Innovative Practices Deliver Impressive Energy Results

For PENTA's John Welch, building operations are more an art than a science.

Delivering truly significant energy conservation requires an innovative approach to building system management. At one of his buildings, the ENERGY STAR score increased 80% to a score of 92, while achieving a 38% reduction in energy usage. John's unconventional program may add nearly $4 million in value (at an 8% CAP rate) at a Class A, 425,000-square-foot building in the Buckhead submarket of Atlanta.

In search of no-cost energy reductions

The initial effort primarily involved typical energy conservation measures including lighting retrofits and achieved a 3% reduction in energy and a reduction in electric utility costs of $0.06 per square foot annually.

Conversion to peak performance

A more aggressive plan to optimize building performance began in August 2009. By creating a baseline building profile. PENTA's John Welch then reconfigured the building control system and the HVAC equipment on each floor to obtain the optimum HVAC settings. John's program monitors actual tenant usage and heat load to achieve these results. Throughout the process the building was able to maintain a high level of tenant comfort and satisfaction.

This custom approach to operating each floor permits a fluid operation where the building "drifts" to a single point of optimization. Drifting must occur very slowly and in precise increments throughout the day and weeks in order to be effective. John cautions, however, that all buildings are different based on their design and usage. Incorrectly applying his program could have a negative impact and actually result in increased energy usage. This is the fourth building where he has successfully applied this program with similar results.

Results to date at one property 2009-2010

  • Decreased equipment run times resulted in up to 45% less kWh usage. (Utility company data)
  • Tenant satisfaction also improved, with 64% fewer hot and cold calls in a 90-day period versus the same period in 2009. (Independent 3rd party tenant survey)
  • When applied correctly the program saved $300,000 annual in energy costs, or $0.71 per square foot. (Information provided by property owner). See table below illustrating 2009 vs. 2010 electric costs.

Penta Energy Savings

  • Building was projected to be 100% occupied by the 2nd quarter of 2011!
    By keeping operating costs low, the property had a $0.71 per sq ft leasing advantage over surrounding properties.
    (Feedback from leasing agent)
  • Delivered an Energy Star Label and assisted in LEED accreditation.
    (80% increase in Energy Star score)
  • Significant increase in tenant retention.
    (Based on lease renewals 2010)

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