Encycle Blog

Robert Palmer

Recent Posts

Saving Energy Earns You Money

Posted by Robert Palmer on Sep 22, 2017 10:04:32 AM

Keeping up with all the changes occurring in the electric utility industry these days can become rather bewildering. Not only are of dozens of new “smart” and “connected” gadgets available (e.g., thermostats and meters), but also at least as many new, uber-cool software technologies for managing your energy use. And pricing structures for utility rates are also in a state of flux. For example, the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) recently adopted radically new pricing structures for residential users and will surely be modifying industrial and commercial rate structures as well.

Generalizing what’s happening in California to the rest of the country, it looks like time-of-use (TOU) pricing is really becoming a “thing.” TOU pricing is similar to “demand” pricing, but is also distinctly different. TOU pricing rates vary based on the time of day and season, which more closely reflects the actual time-varying cost of electricity. It usually has a three-tier daily rate structure as well as seasonal rates.

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, HVAC efficiency, HVAC Control, energy savings, building energy efficiency

Lessons Learned: HVAC Readiness: Can You Handle the Heat?

Posted by Robert Palmer on Aug 23, 2017 8:10:00 AM

One of the key concerns of building facility managers is whether their HVAC systems can maintain building comfort on even the warmest days. Often, the path of least resistance is the one they are most likely to tread - embracing the all-too-common philosophy of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” For HVAC systems in general, however, and rooftop units (RTUs) in particular, this may be very bad advice.

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Topics: HVAC efficiency, HVAC Control, building energy management, HVAC maintenance

Building a Baseline for Measuring HVAC Energy Savings

Posted by Robert Palmer on Jun 8, 2017 9:16:00 AM

 

Maybe you’ve been noticing with alarm the increase in your company’s electric utility bills over the past months, and perhaps you’re also becoming more carbon footprint conscious. Maybe you’re even the plant facilities engineer and have been told that you simply must do something to reduce utility costs. So what does a smart, responsible person do? 

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, HVAC efficiency, Building automation, building energy management, energy savings

Staggered Starts for RTUs Save Money

Posted by Robert Palmer on May 25, 2017 8:30:00 AM

In commercial and industrial facilities, rooftop units (RTUs) are usually turned off or greatly curtailed during unoccupied periods, for example, overnight and/or on weekends. Unfortunately, too little attention is given to the schedule RTUs are programmed for restart. If the desired setpoint is reached too early, energy is wasted, while reaching it too late adversely affects occupant comfort. Optimizing RTU start times means programming each RTU so as to reach its desired space temperature setpoint at the intended time. However, many facility managers fail to appreciate the energy and cost savings benefits of optimizing their HVAC startup schedule and simply program RTU start times to ensure they start early enough to guarantee the setpoints are reached before start of business.

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, HVAC efficiency, HVAC Control, Building automation, building energy management, Rooftop Units, RTUs