Building
A 120,000 square foot office tower originally constructed in the early 1970’s.

Issues

  • Mechanical systems were at the end of their useful life
  • Failing equipment
  • Modernization to current codes and market standards
  • Repairing design flaws  
  • Capital budget creation
  • Energy saving, rebates, incentives
  • Plus E tenant charges

Research

Comprehensive review of existing equipment

Proactive redesign of issues such as the fresh air intake being located on the ground level

  • this intake was located in close proximity to traffic and the associated exhaust
  • the location was a potential security concern


Creation of a dynamic building electrical model
• Multiple scenario analysis

  • various systems
  • operational changes
  • able to fully understand the impacts on building energy usage. 


Solutions
Our team recommended a radical change in the building’s mechanical system.  Based on the information we obtained through modeling, it became clear that simply replacing the current system would cost the same as installing more modern systems and result in much less efficient operation. 

The decision was made to change the outside air intake location from street level to the roof level, and install a dedicated HVAC unit to bring in and treat the fresh air, this unit was equipped with a heat recovery wheel so that the incoming air was tempered by the exhaust air.  We converted the main HVAC system from a water cooled direct expansion system to a variable flow chilled water system, installed new cooling towers and we modernized and upgraded the air handling system. 

These upgrades occurred over a two-year period allowing for costs to be spread over multiple budget years.  We were able to accomplish the work while the property was fully occupied with minimal disruption to tenants or building operations. 

During the first six months of operation the energy bills were reduced by over $25,000 as compared to the year prior year, which was in line with our modeled results.  Once the upgrade was complete our team was able to apply for and receive tax credits related to energy savings and to achieve an Energy Star rating for the building.

Full Building Mechanical Retrofit and Upgrade 

The lease structure at this property was a full service lease plus the tenant’s share of the electrical expense (plus E).  By reducing the electrical expense by nearly $.65 per square foot, the property which was above market in electrical costs became one of the lowest in it’s competitive set.  With the reduced electric cost to the tenant we were able to raise rents, increasing the building’s NOI and overall value.