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January 2019 Newsletter

Updated: Jun 13, 2019

It's the start of a new year which means there is no better time to commit to energy efficiency. Make your home, community, or office space smarter and more sustainable with the help of 360 Energy Group. Visit our website by clicking the button below to see how we can help you stay on track with your 2019 energy efficiency goals!

Common Retro-Commissioning Findings

Rather than seeking out capital improvements such as lighting upgrades or equipment retrofits, retro-commissioning (RCx) looks for operational energy saving opportunities. By assessing your existing equipment, a retro-commissioning study will optimize the use, comfort, and energy consumption of your building. To get a better understanding of how retro-commissioning works, our 360EG staff compiled a round up of some of the most common implementation measures we see. Whether it's a municipal building, school, or police department, we know there's always room for improvement.

Your HVAC is operating during unoccupied hours: Scheduling measures are very important when it comes to retro-commissioning, and even just one faulty sensor can throw off the schedules you have in place. Let's say we're doing a retro-commissioning study on a library. If the library opens at 9 a.m and the cleaning crew comes in at 7 a.m. there is no need for the HVAC to be starting up at 3 a.m. This is a simple fix that can be resolved by rescheduling your building automation system.

Your economizers are not working correctly: When operating correctly, an air-side economizer is a great energy efficient component of your HVAC system. Economizers use dampers to let in outside air when the temperature is low enough to cool the building without the mechanical cooling process. If the economizer is not working correctly, the dampers are either remaining open and letting in hot outside air, or remaining closed and relying on the mechanical cooling process entirely. A retro-commissioning study will take a deep look into your building systems to uncover mechanical issues such as this one.

Lights powering on during unoccupied hours: Similar to the HVAC scheduling example above, your lights might be programmed the same way. A faulty sensor or a less than optimal building schedule could be the culprit. Since these issues arise when no one is in the building, you may not be aware of the wasted energy.

Chilled water supply temperature reset not implemented: A chilled water supply temperature reset is an energy saving measure designed for water cooled chillers. Instead of keeping the chilled water supply temperature at a fixed setpoint, this measure monitors the outdoor temperature and adjusts the chiller's cooling coils on a supply and demand basis.

Start your year off right by scheduling your own retro-commissioning study. Call 312-265-3971 to make lowering your energy costs the most important resolution of 2019.

Do You Know Which LED Bulbs are Right for Your Space?

Switching out your fluorescent or incandescent bulbs for LEDs will save you energy and money, but do you know which bulbs are right for your space? Don’t spend the time and money completing this update without first assessing your facility’s lighting needs. For larger entities, it is important that you are using commercial grade LEDs. Commercial grade lighting is not only specifically designed for the long usage it will endure in your facility, but these bulbs are generally more durable and equipped with longer lasting warranties.

One of the most important measures to think of when starting a lighting project is how bright you want the bulbs to be. With older incandescent bulbs, wattage was a good indicator of a bulb’s brightness. That is no longer the case. Instead of looking at the number of watts a bulb has, look for the number of lumens. While a watt measures how much energy a bulb uses, a lumen measures the amount of light visible to the human eye. For example, if you previously bought 75-watt incandescent bulbs, its LED equivalent today would use anywhere from 6-11 watts while emitting around 1100 lumens. This means your LEDs will use less energy to produce more light. In order to determine how many lumens you need, take a look at what you currently have. Replace a 40W bulb with 450 lumens, a 60W bulb with 800 lumens, a 75W bulb with 1100 lumens and a 100W bulb with 1600 lumens.

Another measurement you should be familiar with when picking out your bulbs is the Kelvin rating. The Kelvin rating gives you an idea of what color temperature your bulb will emit ranging from yellow to white to blue. For a warmer light appearance that’s similar to an incandescent bulb, you’ll want to look for a Kelvin rating between 2700K – 3000K. For white light that’s proven to promote focus, you’ll need to find a Kelvin rating between 3500K – 4100K. For a blue light that mimics natural daylight, you’ll want to look for a Kelvin rating between 5000K – 6500K. For most office buildings and municipalities, you will most likely be looking for something in between that white and blue range.

Not sure how to get started on your LED upgrade? Call 360 Energy Group at 312-265-3971.

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