When Broward Health needed to boost effieincy at its flagship medical centre, it turned to Entic
Broward Health has been operating in south Florida for more than 70 years, and one of the 10 largest health systems in the US.
The organisation began implementing building automation technology in its flagship Broward Health Medical Center, a 1.2 million sq ft, 716-bed facility, in the mid-1990s using manufacturer and contractor experience.
However, by 2006 the central energy plant had amassed a history of incidents that were difficult to diagnose and correct, and the decision was made to take the facility into full manual control.
Entic, which specialises in HVAC chiller plant optimisation for commercial and industrial facilities and claims energy savings of up to 40 per cent through its proprietary, cloud-based technology, was invited in for a meeting.
The invite came from Larry Harrell, Facilities Services for BHMC, and an industry veteran with more than 34 years of HVAC experience. He says: “[Entic] started asking probing questions, and it was obvious they knew what they were talking about.”
Entic claims its technology integrates with all standard building management systems and HVAC infrastructures, and can be implemented in a little as 90 days, providing office buildings, hospitals, hotels and other large facilities with a typical investment payback of 12 to 18 months.
The company’s solutions use continuous, real-time analytics to automate precise corrections and improve performance and economy.
Having earned Mr Harrell’s trust, both parties agreed to brainstorm, and soon got to work implementing Entic’s HVAC analytics solution, called BITS (building intelligence technology solution).
“They spent a lot of time with me. It was more of a partnership approach. They weren’t just trying to sell me something. Then they showed me the HVAC analytics piece and I said, ‘That’s what I’m looking for’,” says Mr Harrell.
The initial approach was to use analytics to understand the system’s true performance, and through this approach it was discovered that the chillers were not achieving the kilowatts per ton (kW/ton) for which they were rated – a serious problem that had probably cost Broward Health over $1 million in excess energy use since installation.
The optimisation process comprised of three broad steps: analyse, stabilise and optimise using the company’s BITS technology.
This integrates with any building management system to gather real-time mechanical and environmental data, and uses predictive energy optimisation analytics at the chiller and airside level to maximise HVAC efficiency. And importantly for a hospital, throughout the process, the system’s operations were not interrupted.
Broward Health has 85 per cent of the building under automation, and it continues to use BITS to monitor its plant’s health and energy consumption and identify issues for correction.
These steps, to date, have resulted in over $250,000 (£164,000) in energy savings in just one year for Broward Health, including $30,000 (£19,700) in November 2012 alone.
Mr Harrell says: “This is the wave of the future. Entic acts as my eyes on the system. You have your hand on the heartbeat of the plant and the hospital’s energy usage. It tells you how your system is designed and how it is running. You can turn things off remotely, troubleshoot from a mechanical standpoint, and see where you can save money. The rewards are endless.”
In line with design
Looking forward, Entic’s chief executive Manny Rosendo believes the most important benefit for Broward Health is the visibility of efficiency (or inefficiency) on certain pieces of HVAC equipment. The continuous monitoring ensures that a plant’s true performance is in line with its original design standards.
This type of tracking allows cost-saving analysis to be conducted, and components to be adjusted as needed to maintain optimum energy efficiency.
Mr Rosendo says that the future of energy efficiency for HVAC systems is about leapfrogging – seeing the road ahead in terms of where the bigger and broader technology innovations will be, and making the preparations and investments now to be there.
“Entic’s vision is clear – to continue providing energy savings to its clients and build a foundation of efficiency for years to come.
“The types of issues found at Broward Health Medical Center are going to be typical across large-scale commercial and industrial buildings. Through our analytics we’re able to see exactly how the plants are truly operating and optimise accordingly,” says Mr Rosendo.
He adds: “We don’t sell equipment, we sell efficiency, and we stick around as your partner. We monitor your targets and commit our resources to maintaining that efficiency.
“Broward Health is a great partner because they are truly committed to getting to the source of the issue and solving real problems. And that’s what we want to do as well.”