Implementing OptiCx™ platform with OptimumLOOP™ nearly doubles chiller plant output while increasing reliability of the IBBR facility, a University System of Maryland joint research enterprise.
Cutting energy use in research labs is notoriously tough. But when the state of Maryland committed in 2011 to aggressively reducing its energy consumption—20 percent by 2020 James Johnson knew he had to find a way to make the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR) more efficient. Calling the 110,000-square-foot facility “as big an energy pig as there was out there,” Johnson, IBBR’s director of facilities and lab services, took a close look at the environmental stabilization plant.
The mandate gave Johnson the opportunity to upgrade plant equipment in 2014. When he started the optimization project, the plant was consuming energy at 0.9 kW/ton and operating at just 50 percent output. In the first year of optimization, IBBR’s plant cut energy use by an average of 30 percent while almost doubling its output.
“Optimum is different. I’ve got a plant that is running at absolute maximum efficiency.” James Johnson, director of facilities and lab services
Challenge: Increasing the efficiency of a new plant
When Maryland charged Johnson with reducing energy consumption, the environmental stabilization plant was only five years old and had few operational maintenance issues. So Johnson reviewed plant components. Consulting with engineers from Optimum Energy, he found that optimizing each piece of equipment individually, as part of the whole system, could increase the plant’s overall efficiency considerably.
Solution: Optimum Energy OptimumLOOP
IBBR converted to an all-variable flow plant, with Optimum Energy’s OptiCx™ platform as the optimization and control layer. OptimumLOOP™ calculates the most efficient operation of the entire chilled water system and optimizes plant performance in real time, dynamically adapting to changes in load, weather, and occupancy to yield the lowest possible kW/ton while maintaining the optimal lab temperature.
Result: Almost twice the energy for the same cost
When Johnson began looking at a plant optimization solution, IBBR’s environmental stabilization plant was running at about 50 percent output. After running at full optimization for about a year, the facility has increased to 90 percent output—and its energy consumption remained flat.