Making Older Buildings Better
How do you fix old, existing buildings that have become less energy efficient and are providing poor thermal comfort? Retro-commissioning, which is a process that improves the energy efficiency of a building and allows it to operate as the Owner intended, can help. Through the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) Energy Conservation Investment Program (ECIP), EEA performed retro-commissioning on 7 high-energy use buildings and central energy plants on base at Fort Polk. The goal was to reduce energy costs, improve occupant comfort, and identify and correct malfunctioning HVAC system components.
A Process for Improvement
The retro-commissioning process at Fort Polk in Louisiana included the following activities:
- Detailed site investigations to assess existing conditions
- Functional performance testing of mechanical equipment
- Implementing optimization strategies to better control existing equipment
- Measurement and verification of optimization energy savings
- Identification of capital energy conservation measures with the potential for tremendous energy savings
Overall, the project is expected to save approximately $140,000 per year in utility costs once full implementation is complete. Another estimated $450,000 in annual savings has been identified for potential future energy projects. In addition to energy savings, inoperable mechanical equipment was replaced and thermal comfort was improved for several of the buildings.