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Hitting Homeruns at Raley Field with Pelican T-Stats

Pelican Thermostat in Raley Field Suite with Logo
Pelican Mesh-network Thermostat at Raley Field Raley Field is a unique and challenging set of buildings and environments. The facilities have the needs of an office building and a hotel, as well as the special needs of a data center and huge heat generating equipment (like an enormous scoreboard). To manage these diverse needs and physically spread out locations, COAC delivered a solution that provides energy savings, full, flexible and immediate controls from anywhere at a very affordable price. The solution was the Pelican Wireless System.

Pelican Mesh Network Graphic The Pelican system automatically creates an advanced mesh network where all the thermostats communicate with each other and the gateway simultaneously. This enables thermostats to be controlled even if they are not directly connected to gateway.

The system allows owners and property managers to access a simple-to-use, dynamic and powerful management platform for their building with full diagnostic and trend data right on any internet enabled device, including their smart phones. This is a user-friendly solution to more enhanced building controls at a relatively budget price.

For more information, watch a live demo or to see if the Pelican System is the right solution for your building, contact COAC’s John McAlpine at 916.381.4611.

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Demolishing a 12 foot circulation fan at the Cal Trans Building

Cal Trans Massive Circulation Fan with Man LRHere is the before picture of the 12 ft. tall x 14 ft. wide circulation fan that the team from COAC demolished to make way for the new, more redundant and efficient, fan wall.

Stay tuned for the time lapse video of the demolition and installation of the new Cal Trans Fan Wall.

Easy Trick to Save Energy Dollars with Your HVAC System

dirty and clean coil

Dirty Coil (left), Cleaned Coiled (right)

Coil Cleaning Is a Money Saving No-Brainer.

Its not really a trick just some good maintenance. Out of all the preventative maintenance steps you can take to ensure your building’s HVAC system works at its peak efficiency, having your coils professionally cleaned is one of the easiest and can give you the best return on your investment over time.

Coils are pretty simple by design. They come in a variety of sizes, and the size has been engineered to do its job according to the size of the area you are cooling. Coils consist of numerous small, metal fins that allow air to move across them, transferring heat in the process and allowing the heating or cooling process to occur smoothly.

The problem is air contains contaminants such as cottonwood fuzz, dirt, pollen, dust, grease, mold spores and moisture, which can settle on a coil’s surface and build up, acting as a roadblock to air flow and reducing a unit’s efficiency. When this happens, an air conditioning unit has to work harder to do the same amount of work, thus using more energy – more than 30 percent in some cases, according to experts.

In addition, other components such as the compressor are at risk of breaking down due to the increased stress on the air conditioning equipment. Hot temperatures + no compressor = no cooling = unhappy building occupants = costly repairs. Other factors such as indoor air quality also can be negatively affected due to contaminants like mold and bacteria residing in your coils.

There are numerous coil cleaning products on the market today and a variety of methods to cleaning a coil. While many businesses have maintenance staff that clean coils, it’s never a bad idea to have your coils cleaned professionally by a trusted service partner as a service professional may find other problems that need to be addressed.

Remember, preventive maintenance steps like coil cleaning offer the following benefits to you and your heating and air conditioning equipment:

  • Reduced risk of breakdowns
  • Increased equipment life
  • Better indoor air quality
  • Improved equipment efficiencies & reliability
  • Reliable building tenant comfort

For more information about coils or to schedule a professional coil cleaning, contact COAC’s James Biagioni at 916.381.4611.

Energy Disclosure Law Is Completely Changed with New Law AB-802

Electrical_metersCommercial building owners no longer have the burden of disclosing energy consumption to prospective buyers, tenants or lenders. Effective January 1, 2016, Assembly Bill 802, signed by Governor Brown on October 8, 2015, places the burden for providing energy use data on the utility companies with a completely re-written energy disclosure law.

