Posts by: Edward Ritter, PE, LEED AP, CxA

Retro-Commissioning – A Brief Case Study

Barton Associates recently retro-commissioned an air handler for a hospital client. The retro-commissioning process typically starts with a review of the Building Automation System (BAS). A graphic screen shot from the subject air handler is shown above. There is a lot of information on this screen, but focus on the basic information circled in red

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Control Your Energy Costs

A recent survey of 35 senior living communities in the Mid-Atlantic region found energy usage varied between 50,000 and 160,000 Btu per square foot per year of total energy usage. Total annual energy costs per square foot ranged from a high of $2.83 to a low of $0.88. Energy is one of the most significant

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Retro-Commissioning Results

The graph demonstrates the results of retro-commissioning for one rooftop unit. The retro-commissioning authority found improper damper operation in economizer mode. Instead of fully opening the outdoor air damper to provide free cooling, the actuator fully closed the outdoor air damper and provided 100% return air to the space. Mechanical cooling was required at an

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Energy Benchmarking

Approximately 40% of all US energy used in the United States is consumed by buildings making it the largest single category of energy use.   If you are responsible for operating or maintaining one or more buildings, you have some experience in budgeting for the energy usage required to keep your buildings operating.  You may have

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Documented Costs & Benefits of Building Commissioning

“Commissioning is one of the most potent and yet least understood strategies for managing energy use, costs, and associated greenhouse gas emissions in the buildings sector.” – Evan Mills, Ph.D. Building owners and managers often ask what are the costs and benefits of building commissioning. A report completed by Evan Mills, Ph.D. of the Lawrence

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Defining Owner’s Project Requirements

There are generally three reasons to consider a construction project for your organization: Modifications to existing space to accommodate shifting business requirements, improve energy efficiency and reduce operating costs Expansion of existing buildings to accommodate growth or program changes New construction to support growth plans and address market needs. No matter the reason for the

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Contracting for Maintenance Mechanical and Electrical Services

Service contractors can be a vital resource to anyone charged with building management.  They can provide flexible labor to supplement in-house staff during peak work periods and often offer a higher level of expertise in areas where in-house staff may have limited knowledge. Once you have identified the annual maintenance tasks required for your facility

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Part II: Do You Know Your Controls Service Provider?

As summarized in last month’s e-Engineer, it is important to understand your technician’s level of expertise (and possible limitations) as well as to make sure a few key items are included in your service contract. In addition, your control service provider should offer certain value-added services to make sure you are receiving the best possible

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How a Minor Manufacturing Defect Could Cause Major Problems for Your System’s Cooling Tower

During a recent commissioning study conducted on a cooling tower, Barton Associates found a manufacturing defect in the system’s factory panel wiring that could have caused the owner significant problems. The PLC output wiring for the high speed and low speed fan drives had been inadvertently switched by the manufacturer. This mistake would have caused

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Sustainable Facility Design and Operation

Climate change, environmental impacts and high energy costs have become significant concerns for individuals and businesses nationwide. Sustainable design can reduce these negative impacts and offer benefits such as: Improved working environment for building occupants Increased occupancy rates Decreased operating costs The United States Green Building Council has developed a system called Leadership in Energy

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