361,805 sq. ft. office building in Portland, OR
1) Compared two supply fans for the north and south sides of the building to detect anomalies that could impact tenant comfort; 2) Identified ways to reduce total and peak demand charges for chillers; 3) Verified impact of garage exhaust fan upgrade, showing a 50% reduction in demand

“Verdigris is a great tool, it gives me the energy data transparency I need to make sure there are no issues that will impact the comfort of my tenants. The comparison data is great because it helps me show ownership that the savings we estimated match the actual savings we’re getting from energy efficient upgrades.”
— Matt Bryant, Chief Operations Manager, Block 300, JLL

The Challenge

JLL is a global leader in real estate services, with over 4.6B square feet in property and facility management. Their commitment to sustainability runs deep, as they recognize that over 40% of total carbon emissions come from the built environment. In 2019, JLL announced plans to cut their carbon emissions by 70%, and even more importantly to partner with clients on their sustainability efforts as well.

At JLL’s Block 300 property in downtown Portland, OR, the management team lacked visibility into the day-to-day operations of the building. Although the LEED Gold and Energy Star certified building had a building automation system (BAS), it did not provide much data on what was actually happening with the building’s energy usage. JLL turned to Verdigris for help with the missing energy intelligence.

The Approach

Verdigris AI energy meters were installed at the Block 300 building to collect data that could be used to improve the efficiency and reliability of electrically-operated equipment in the building.

In particular, the Verdigris data and analytics would provide insights in four key areas: operational transparency, operational cost savings, preventative maintenance, and measurement and verification of energy efficient upgrades.

The Results

Prior to installing Verdigris, the Block 300 team would set controls within the BAS, but not really know how the building was reacting until there was an equipment issue or breakdown. Now with Verdigris, they could proactively see which equipment was consuming the most energy, and resolve potential issues before complaints from tenants. In one appreciated example, the Block 300 team was able to compare the two supply fans for the north and south sides of the building to detect anomalies that could impact tenant comfort.

Verdigris also uncovered several areas for operational cost savings. Chillers were observed running in the early morning and at night, presenting an opportunity to optimize their operating hours to avoid peak demand charges. The data also showed chiller energy usage climbing steadily, then coming to a sudden stop each day. Finding the optimum stop time for the chillers will help prevent overcooling of the building and save a significant amount of energy and money.

For preventative maintenance, Verdigris data can reveal phase unbalance, short cycling, and total harmonic distortion (THD) issues. At Block 300, most of what Verdigris identified was explained by other retrofitting work in the building, but the data confirms that Verdigris will be able to catch issues like these in the future.

In addition, after Verdigris data revealed a garage exhaust fan running constantly, JLL upgraded the fan to one with a variable frequency drive (VFD), and Verdigris was able to measure and verify the impact: a 50% reduction in demand.

What’s Next?

Happy with the initial insights from the energy metering data and analytics, JLL is now looking to add Verdigris Adaptive Automation to help implement energy- and cost-saving adjustments like the optimum stop time for chillers, automatically.

“Requiring the operator to take action is a challenge, we’re interested in automating that if possible,” said Matt Bryant, Chief Operations Manager, Block 300, JLL. “We want our staff working on other high value tasks, and to let the technology do the things that a human can’t do as well.”

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