New Laws (AB 802) Replacing the Existing Energy Use Disclosure Law (AB 1103)

AB 802 creates a new energy use disclosure program for the State of California, and replaces the existing law, Assembly Bill 1103 (AB 1103). The key aspects of AB 802 on are:

  1. AB 1103 will remain in effect until December 31, 2015, and until such time, the disclosure of building energy use shall continue to be required in connection with a sale, lease, finance, or refinance of an entire building.
  2. AB 1103 will be repealed effective January 1, 2016.
  3. There will be no statewide energy use disclosure requirement in 2016.
  4. In 2016, the California Energy Commission (CEC) will engage in a public process to develop regulations and establish a new reporting infrastructure for the new program under AB 802.
  5. The CEC anticipates that new regulations will be in effect by January 1, 2017.
  6. New regulations…..??

The Existing Law – AB 1103

California’s existing energy use disclosure program, AB 1103, has been plagued with implementation problems since the enactment of the law in 2007.
Under AB 1103, utilities are required to maintain records of the energy consumption of certain nonresidential buildings. Utilities are required to make the energy consumption data available upon request of a building owner or operator. An owner or operator in turn is required to disclose benchmarking data and ratings for a building for the most recent 12 months to a prospective buyer, lessee, or lender. (Public Resources Code §25402.10.)

In practice, however, it has been difficult for building owners and operators to obtain the data from the utilities due to, among other things, the demands made by utilities for authorization from tenants, which in many cases has been difficult or even impossible to obtain.

The New Law – AB 802

AB 802 was enacted in response to these and other concerns with AB 1103. The stated intent of the Legislature in enacting AB 802 is that the CEC create a benchmarking and disclosure program which will allow owners and operators of commercial and multifamily buildings containing 50,000 square feet and more to better understand their energy consumption through standardized energy use metrics.

Under the new program, a utility must maintain energy usage data for all buildings served by that utility for at least the most recent 12 complete calendar months. A utility would need to provide the benchmark data to a building owner or operator within four weeks of a request. In addition, AB 802 requires the CEC to develop regulations to govern the delivery of benchmark data to the CEC and the public disclosure of such data.

AB 802 eliminates the private disclosure made between parties to a transaction under AB 1103, and instead will require the public disclosure of certain operating performance data. AB 802 also applies to multifamily buildings, whereas AB 1103 did not.

Thus, while AB 802 does not impose any transactional burdens on building owners and operators – a welcome change from AB 1103 – it will require the disclosure of certain energy use data that was not previously available to the public.

Timing of Implementation

It is important to note that AB 1103 will remain in effect until December 31, 2015, which means that building energy use disclosure continues to be required for the sale, lease, finance, or refinance of certain non-residential buildings until the end of the year. AB 1103 will be repealed effective January 1, 2016, and there will be no statewide energy use disclosure requirement in 2016. The CEC anticipates that regulations for the new AB 802 program will be in effect by January 1, 2017.

 

SMUD’s energy-saving guru, Bruce Baccei, discusses ideas for saving energy with your roof-top HVAC units

Add-on Variable Speed Controls for RTUs


DCV, mechanical contractor
In a recent article published at the EnergyCentral website, Bruce Baccei of SMUD’s Energy R&D, discusses a topic that he has devoted years of his professional life to, HVAC efficiency.  In particular Bruce reviews the results of a Sacramento field test on a technology that averaged an energy savings of over 39%.

The addition of variable speed controllers to existing single speed HVAC units has proven to dramatically reduce energy consumption and the technology has other significant benefits. Products like Catalyst, also provide the value of fault detection, measurement of energy savings, adjustment of controls, email alerts, viewing performance and Demand Response all by way of the internet. Read Bruce’s article here.

For more information or an on-site survey showing how Variable Speed Controls, like those discussed in the article, can save your energy dollars contact COAC’s John McAlpine.

Ideas to Slash Plug Loads

COAC Energy Saving, Mechanical ContractorThe drain on energy budgets by plug loads is on the rise, and there seems to be no decrease in energy rates or devices in use anytime soon. The New Building Institute warns that plug loads are by far the fastest growing segment of energy users. The good news is that there are effective strategies to help reduce this energy load by up to 40% with occupant participation and low-cost technologies.  Read More Here

For more information on some effective best practices to reduce plug loads :
Quick-Start Guide to Plug Load Reduction
Plug Load Best Practices Guide

 

Using Building Benchmarking As A Tool

Here are 4 ways to use the building benchmarking process more that just a compliance requirement, but a real tool to improve the return on the building investment:

1. How are your buildings doing?
Understand building performance at a building or portfolio level. See performance in simple metrics and benchmark a building against itself, a portfolio, its peers and ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®.

