Case Studies

University of Virginia

, United States
Colleges / Universities

The Challenge

  • Reduce energy consumption and costs
  • Improve occupant comfort in classrooms, administrative/faculty offices and lodging guest rooms
  • Improve functionality and operability of HVAC systems installed in ten-building complex

The Players
At the University of Virginia’s top-ranked Darden School of Business, environmental sustainability isn’t merely a classroom topic; it’s key to the school’s business perspective. In 2008, Darden established a bold vision: to be a zero waste, carbon neutral entity by 2020 as well as a top ten business school for teaching and research on sustainability by 2013. (To that end, Darden is home to the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability [ARCS], a collaboration of institutions, primarily business schools, from more than a dozen leading universities.)

To achieve its vision, Darden began with a rigorous evaluation of its own operations and practices. Focusing on its extensive physical plant, the school contracted Automated Logic’s Virginia branch (formerly AERO Integrated Solutions) to re-commission its HVAC systems and provide ongoing maintenance support.

The Solution
Through AERO, Automated Logic has provided building control solutions to Darden since the school’s move to its current facility in 1995 and subsequent expansion in 2002. In February 2010, Darden implemented AERO’s Energy CARE (Commit, Assess, Reduce, and Envison) Package, customized for its ten-building complex comprising the school, faculty and administrative offices and guest lodging.

The Story
A number of Energy Conservation Measures were immediately performed on the physical plant including fan sequence modifications; night setbacks; chiller system sequencing; economizer repairs; optimization of all air handling units; cooling tower reconfiguration; and systems continuous commissioning, including performance testing, tuning, documentation and reporting. The work was performed with no major disruption to activities during occupied hours at the school, which operates year-round.

Performance data is generated through the EnergyReports™ application, the reporting tool integrated with Automated Logic’s WebCTRL® system, and energy reduction is being tracked and profiled by ENERGY STAR®, calculated to a 2009 baseline. Electrical reductions in the chiller plant and motor reductions on the air handling units account for the greatest proportion of energy savings.

Results for FY 2011 (July 2010 – June 2011) are impressive: Darden reduced real energy costs by $57,000 over the FY 2009 baseline, weather-normalized to $94,000 after temperature extremes are factored in.

“The year (2010) was exceptionally hot, and Darden’s system demands were higher, but energy savings were still achieved without significant changes to setpoints and building schedules,” remarked Automated Logic’s Dan Knox, PE, CEM, LEED AP. The Energy Solutions Manager visits the school several times a month to consult on commissioning activities, maintenance issues and procurement practices.

“Automated Logic has definitely improved the efficiency of our systems,” noted Gary Wood, the University’s Zone Manager responsible for maintenance and housekeeping at Darden and several other campus installations. Wood added that both a HVAC mechanic and a WebCTRL® workstation are assigned to the school.

“Re-commissioning seemed like a good path,” added Erika Herz, Manager of Sustainability Programs and ARCS’s Managing Director. “We interviewed a lot of companies that could help us with our energy efficiency goals. But we’ve worked with Dan and Automated Logic for years, and Kristy (Schomaker, LEED AP O+M) has helped us think through how we can communicate the process. It also enables us to take advantage of Automated Logic’s newer services.”

Of the five areas Darden identified for its sustainability efforts – conservation, energy efficiency, energy production, energy purchasing and carbon offsets – energy efficiency investments like re-commissioning activities “are among the least costly things we can do,” Herz concluded.

Controls ContractorAutomated Logic Corporation