; the energy grid in downtown Eugene will need to be upgraded before a solar power array of this size could be installed.

The detailed hourly energy simulation models used the eQuest software to predict the energy use of the entire facility with different systems and envelopes. In addition to using the model to predict the energy use, the model results were also used to assist with the final design. Hot spots and cold spots were identified – these are the rooms that would be the most difficult to keep occupants comfortable in. The different factors that largely contribute to the heating and cooling loads were analyzed on a component by component basis, allowing the architect to consider different design options.  A strategic look at the results helped determine which areas should be modified for increased performance through brainstorming sessions with experienced professionals.

Many of the design strategies were implemented, including such passive strategies as using concrete floors and walls (thermal mass) to act as a heat sink to help regulate interior temperature.  For the design strategies that were incorporated into the final design, the project received funding from the Oregon Department of Energy, the Energy Trust of Oregon, and EWEB (Eugene Water and Electric Board). In addition the building was constructed with multiple HVAC systems, so that it can be used as a living laboratory for students at the school.

The Academic building is predicted to have a EUI of 25, which is about half of what the current energy code would permit. The Academic building is predicted to save most of this energy from space heating, and significant savings (in decreasing order) from high efficiency lights, ventilation fans, pumps, domestic hot water, and elevator; the building is predicted to use more than code stipulated energy for the space cooling. See His Presentation

Roger Ebbage, LCC Energy Management Program Director gave a presentation focused on the development of this facility, and emphasizing how students will be able to use the facility in their education. The students attending LCC’s Energy Management program will be able to monitor the actual bills, compare actual energy use to the predicted energy use, and monitor the systems to see where they are performing differently than the model predicted. This will be of great value to the students, and to the industry as a whole, to be able to monitor an actual building in detail with college student labor, and use the findings to refine the energy models on individual zones and systems.

Jon Wiener, architect at SRG Architects, then gave a presentation about the integrated design approach. In addition to working with an energy efficiency consultant (SOLARC), the architect for this project also worked with the University of Oregon Daylighting Lab, Structural Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, Electrical Engineers, and Lighting Designers. Jon pointed out that even with all the design features of the downtown campus, it was built at a cost below the average commercial building cost, on a per square foot basis. See His Presentation

Mark Brune, engineer at PAE Engineers, then gave the final presentation about the Mechanical Basis of Design. From the early stages in 2010, the owner was committed to building “A Building that Teaches” so it could be used for the Energy Students to understand the various types of HVAC systems. Eight different systems are installed in the academic area, giving students a wonderful hands-on learning environment to learn all about packaged AC, a VAV Box with hot water reheat, radiant panels, fan coils, water to air heat pump, fan powered VAV box, displacement ventilation. See His Presentation

The envelope of the building features skylights, automated windows, automated louvers, exterior sun shades, daylight reflectors. There is natural ventilation incorporated through operable windows and dampers throughout the four floors. The path of the airflow is different on each of the four floors, and they are different between the east and south wings. Some air is exhausted out attic ventilators, and some are exhausted out the top of the glass atrium through a natural chimney effect.

There are two condenser loops that are the primary source of heating in the building. Each loop is connected to the geothermal wells – so that the earth can be used to provide heat in the winter, and provide cooling in the summer. The geo-wells are about 340 feet deep. There is also an evacuated solar tube array mounted to the side of the glass atrium.  This array provides shade for the atrium and it also provides hot water that can be used for space heating by supplementing the condenser loop of the water-to-water heat pumps.

The day wrapped up with a tour of the building led by members of the design team.  Randy Nishimura from Robertson Sherwood Architects led one group, while the other was led by Mike Sager from Lease Crutcher Lewis.  The tours provided the attendees with the opportunity to view design elements up close and to ask more questions.  Some interesting features of the tour included viewing the natural light diffusers in the classrooms, the central plant, the Energy Management Program’s HVAC Lab, the photovoltaic array and green roof, and playing with the skylight louvers. 


Mike Hatten, Principal of SOLARC

Roger Ebbage, LCC Energy Management Program Director

Mark Brune, PAE Engineers