2. Are buildings getting better or worse?

Prioritize where to focus attention by watching building energy use and expense move with weather normalization and changes in your building. Spend time finding solutions for those buildings with the greatest needs.

3. Where are the best opportunities for savings?

Implement solutions that will change building performance. Identify low cost operation and maintenance changes, and plan for improvements with a good return on investment.

4. Have past energy improvements paid off? Measure and prove the results. Every investment-large or small-should yield results. Tracking changes and improvements will allow you to build best practices and save more.

Energy_Star_Logo

For more information on Benchmarking or if you building needs a Benchmark, contact Bill Schmalzel, LEED AP, COAC’s Director of Energy Services.

 

 

HVAC Retirement – To plan or not to plan

The end is coming! The question is, is it better to plan for HVAC replacement or endure the disruption when it occurs.

Old HVAC Ready for Retirement Replacing or upgrading an HVAC unit is never an easy decision, unless that decision has already been made for you due to the unit failing. Many building owners and managers are reactive when it comes to their HVAC systems. Something changes (no air, no cool, no warm etc…) then action is taken to correct the failure or replace the unrepairable unit. Even with diligent and meticulous maintenance HVAC has a finite lifespan and it will fail eventually. The real decision with managing the HVAC assets is will you manage them or will they manage you.

We suggest that you take control and manage these remarkable and quite vital assets. Whether the units are old and running on borrowed time due to the increasing shortage of R-22 refrigerant, you are looking to increase the buildings value and marketability or just want to save energy, taking control will pay off in many ways. Have a plan in place that allows you to be pro-active about your replacement strategy and that fits you budget. Thinking strategically about your HVAC assets is proving to be more economical over the long run than reacting to emergencies.

COAC can provide you with information and expert advice that will guide you through your decision process. Detailed unit evaluations, pre & post energy use modeling, maintenance and replacement planning and financing are just some of the ways we can assist you in taking control. To plan or not to plan, it’s up to you.

Read more about replacing or repairing here.

Benchmarking – more than just a compliance chore

Mandatory benchmarks are impacting sales and leases, know your number and take steps now to set your building apart.

Energy Projects Decision California’s required building benchmarking ordinance (AB1103) can be seen as cumbersome and intrusive to a real estate transaction but when a benchmark is viewed as a valuable tool, it can be the used to enhance marketing appeal, illuminate energy savings, and increase a building’s value. The U.S. EPA found an average energy savings of 2.4 percent per year in buildings that consistently benchmark their energy use.*

Benchmarking uses Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager Software to compare your building’s energy usage to similar buildings and generates a benchmark score. This score is a good but basic indication of how your building is doing compared to others. This information can be very empowering to property/facility managers as a snapshot of the energy use effectiveness and then open discussions for savings opportunities. When benchmarks are adopted as a regularly used tool, very effective information can be created. Information like; knowing the “score” before and after any energy project to determine effectiveness, showcasing ongoing energy efficiency to a prospective buyer or tenant, or demonstrating increased building value by reducing operating costs. For instance, a 100,000-square-foot building that reduces its energy costs by 10 percent, say from $2.00 per square foot to $1.80 per square foot, increases its net operating income by $20,000 and building value at an 8 percent cap rate by $250,000.

To make benchmarking easier, COAC can step you through the process. We have benchmarked dozens of buildings in this region and can easily navigate the convoluted process for you. Whether your need is immediate, for a closing transaction, or a longer term program of benchmarking to identity savings opportunities or validate energy saving projects, COAC Energy Services can take care of it for you. Our website has an easy way to get the benchmark process started or you can email Bill Schmalzel directly to get started.

10 Steps To Energy Efficient Buildings

10 steps graphic36% of the US electricity usage is drawn by commercial building space and 18% of the entire country’s energy consumption, and its pretty certain that a good portion of that is wasted. This Wall Street Journal article lists 10 relatively simple – and often inexpensive- ways  to slash energy use in your buildings. Read More and Save Energy Here