During the mid-1990s, Broward Health began implementing building-automation technology in its 1.2-million-sq-ft, 716-bed flagship, Broward Health Medical Center (BHMC) in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. By 2006, the central energy plant had amassed a history of incidents that were difficult to diagnose and correct.

Larry Harrell, MSM, of BHMC’s Facilities Services department, sought help from Entic, the Pembroke Pines, Fla.-based provider of cloud-based analytics and optimization technology designed to help commercial and industrial facilities achieve peak HVAC performance.

Designed to gain the insight necessary to achieve superior energy-consumption performance, Entic’s standard chiller-plant-optimization approach consists of four broad steps—capture, analyze, act, and learn—with its proprietary HVAC analytics solution, BITS, playing an integral part in the process.

BITS integrates with any building-management system to gather mechanical and environmental data and uses comprehensive mathematical models to process thousands of data points and operational variables via a secure Internet connection. It uses predictive analytics at the chiller and air-side levels to calculate annual energy savings, measure achievable peak performance, monitor plant health and efficiency, detect issues, and generate alerts.

Almost immediately, the system discovered the chillers were not achieving the kilowatts per ton for which they were rated, a serious problem that had probably cost BHMC more than $1 million in excess energy use since installation.

“We would not have discovered the problem with the chillers without this new system in place,” Harrell said.

Today, 85 percent of BHMC is automated. BITS continues to be used to monitor the plant’s health and energy consumption and identify issues for correction. BHMC saved $311,000 the first year.

“Entic is my eyes on the system,” Harrell said. “You have your hand on the heartbeat of the plant and the hospital’s energy usage. Entic tells you how your system is designed and how it is running. You can turn things off remotely, troubleshoot from a mechanical standpoint, and see where you can save money.”

The most important benefit, according to Entic Chief Executive Officer Manny Rosendo, is the visibility of equipment efficiency. Continuous monitoring ensures a plant’s performance is in line with its design intent. This type of tracking allows the performance of cost-saving analysis and the adjustment of components.

“We don’t sell equipment; we sell efficiency, and we stick around as your partner,” Rosendo said. “We monitor your targets and commit our resources to maintaining that efficiency. BHMC is a great partner because they are truly committed to getting to the source of the issue and solving real problems. And that’s what we want to do as well.”

 

Fast Facts

• 6,000-ton chiller plant

• Average load: 3,500 tons

• Pre-project performance: 1.15 kW per ton

• Post-project performance: 0.85 kW per ton

• 26-percent HVAC energy reduction

• First-year savings: $311,000

• Payback: 14 months

 

For Design Solutions author guidelines, call Scott Arnold, executive editor, at 216-931-9980, or write to him at scott.arnold@penton.com.