Industry: Commercial Real Estate
Locations with EIS: New York and Washington, DC
- Visibility into real-time energy data
- Reduced operational expenses
- Effective measurement and verification of capital projects
- High ENERGY STAR scores
Jamestown Properties has more than 30 years’ experience investing and managing Class A real estate. Their holdings currently include the Times Tower in Times Square, New York, and Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco. An integral part of the company’s investment strategy is sustainability; they actively seek to improve energy efficiency at each phase of investment. As of 2013 Jamestown had eight properties with LEED certification either completed or underway. With such an express focus on energy efficiency, Jamestown is keen on having a detailed, consistent view into how their buildings are consuming energy. They rely on EnerNOC’s energy intelligence software (EIS) to give them real-time visibility and actionable summaries of their energy use.
The Value of Real-Time Data
Access to real-time data helped Ed Bassford, Operations Manager at one of Jamestown Properties’ Class A commercial buildings in Washington DC, save thousands of dollars on a simple operational mistake.
Each morning, a report lands in Bassford’s email inbox that details his building’s energy consumption the day before through a simple, clear line graph. Plotted on that graph is a second line showing how much energy the building had used that same day last year. “I learned a lot about my buildings from looking at the software,” explained Bassford, who’s been using EIS for the past two years.
Bassford spends a minute looking at the graph each morning. He now knows his building inside out, so just by looking at the previous day’s load curve he can determine right away if there’s something off about the usage pattern. If he wants even more detailed information about how his building used energy throughout the day, he can log in to EnerNOC and zoom in to see usage in five-minute intervals. Which means if there’s an unexpected spike or dip in usage, he can easily figure out almost exactly the moment it began and how much excess energy was used before sending his facilities team to investigate.
Bassford’s building is LEED Gold certified and designed to achieve a high ENERGY STAR rating, so immediately detecting any sort of drift towards inefficiency is extremely important for maintaining the building ENERGY STAR rating. Bassford and his savvy team are constantly improving the building’s operational efficiency, so having a year-to-date comparison at his fingertips every morning lets Bassford get an overall feel for whether their latest measure is actually reducing consumption and how much energy they’re saving. “Watching peaks, usage, and start-ups helps a lot with improving our ENERGY STAR scores,” said Bassford.
Uncovering an Inefficiency
In January 2014, Bassford began noticing an energy spike around 1:00 a.m. every night. His building management system (BMS) wasn’t reporting any mechanical abnormalities, and his building seemed to be operating fine, but every evening the building’s load would drop from around 700 kilowatts (kW) to 200 kW, only to bounce back up to 350 kW in the middle of the night. Bassford’s only visibility into this—which Jamestown Properties was paying for on their monthly utility bills— was the energy intelligence software he used to monitor his building’s operations.
To figure out where the wasted energy use emanated from, Bassford simply deployed a member of his facilities night staff to walk through the building around the time the energy spike was occurring. “It drove us to go in there at night and find out what was happening,” explained Bassford. “We do midnight inspections, but we do them quarterly. So this got us a couple months ahead of the curve.”
They discovered that the BMS optimal start strategy had a fault in the firmware, resulting in a six hour “optimal start” period to have the eighth floor at temperature in time for the 8:00 a.m. scheduled occupancy. Because this was a firmware issue, the BMS would never have registered it as an abnormality. To get that insight required real-time energy data. This simple operational fix has resulted in annual cost savings of $14,300.
Now Bassford and his site engineers share a mutual understanding of the reports they get from EnerNOC’s EIS.
Bassford is able to rely on his engineers to spot issues and address them quickly, allowing him to focus on other pressing work. Whenever he wants, he can easily check consumption at any of his sites—or his entire portfolio all at once—to ensure they’re operating at maximum efficiency.
Better Measurement and Verification
Prior to the sale of Jamestown’s 530 Fifth Avenue property in New York City, the operations team used EnerNOC’s energy intelligence software (EIS) as a measurement and verification (M&V) tool to measure the return on investment (ROI) of capital projects completed in the building. The team follows a procedure called the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IMPVP), the most widely used M&V procedure for Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) projects, to calculate savings associated with energy efficiency projects.
The team at 530 Fifth Avenue was active in pursuing energy efficiency through equipment upgrades such as replacing two air handling units with models that include variable frequency drives (VFDs) and tie into the building management system (BMS), replacing cooling towers, and adding VFDs to condenser water pumps. Because the Jamestown team replaced entire pieces of equipment rather than make small changes, they wanted to ensure they accurately calculated the ROI from these investments.
Using EIS and the detailed energy data that the software had collected prior to the implementation of these energy efficiency measures (EEMs), the EnerNOC energy advisor helped the Jamestown team establish a baseline expectation for energy use that normalized for any effects of weather and occupancy. The Jamestown team compared their energy usage against this baseline to quantify the true impact of EEMs completed at the property.
Rather than using less-accurate data like monthly utility bills and degree days to generate static estimates of the energy savings they achieved, EnerNOC’s EIS and advisor give the Jamestown team a precisely calculated baseline that automatically updates itself on a daily basis. Moreover, because that baseline is housed in the EnerNOC software, anyone on the Jamestown team with a login to the application can access the baseline data and the M&V capabilities it provides.
By leveraging the EIS data and capabilities, the Jamestown team not only saved significant time and resources in completing the M&V process, but they also arrived at a more accurate assessment of the energy and financial savings from their investments in energy efficiency. The team saved 594,852 kwh and $151,627 during Jamestown’s hold of the property, and also reduced the annual operating cost of the building by $145,115 going forward.