CSE interviews Johnson Controls on Empire State Building retrofits

Long-term capital and retrofit planning enable "right steps in right order" as the "big Aha!"

04/06/2009


Immediately following the news release of the Empire State Building retrofit project by the project team, Consulting-Specifying Engineer ’s editor-in-chief, Michael Ivanovich, conducted a 15-min. telephone interview with Clay Nesler, vice president of global energy and sustainability, Johnson Controls, soon after the announcement of the energy retrofit program for the Empire State Building . Here are notes from the interview.

CSE: What is the benchmark energy use per sq foot for the ESB, and what is the ESB’s starting Energy Star rating ?
Nesler: The ESB is using energy at 84 kbtu/sq ft per year in electricity and steam. The steam is pulled from utility steam lines; not made by an onsite boiler. The initial Energy Star rating is 59, so going from 59 to 90 will be quite an achievement.

CSE: The ESBsustainability.com Website, which was developed to
Nesler: Half the energy savings will come from common areas and half from tenant spaces. We’ve developed software to help tenants select energy efficient designs, with options that include occupancy-based ventilation and even individual comfort control. There are some pre-built tenant spaces so prospective tenants can see what can be done and how much energy can be saved. One new tenant (Skanska USA) is coming in will be going for LEED Platinum for LEED for commercial interiors. (Editors note: More information about Skanska’s green initiative and move into the Empire State Building online at the company’s website .)

CSE: How can the ESB project long-term energy savings if so much of the energy will be based on what tenants select?
Nesler: A lot of tenant space savings includes the glazing and radiator measures, and energy savings from the AHUs. These are not optional savings.

CSE: How were the chillers upgraded?
Nesler: We upgraded motors and installed VSDs. Some chillers are electric; others are steam-driven. These are York chillers. York has been in the Empire State Building since the 1950’s. (Editors note: Johnson Controls acquired York International in 2005).

CSE: Tell me about the controls upgrade.
Nesler: We’re installing DDCs and upgrading to manage the chillers and the AHUs supporting tenant space. We’re also installing an IT-based middleware system to interface with energy meters on a floor by floor basis. The goal is to provide information to tenants, most/many of which are floor-level tenants. Customizable dashboards will allow tenants to set energy-use goals and track consumption against the goals as often as they wish. They’ll also be able to look at trends and to access links to tips for reducing energy use.

CSE: I made quick visit to the online information at www.esbsustainability.com . I commend the openness of this project. Who put the Web site together and who will maintain it?
Nesler: Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)is running the Website, but the whole project team contributed.

CSE: What else did RMI do for the project?
Nesler: RMI brought the whole-building design expertise, and used creative; charettes (project meetings) involving Johnson Controls and other partners. They identified the minimum energy use benchmark for the building and worked collaboratively with the team to get us to where we ended up getting to. They were often the provocateur, challenging us to save more.

CSE: What’s the one thing about the project that you think consulting-engineers should know about?
Nesler: The big AHA was to link retrofit designs to capital plans. This enables saving energy more cost-effectively over the long term. For example, insulating windows to drop cooling loads so can upgrade chillers rather than add new ones. Taking the “right steps in the right order” helps in an environment where owners or tenants are changing. This isn’t often done on commercial buildings.

Note: Following the interview, I found that of the $20 million investment, $13.2 million was incremental cost over infrastructure upgrades that needed to happen anyway. The project team estimates that the payback based on $4.4 million investment will be 3.1 years.

Also, a fact sheet provided after the interview had these building and energy facts:

- Building Gross Square Footage = 2,575,565 sq. ft.
-Current Building Energy Cost (excluding broadcasting) = $11.4 million ($4.42/sq. ft.)
- Current Building Annual Energy Use = 84 kBtu/sq. ft./yr (includes electricity & steam)
- Current Building Peak kW = 9,949 kW (3.86 W/sq. ft.); typically occurs in July or August
- Current Building Peak Cooling = 4,770 tons (540 sq. ft./ton); typically occurs in July or August





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.